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    Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs?

    September 30, 2022 | 3 min read

    Updated September 30, 2022


    Published: October 2, 2022
    Updated: May 11, 2023

    Summary: Why do dogs like their belly rubbed? In this blog, we learn why dogs like tummy rubs so much... 


    Dog Belly Rub 

    Before we dive into understanding why dogs like having their tummy rubbed, it’s important to understand whether it’s a belly rub they’re after or whether they’re attempting to be submissive out of fear. That’s right – dogs will lie on their backs and expose their belly for both reasons! 

    Dogs will often adopt this submissive pose to let you know that they’re not a threat – often if they can detect social tension taking place.  

    If a dog really wants a belly rub, their mouth will be loose and open, their eyes will be soft and bright and their tail and body language will be relaxed and even a little active.  

    A dog who’s simply trying to appease you will be much tenser and still, possibly licking their lips or appear to be grimacing and have their eyes wide and gazing. They may also be softly whining or whimpering.  

    If your dog appears to be doing the latter, try soothing them in soft tones and wait for them to relax. You shouldn't force an evidently uncomfortable dog through a belly rub.  

    Why Do Dogs Like Their Belly Rubbed? 

    Quite honestly, it’s hard to say! Dogs can sort of scratch their tummies to some extent with their own hind legs or mouths - albeit not as effectively as a human hand can though...

    Many dogs seem to enjoy a belly rub simultaneously with rolling and moving their backs. It must be super relieving, soothing and pleasurable to them to have someone else apply soft pressure and stroking to their skin and fur... A bit like a massage for us!  

    Some dogs are more up for a belly rub when they’ve just woken up; arguably because this is when their serotonin levels (happy hormones) are at their highest.  

    But it’s worth remembering not all dogs enjoy a belly rub, particularly dogs who are nervous or have been rescued or abused. A dog’s belly is a very vulnerable area; to expose it to you indicates a lot of trust and affection from a dog and their reluctance or hesitation to reveal it should always be respected.  

    Familiarize yourself with basic dog body language to best understand what your dog’s up for. Here’s some PetLab Co. material to get you started...  



    Author Fratt, Kayla “Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs So Much?” The Spruce Pets, Feb 01. 2022  

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    The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
    *In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022