The reason why dogs love belly rubs, cats not so much, may not be far-fetched. This is because there is a specific neuron in the brain and other mammals that responds to the stimulation of hair follicles. Thus if you have ever wondered about the psychological, physical, and even neurological underpinnings of this interaction, we will be explaining in detail how it works.
Why Do Dogs Love Belly Rubs?
A belly rub can be beneficial for your dog from different angles. First, not only does it feel great, but it mimics important socialization between dogs, who happen to be high-touch creatures. When dogs play, their paws are on, and this means they crave frequent physical interaction from the people who make up their pack. Now apart from the behavioral boost a belly rub can offer, there is also a neurological component to a belly rub session. Dogs also have specific neurons in their brains that light up when hair follicles are stimulated, and that offers a satisfying sensation during the belly rub process.
Additionally giving your pet a belly rub has a psychological soothing that can manifest physical benefits. Also, the belly rub process on a dog’s stomach can lower his heart rate and blood pressure.
How Do You Know If Your Dog Wants a Belly Rub?
If you want to know when your dog wants a belly rub, you can relax, because your dog makes it quiet to tell. Start by checking the dog’s posture (i.e.) is your dog relaxed? is tongue lolling out? accepting of head pats or ear rubs?. Now you can start with the head, and get to discover if the relaxed dogs will melt to the floor and roll over to give you better access to their bellies.
If your dog is anxious, which can happen as a rapid and submissive flip to expose the belly, then it may not be a good idea to give them a pleasurable pet because as this can reinforce the nervous feelings they are experiencing. While most breeds will appreciate a tummy massage, there will be dogs of any breed who may not appreciate the vulnerability and exposure.
Cats are mysterious animals who love to set their own pace. Now they may or may not appreciate you giving them a tummy massage. This is because the sensitive hair follicles on the feline tummy are easy to overstimulate. This may explain why cats sometimes appear to want a belly rub, but then suddenly bite or rabbit-kick their back legs to stop the rub.
Now cats may not really experience pleasure from exposing their bellies, owing to their tender vital organs just centimeters under their soft, furry skin. Thus touching this delicate spot, mostly when a cat is otherwise relaxed on his back, can trigger defensive moves that involve teeth and claws. However, on the other hand, there are cats who absolutely love belly rubs. So allow your cat to decide.