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Why Do Dogs Like Their Belly Rubbed?

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Why Do Dogs Like Their Belly Rubbed?

If you have a dog that loves belly rubs, you know what to do. She immediately turns over, exposing her belly, and you continue rubbing and scratching her until she's satisfied. Just like us humans scratching our backs or backs, scratching our belly feels good too!

A typical dog should enjoy a good belly rub. "This is certainly something that's often seen in cartoons. In fact, not every dog is a fan and some dogs may find belly scratches an invasion of their personal space," says veterinarian and consultant Dr Linda Simon explain.

"However, for a dog who enjoys a ticklish tummy, it can be a cute way for the owner to bond with them and show them some love," Dr. Simon said.


Why do dogs want a good belly scratch?

If a dog is willing to offer their belly to you, then you are likely someone they trust and want to spend time with.

Dr. Simon says dogs with itchy skin are most likely to have their belly rubbed. They may not always be able to scratch the spot, so they're usually happy when someone they trust actually goes to town on a good belly rub.

"A good belly rub releases endorphins and oxytocin, which strengthens the special bond between dog and owner," says Dr. Simon. What's more, for your dog, this interaction is as relevant to their relationship as it is to them. It has to do with the "social grooming" practices that dogs experience while living in the wild, and their instincts are strong.

When a dog doesn’t like belly scratching

Although sometimes nervous dogs will show you their belly as a sign of submission, they may not be asking for a belly rub, but simply letting you know they are not a threat to you. "These anxious dogs may also tuck their tails between their legs, tremble, lick their lips and avoid eye contact," says Dr. Simon. You need to read the signals: This isn't an invitation for you to touch their belly, and they're very May roll over to prevent you from doing so. This is a sign that they are not ready yet.


Why do some dogs kick when their belly is rubbed?

When a dog kicks when its belly is rubbed, this is called an involuntary scratching reflex. "The scratching reflex evolved to protect dogs from ticks, fleas and other irritants," says Dr. Michelle Burch of Safe Hound Pet Insurance. In certain locations, your dog has a set of nerves under his skin. When the area is scratched or itched, nerves send messages to the rear leg to initiate a kick and eliminate any source of irritation. Most dogs seem to enjoy scratching, despite their kicking legs.

If your dog asks for belly scratches, feel free to accommodate their needs. If your dog doesn't like it, don't force the issue as not every dog will like it. They may prefer chin rubs, ears scratching, or head pats.

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