Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs? Here Are the 3 Reasons Why!

First Glance

There are many types of dogs around the world, ranging from breed to size or gender. But the one thing many dogs have in common is the fact that they love belly rubs! I'm sure that you all know how much dogs love belly rubs, but the question is: Why do dogs like belly rubs?

It seems like a comforting spot for dogs, and it's easy to keep them at ease, but there must be an explanation besides that. In this article, we list down why dogs like belly rubs and everything else you need to know about it.


What Are Belly Rubs and What Makes Them So Important?

Giving a dog belly rubs is exactly how you call it. You're giving it a good pat on the belly, usually a massage to keep them relaxed. It keeps a dog happy and relaxed, with them often wagging their tails in delight.

A belly rub something a dog can't resist, and you can see it in its face! You'll know when they want belly rubs when they are on their backs, usually lying still and waiting for you to run your hands through their stomachs. Not only does it feel ideal for the dog, but the owner will be amused by the adorable sight!

But take note that while belly rubs are loved by most dogs, not all appreciate that rub in the stomach. You'll need to detect if your dog (or any other dog!) loves belly rubs, as there are dogs who react differently to it. Sometimes, dogs do love belly rubs, but you're doing it the wrong way!

We'll get to the basics of how to give a belly rub and how to detect if a dog wants one in a bit. But before that, we list you the main reasons why dogs like belly rubs.

Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs?

Dogs love belly rubs. In fact, some demand it and yearn for it from their owners! Here are the reasons why they love it:​

#1 - Belly Rubs Feel Good

Obviously, your dog wouldn't want a belly rub if it didn't feel good! You'll see their signs of enjoyment through the way they wag their tail, or how they kick their legs. It's a reflex, just like how you would move snap your knee if hit.

But sometimes, this may just be a reflex or involuntary action, which is why it's important to know his body language.

#2 - Your Dog Shows Trust

Your dog flops down on his back, showing a submissive position. This is a way to demonstrate their trust towards you. They will be completely vulnerable, and while you think it's just something that feels good, this is a pose that they feel strongly about.

They trust you that you will take care of them even as they are vulnerable. It shows that they are ready for your affection and that your relationship as a pet owner to the dog has improved.

#3 - It's All in the Brain

Science is one of the main reasons why dogs love belly rubs. It's part of the neurons in the brain. They have a particular neuron that would exclusively respond to the simulation of their fur. Stroking the hairs will send stimulation signals to their brain, which is why dogs love being stroked or petted.

Like mentioned, some dogs don't like belly rubs. But just because they don't like belly rubs doesn't mean they don't show trust or are unusual. All dogs are unique and have their way of showing confidence in their owners. Just like us - humans, we have different reactions to signs of affection. Don't force it into them, but don't think they are "broken" because they refuse a belly rub!

How Would You Know if a Dog Likes Belly Rubs?

Before you give a dog belly rubs, you'll need to make sure that they want it first! While it may seem obvious if a dog wants belly rubs or not, there are times when you're taken by surprise and find out the dog is hostile and would rather stay away.

Learning about giving dogs belly rubs is important to avoid a hostile relationship between you and your dog. Plus, you wouldn't want to get bitten or injured because of a dog defending himself if he happens not to like the belly rub.

So how will you know if your dog hates belly rubs? Here are the warning signs:​

​#1 - When Your Dog Moves Away

If your dog isn't rolling over on his own or moves away, that's a sign he won't want it. Even if you try laying him down on his back, he would rather lie down on his stomach and not receive one.​

​#2 -When Your Dog Starts Showing Aggression​

​If your dog starts growling and has a stiff body when you are about to give him a belly rub, it's best to back away.

​#3 -Your Dog Isn't Relaxed When You Rub His Belly​

When your dog stops wagging his tail or showing any signs of relaxation or delight as you rub his belly. You'll see that dogs are worried and distrustful when their tail is tucked between their legs and their hind legs pushed back as if they were to attack someone. Relaxed dogs are loose and with their legs open as if inviting you to rub their bellies.

This goes to show that not all dogs want belly rubs. But that doesn't mean something is wrong with your dog! There are other ways to show your affection and have your dog relax, such as rubbing them on their back or holding them while lounging.​

If you feel a bit of doubt when you're about to give a dog a belly rub, it's best to stay safe and get back. Listening to their body language is easy. If you just got acquainted with a dog, build the dog's trust first before showing this kind of affections, as they may be defensive or scared.

How to Give a Good Belly Rub to Your Dog​

Giving your dog a good belly rub isn't rocket science. It's very easy to please your dog and have him enjoy the affection. Here are some tips on how you can give a great belly rub to keep your dog at ease and happy:

​Step 1 -Check His Body Language

Understand your dog's language and make sure he's ready for the massage. Gain his trust and detect if he wants his belly rubbed.​

​Step 2 -Calmly Approach

Approach him from the side and stay calm, petting his chest first before going down to his belly.​

​Step 3 -Start Rubbing Slow

Start rubbing your dog's tummy with slow, sweeping movements. Talk to him calmly and with affection. Do NOT rub your dog's belly too vigorously. Again, take it slowly and speed it up if he seems to enjoy the quick strokes. Too much of belly rubbing may end up with your dog feeling discomfort.​

​Step 4 -Don't Force the Rub

If you feel like he doesn't like it, don't force him to stay until he does. Chances are, he never will, and you may lose his trust the more you try pushing it into him.​


Learning why dogs like belly rubs are crucial for all dog owners (and lovers!) to know about so you can properly give one to your dog. Not only that, but it is also because you need to know how to detect when a dog likes belly rubs or not. This is to avoid any accidents or hostility towards you and the dog.

Hopefully, this article on why do dogs like belly rubs will have helped you become more knowledgeable and have you properly give the belly rubs your dog will enjoy!

Did you enjoy the article or have anything to say about why dogs like belly rubs? Then post your thoughts down below! We would love to hear what you have to think.​


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