Are you curious to learn whether your dog is ticklish? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look at the subject of ticklishness in dogs, so let’s get started.
Firstly, it’s important to note that the phenomenon of “ticklishness” is something that’s not widely understood, and there’s always some disagreement about what constitutes as ticklishness, especially when it comes to dogs.
But what we do know is that the tickle response primarily comes from the nerve endings that are found just under the surface of your skin, and this response is very similar between both humans and dogs. Ultimately, this means that any light touch over the surface of skin can have a ticklish effect, and it likely feels similar to a dog, too.
One interesting theory is that the tickle response encourages your dog to scratch, perhaps due to a flea that may be crawling through their coat, and there certainly seems to be some merit to this idea.
So, while your dog may not be ticklish in the same way as a human might be, there’s no denying that they can have a range of different responses depending on the types of touch they receive.
Where Is My Dog Ticklish?
Now, the areas where your dog may be ticklish can vary, with some owners finding their dog is ticklish under their “arms” or legs or perhaps on their paws. Touching these areas will likely cause your dog to pull away, and this tickle sensation isn’t necessarily pleasant for your dog.
Of course, many dogs like to be rubbed on the belly, and while this may cause a ticklish kind of response, it can also be a pleasurable experience that your dog comes to enjoy, especially as they begin to associate a belly rub with play time or a petting session.
The Scratch Reflex
With some experimentation, you can usually find an area of your dog’s body that will cause what appears to be a “ticklish” response, and this can cause them to rhythmically kick their legs.
You may be surprised to learn that these kicking movements occur due to a nerve impulse that moves along your dog’s spinal cord, and this causes a physical response that’s out of your dog’s deliberate control.
Furthermore, a vet may find this particular scratch reflex in order to test your dog’s spinal cord function as part of an overall health check, as well as assessing for any neurological damage that may have occurred.
Why Does My Dog Roll Onto Their Back?
Many dogs learn to enjoy the experience of being petted or tickled, so when you give the tell-tale signs that you’re going to pay them some petting attention, they’ll quickly roll onto their back and let you pet them to your heart’s content.
As you’d probably expect, this isn’t something to worry about, as it’s simply a dog’s way of enjoying the experience while letting you rub them in their favorite spots.
In fact, most owners come to learn where their dog likes to be rubbed or scratched the most, and your pooch will often help you to find that sweet spot by rolling over or moving their body so your hand falls in the right place.
Does My Dog Actually Like To Be Tickled?
Most people discover at some point in their lives that being tickled can sometimes be fun – but it can also become too much – and it can even become overwhelming and painful if it is continued for too long. In many ways, your dog will have a similar experience, so it’s best to keep a close eye on their overall body language to distinguish whether they are happy about the experience or not.
If your dog is becoming tense, with raised hair and growling or snapping, then you can rest assured that they aren’t having a good time. But if your dog is generally relaxed and not eager to withdraw from the physical contact, then they’re probably happy with the experience rather than being too stressed about it. However, if your dog seems anxious or fearful, it’s best to give them a break.
Finding the area that your dog most likes to be petted doesn’t have to be very difficult at all, and if you start by giving them long, full strokes along their body you will soon be able to find their favorite spot simply by watching their reactions.
With some dogs, it doesn’t take much time before they start pushing against your hands or giving you the signals to show you where they want to be rubbed, scratched, or tickled.
Furthermore, most owners discover that their dog likes to be rubbed behind the ears, as well as on their belly or even on the front of the chest. While these areas aren’t necessarily ticklish per se, you will certainly garner a positive response from most dogs if you give them some attention in these areas.
What If My Dog Is Too Ticklish?
Some dogs may appear to be overly ticklish, perhaps when you are grooming them. For example, many dogs are very sensitive about their feet area, and this can make it difficult to keep their feet nice and clean. It’s important to keep in mind that your dog isn’t necessarily pulling their paw away deliberately, as it’s somewhat of an automatic response, very similar to how you would feel if somebody tickles you in a ticklish area!
Of course, using a product such as the Dexas Petware Mudbuster can go a long way towards resolving this issue, as it allows you to quickly and comfortably clean your dog’s feet without any hassle, and it won’t feel as ticklish for your pooch either.
Furthermore, using a product such as the ThunderShirt can help to calm your dog down if they’re becoming overwhelmed or overstimulated, and this kind of pressure wrap is a very effective solution for calming down a stressed or anxious dog in a variety of situations.
For example, using a pressure wrap is useful for the dog who becomes anxious simply from being petted, and it’ll quickly help them to relax and learn to enjoy your petting session without feeling overly sensitive.
However, another thing to consider if your dog is very ticklish is whether they’re suffering from any skin allergies. You will usually be able to tell something is wrong if your dog is continuing to scratch or lick particular areas of their body, or when you can see any dry patches of skin that might be causing your dog trouble.
Additionally, fleas can cause your dog’s skin additional discomfort and this can lead to an overstimulated response when they’re petted in some cases. Of course, if your dog has a skin issue then it’s wise to consult with a vet, and if your dog has fleas, then you’ll need to use a suitable treatment to rid of them so your dog can feel comfortable again.