Floating Ribs In Dogs, Dog Rib Cage Protruding On One Side,

Floating Ribs in Dogs – Dog Rib Cage Protruding On One Side?

The protruding dog rib cage is a topic of concern for many dog lovers and owners. But what is it? Is it really because of a broken rib? Does it threaten the dog’s health? There are so many questions that arise. So this article will focus on everything about protruding ribs and floating ribs in dogs and all the other factors associated with it so that you will learn how to deal with such doubts.

First things first, have you noticed a bulge on the dog’s ribs like a tumor? If yes, that is what a protruding rib feels and looks like. But here’s the thing. Many people think it’s because of a broken rib. However, compared to what most people believe, it is not because of a broken bone but rather a natural physical trait found in most dogs. So yes, they occur naturally by default. That applies to all kinds of breeds, and typically, the protruding ribs are most prominent in puppies which is why many people start to get worried.

Generally, most dog breeds have twenty-six ribs in thirteen pairs, and they are attached to the sternum. The last pair of ribs is the floating ribs that bulge out. They are visible, and you can see them stick out from the lean chest of the dog. All the other ribs connect to the sternum except for the last pair. The last pair of ribs is unique because it directly attaches to the spine.

Floating Ribs In Dogs – What You Should Know!

While it is true that these lumps are normal and safe, it is always good to check for any abnormal bulges to ensure the dog’s safety. It is possible that different types of illnesses or accidents could be the reason for unusual bumps. In many cases, pet owners don’t realize or notice if the dog has a problem. That is why it is crucial to monitor their movements so that you can spot any abnormal behavior. If you ignore them, it could become a life-threatening condition for the dog.

In general, you should not worry about it. But if you are, the best way is to visit a vet and have it checked by taking X-rays and other tests to determine the cause.

Floating Ribs In Dogs, Dog Rib Cage Protruding On One Side,

How Do You Differentiate Between a Floating Rib And a Broken Rib?

It is perhaps one of the most asked questions when it comes to protruding ribs. It is hard to tell because of the similarities with a tumor or a broken bone. But while there is hardly any sign of discomfort with a floating rib, broken ribs can cause severe pain and restrict the dog’s mobility. That is a good sign to know the difference.

If you see your dog struggling to move, you should immediately take it to the vet and start running tests. Typically, broken ribs are a result of accidents or dog fights. It is also worth noting that the broken bone can damage the lungs and cause other severe problems if left untreated.

Causes of Rib Cage Problems

While floating ribs are nothing serious, it is worth mentioning that knowing some of the causes are crucial to understanding them better. Floating ribs make it look like your dog has an uneven rib cage, and some people find it odd because it changes the way the dog looks. But is there a possibility that it can be something else? It is always good to have everything covered because it prepares you better. There are other causes of the floating rib cage or abnormal rib bones you should be aware of.

Chest bone deformity is a severe condition that you should be aware of. Typically, if treated when the dog is small, the condition does not aggravate. However, if you ignore it, it affects the dog’s overall health and even restricts space for the heart to function properly.

The uneven rib cage can result from;

  • Congenital disability
  • Trauma
  • Other health-related conditions

And for more severe cases, the only option is to fix it surgically.

How To Check Your Dog’s Chest Conditions

For those who take extra dog care, it is crucial to know some of the vital components of the chest and the body and regulate them frequently to ensure your dog stays healthy.

For checking and analyzing your dog’s body condition, there are three crucial components. They are;

  1. Belly
  2. Waist
  3. Ribs

The ribs have a vital role in the overall structure of the dog and its health in general. After all, it is the area where the vital organs are situated. The rib cage ensures that they stay intact and protected. So how do you find out if your dog has a healthy rib cage? Here is how.

Gently place your dog on a table. After that, run your fingers down on both sides of the ribs towards the bottom. Remember that depending on the type of dog, the coat and skin may vary, so apply the pressure accordingly. As you run down your fingers, you will notice the ribs have a thin layer of muscle covering every rib. It feels sharp with the edges somehow poking out. Bear in mind that the visibility of these ribs is not prominent, so touching them with your fingers is the most effective method.

Now that you know how the ribs feel, here is how you determine whether your dog is healthy. Also, keep in mind that the floating ribs have a more prominent feel. Typically, an underweight and unhealthy will have ribs that feel bumpy and sharp. It indicates that your dog has low BCS (Body Condition Score). On the other hand, if you don’t feel the ribs with your fingers, it means that your dog is overweight. The thick layer of fat and muscle indicates that your dog has a higher BCS (Body Condition Score)

The ideal condition for a healthy dog is a rib cage that feels smooth enough. It means that enough fat and muscle protect the ribs, and it ensures that your dog has a balanced weight.

The other two factors are also essential to determine your dog’s health. Similarly, you can rub down the belly from the bottom of the ribs towards the hips. If the tummy is tucked up and very pronounced, your dog has a low BCS scoring. Similarly, if the stomach drops down too much towards the floor, it means your dog has excess BCS, hence overweight.

For the waist, you can start by looking down on the dog from above. The goal is to try and see if the area towards the core narrows down from the chest. Typically, an underweight dog will have a very narrow waist, and parts of the spine may also be visible. In this case, the dog is malnourished and has a lower BCS than average. On the other hand, overweight and obese dogs do not show a visible narrow waist. In most cases, the size of the chest and the abdomen are almost the same. It indicates a high BCS, so you need to bring down the weight and put the dog on a diet plan.

These three things are essential to consider for the overall health of the dog. The rib cage is a vital portion of the body as well as the belly and the waist. So it is best to know these things so that you can determine if your dog is fit. Additionally, the floating ribs should not bother you because they are harmless.

Dog Rib Cage Protruding, Dog Floating Rib Treatment, Dog Broken Rib Lump

Dog Rib Cage Protruding On One Side? Here’s What To Do

If you notice a protruding rib cage on your dog, you probably should not worry. But if you are extra cautious, you can always take the dog to a vet and have it checked. The vet will run all relevant tests and take an x-ray to make things sure.

There are only two possibilities for a protruding rib cage.

  1. It is a regular floating rib
  2. It is a broken rib

In any case, the most probable answer is a regular floating rib, and these are visible or felt on both sides of the chest. But if one side is more prominent and odd, it could be a sign of damage or swelling due to fractures or broken ribs. In that case, the dog needs medical attention, so take it to the nearest vet and have them checked.

Dog Floating Rib Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment for floating ribs. Why? Because they are normal and you will find them on almost every dog. As long as your dog does not show any signs of discomfort, you should not take it seriously.

It is also worth mentioning that the size of the floating ribs also varies across different dog breeds. For instance, smaller dogs like Dachshunds tend to have more prominent floating rib. But there are instances where you need to pay attention. For example, if you notice the skin turning red in the protrusion area, it is a sign that something is not normal. So you should see a vet and have it checked.

Many people get alarmed because of the weird look given out by the last pair of ribs. They are most prominent when the dogs are small; that is why people get concerned. But in many cases, the protrusion becomes invisible as they grow, and you won’t notice it. In any case, floating ribs should not be a cause of concern for dogs.

Leaving untreated broken ribs can have serious consequences, so always make sure you keep an eye for anything unusual. Broken ribs can also lead to respiratory problems and tumors.

Dog Broken Rib Lump

One of the most common causes of abnormal rib lumps on a dog is a broken bone. It can cause severe problems for the dog if left ignored, so you need to be aware of such instances. These fractures can occur due to accidents like getting hit by a car, fighting with other dogs, dog bites, or being kicked by humans.

Generally, dogs have strong bones. It also depends on the breed, but dogs like the Armenian Gampr, Husky, German Shepherd, Rhodesian Ridgeback, etc., are some of the most robust dogs. They can handle blunt force attacks and can withstand and absorb pressure. But even if they do get hurt, dogs have a way of naturally healing themselves. Whether it’s a broken rib or a fracture, dogs tend to get better themselves over some time. However, that is not always the case, and that’s when you need to intervene.

The most severe complication due to a broken rib is bruising the lungs of the dog. It affects how they breathe, and depending on the severity of the broken bone, and it can even puncture the lungs. If you notice pale gums and irregular breathing, you should immediately take the dog to a vet.

It is not difficult to spot an abnormal lump on the ribs, and it is the most common sign to identify a broken rib. It is also advised not to use any antiseptic ointment if you see the wound through the skin. Typically, this happens in a hit and run cases. The best option is to take the dog to the nearest vet because trying DIY remedies will put the dog at risk. Since bone injury is internal, the severity varies and cannot be determined unless examined.


There you have it. Everything you need to know about a dog’s protruding ribs: as mentioned in the article, they are harmless even though it looks like an alarming bump. But as long as your dog moves and behaves, as usual, can run with ease and show no signs of discomfort and irregular breathing, you don’t have to worry about it. As long as you don’t notice any change in behavior or red rashes around the area, your dog’s protruding ribs are as normal as their tail and the ears on their head.

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