Why do dogs love to have their bellies rubbed?

Have you ever encountered an experience in which when you go near to your dog, your dog would just suddenly lie on their back and offer you their belly? Sounds funny but true, right? Many of us probably know this most especially for those who have dogs at home.


Belly rubbing actually differes on case to case basis. For some animals, belly rubbing is a protective gesture against others. For instance, cats lie on their back as a gesture of self defense.

While for dogs, they find belly rubbing as a sign of being submissive. However, they only do this when their owner or someone they know comes nearer to them. It is kind of amazing how they do this automatically when their favorite human arrives. they immediately lie on their back and just naturally offer their belly.

According to a Diplomat of the American College of Behaviorists and a Veterenary Behaviorist at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Margaret Gruen explained the difference of the behaviors of dogs and cats most especially when they expose their bellies.

Dogs actually expose their bellies as a sign of submissive display. But when they do this, it does not necessarily mean that just because they are being submissive, they do not enjoy it. When the pup is comfortable with a belly rub from the one who is petting them, they tend to roll on their backs to have an easy access for a belly rub.

They often do this as well when they are playing. But most of the time they are exposing their bellies when they are with the people that they are really comfortable with.


According to Dr. Gruen, when the pup willingly rolls over and lie on their back, there is really no reason for you not to give them a belly rub. But you should be aware that if you just forcibly rolled them over just to give them a belly rub, it is not good to give them one.

This can actually make the dog feel upset and anxious over time. These are the times when belly rubbing is really not desired by your dogs. For instance, if you are in a strange place or in a place where your dog is not comfortable with, giving them a belly rub is not advised. The unfamilliar surroundings can make them feel uneasy and uncomfortable.

However, it is of great importance to take note that there can be times when you give them a belly rub, they associate it with aggression. This could be because of the feeling of pain, behavioral disorders, or probably illness that they are suffering from.

So when they tend to growl whenever you pet them in the belly, the best that you can do for now is just get up and walk away.