Can Dogs be Ticklish?

Can Dogs be Ticklish?

Author WDF Staff


All dog owners know scratching, and belly rubs are a part of being a dog parent. Dogs enjoy scratching, but some spots seem to hit them differently than others. Many of us wonder, “Are dogs ticklish?” and the answer is - YES. Dogs can be ticklish, and some spots will simply cause a reaction that can be pretty hilarious. Here is what you should know about dogs and ticklishness.

What is a tickle?

Before we get into this topic a bit deeper, we need to understand how a “tickle” is defined. A tickle is an involuntary response to touch. It can be easily noticed in dogs that arch their back, or their leg starts kicking when you scratch a specific spot on their body.

What parts of the dog’s body are ticklish?

When it comes to humans, you probably noticed that not all of us have the same ticklish spots. Some have tickly feet, neck, arms, ribs, or any other body part that causes an involuntary reflex from you. Those reflexes are not always harmless; there were many cases where the “tickler” ended up with a bruise or a broken nose when they wanted to tickle someone that really hates it.

The same thing can be noticed in dogs. Different dogs have different sensitive areas that are particularly ticklish. However, most dogs share these tickly areas;

  • Chest (between the two front legs)
  • Belly
  • Rear legs right at the base of the tail
  • Tiny hairs between their paw cushions

man tickle dog

How to find these areas?

Finding your dog’s ticklish areas is fun and reasonably easy. You and your dog will enjoy discovering the sensitive areas on their body because it will include a large amount of scratching. The best way to find them is to start scratching your dog and look for involuntary reactions like grinning or the famous thumping foot.

Thumping foot reaction

Probably the most famous reaction to scratching that special ticklish spot is the thumping foot. Most dog owners know about it but don’t know why it happens. The thumping foot is the nerve reaction to the “irritant.” When something scratches or tickles your dog, in most cases, thinks it is a bug or something small and irritating.

When you scratch your dog’s tickly area, the nerves in their skin start sending signals through the spinal cord to the muscles in the dog’s foot. These signals “tell” the muscle to start “reacting” and get rid of the irritant. In rare cases, dogs with this type of reaction feel uncomfortable and will try to stop it. However, the majority of cases will end up with the dog really really enjoying the scratching.

Why does my dog lay on the back when I scratch them?

If you ever had anyone scratch your head, you know that sometimes, it is easier to adjust your head so that the scratching would continue on places you’d want. The same goes for dogs. They love belly scratches, and they are not afraid to let you know it. Rolling on their back means they are very comfortable with you, and they will allow you to “access” the belly rubbing area with ease. Enjoy it and give your dog some premium belly scratches.

Do dogs like tickling?

If you ask many dog owners, we are positive 99% of them will tell you their dog loves to be tickled and scratched. However, some dogs are anxious when tickled, so the exact answer would be - Yes, but not all of them. The vast majority of dogs love to be tickled and scratched, so you will have to see what the exact situation with your dog is. Start scratching and see how they react. If you notice grinning, rolling on their backs, and a thumping foot, you can be sure your dog loves it.

World Dog Finder team

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