Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs?

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Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs?

Not all dogs like belly rubs but dogs who seem relaxed and at ease when you rub their belly enjoy it because it feels good.

Happy dog getting a belly rub and yawning
Dogs are ticklish, oftentimes on their bellies, paws and ears. ©Brad Covington/ Getty Images






While not all dogs like belly rubs, many do, says dog behavior expert and VCA Animal Hospitals Licensed Veterinary Technician Laura Pobursky.

“It’s for the same reason humans love a big hug,” she says. “Belly rubs release ‘feel-good’ chemicals in the brain that strengthen the bond between you and your pet.”

What’s does a dog that likes belly rubs look like?

Laura says the belly is a vulnerable and sensitive area for dogs, so offering their bellies can mean many things. It could be a sign of submission or trust — and it’s important to understand the difference.

“A dog offering their belly for a comforting rub will appear at ease and not tense, with a relaxed or wagging tail, their eyes will be wide open, and they may even paw at you to encourage your touch,” she says. “Submissive dogs on the other hand will present their bellies with a tense body and tail, often the tail is curled tight to the body, the eyes are squinted and avoiding direct eye contact with you.”

Does my dog like belly rubs?

Dogs are individuals and while many enjoy belly rubs, not all do. Observe your dog’s body language and look for signs of relaxation — whether it’s on the belly or elsewhere.

“Dogs who enjoy a good belly rub are calmed and relaxed by the touch,” says Laura. “They feel safe and comfortable with you.”

Where do dogs like to be pet?

Most dogs love a good scratch. Dog’s particularly like to be pet or scratched:

  • around the back near the base of the tail
  • chest
  • thighs
  • head

Are dogs ticklish?

If you’ve ever wondered, the answer is yes. Just like humans, dogs are unique and where they are ticklish varies from dog to dog. Laura says a couple common ticklish areas are the paws and ears.

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