If you are a dog owner, then you are probably more than aware of the fact that when you go to pet them as they are lying down, they will move onto their backs or sides and look for a belly rub. But why? What makes belly rubs so special? In this article, we look to find out. Do dogs really love having their bellies rubbed? or are we all just barking mad? (see what we did there).
Well? Why do they like it?
A belly rub is one of the most comforting things that we can do for a dog. It is seen as an affirmative action, and for many, presents an opportunity for us to bond with our dogs. However, there are times when a dog may not want a belly rub at all. Let’s dive into both scenarios.
Sometimes, a dog will roll over and stick his/her belly in the air not because they are looking for rubs or scratches, but because they are looking to show that they are not a threat.
If you are to pet a dog that is doing this, it can actually make them nervous because while they are showing that they are not a threat, you are rubbing them in vulnerable or sensitive areas. It may not always be an issue at all, but it is just something to keep in mind. Not all dogs will want belly pets all of the time.
Wanting Those Belly Rubs!
There have been many reports examing how and why dogs love belly rubs, but we don’t need to be scientists to realise that dogs love belly rubs because they feel good for them. It also sets off a specific reaction in their brain that responds to the stimulation of hair follicles. Experts believe that dogs love petting, and belly rubs in particular because the stroking of hair is linked to social grooming.
When your dog rolls over and looks for belly rubs, it is because they trust you. This position is vulnerable for dogs, so the fact that they are doing it for you is a sign that they love you and trust you.
Telling the Difference
A dog that is being submissive and may not want belly rubs will typically be more tens than others, they may even crouch and freeze. Their lips may also be pulled quite far back in a grimacing motion, and they might be licking their lips. Their tail might waggle a little, but it will also be quite tense, especially at the base, The tail might also be tucked in.
In comparison to this, a dog that is looking for belly rubs and enjoying them might have an open and relaxed mouth, open or squinty eyes, a relaxed tail that is wagging away, and maybe even a light panting sound.
Many of these can be subtle things to look for, but nobody knows your dog better than you, so in time you will get used to seeing the signs.
Do Dogs like belly rubs?
For the most part, yes, dogs love belly rubs and will always be happy to receive one from you.
When is the best time to give a dog a belly rub?
Many dogs really only enjoy belly rubs in the morning when serotonin levels are highest, or when they’re really relaxed. You can help your dog love belly rubs even more by learning how to give a good belly rub.
Why does my dog show me his belly when I pet him?
Dogs expose their bellies to us for two main reasons: as a submissive display, and as a request for a belly rub. It’s important to know what your dog is telling you before you go in for petting!
Why does my dog rub his back on the carpet?
Many dogs also enjoy rolling on carpet or grass to scratch an itch on their backs. Anecdotally, it seems that many dogs seem to enjoy getting a belly rub while they also scratch their backs. They can reach their own shoulders, necks, and face with their hind feet.
How often should I give belly rubs to my dog?
As often as you would like. Just know when your dog is looking for one because you don’t want to upset them.