Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
Health Learn About Dogs

Are Dogs Ticklish?

Sep 2 ·
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Are dogs ticklish? It’s hard to understand if dogs share the same sensations as us. We know they feel pain the same way and experience other sensations but they have limited emotional range, for example. As much as you think your dog might feel bad for having a potty accident or nipping you too hard, they don’t have the emotional capacity for real guilt!

So how close are they to humans in terms of this? Are dogs ticklish?

What Does Ticklish Mean?

are dogs ticklish

When answering the question, “are dogs ticklish?”, it’s important to consider our definition of ticklish. With humans, we imagine it as a borderline uncomfortable sensation that makes us laugh. In this sense, dogs don’t have the same reaction to being tickled. 

However, the technical sense of tickled is having movement in reaction to a sensation. There are ways dogs move in reaction to this that suggest they are ticklish in a sense.

Are Dogs Ticklish? Do They Enjoy Being Tickled?

It depends on where you tickle them! You’ll notice that when you tickle dogs in certain spots, their leg might move or they might squirm in a way that seems like they enjoy it. However, you should always be reading your dog for signs that they do not like what’s happening, as you might damage your relationship with your dog if you persist.

A twitching leg and thumping foot is a great sign your dog is enjoying it!

Pick some obvious go-to spots. The base of the tail, the chest, and the stomach are all great spots. However, dogs can have many tickle spots, so make sure you find out exactly what your dog’s are. All dogs are different!

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Anxious?

There are some ways you can tell if your dog isn’t enjoying being tickled. Some of these might be obvious, like the dog snapping at you or growling. In this case, you should back off immediately. The dog is giving you a warning, and even the most relaxed dogs can end up seriously snapping if pushed too far. It’s also just not nice to continue with something your dog doesn’t like!

However, there are some less obvious signs you should be aware of when it comes to tickling your dog. Did you know yawning, for example, is a sign of anxiety in dogs? if your dog is yawning as they climb into bed, this likely means they’re sleepy. If they’re yawning while you’re playing with them and tickling them, or clearly not tired, it could be an anxious yawn.

Does My Dog Showing Me Their Belly Mean They Want To Be Tickled?

Yes, it can! Dogs will often come and roll over onto their back to indicate that they want a belly rub. It could also be a sign of submission. For the most part, a relaxed dog showing you their belly means they trust you and it’s a great sign. Make sure not to ruin it by pushing your dog too far.

Are Dogs Ticklish? Is Something Else Wrong?

are dogs ticklish

Perhaps you’re wondering if dogs can be ticklish not because you’re tickling them, but because they keep scratching.

Dogs scratch every now and again because they get itchy, just like us. However, if there is excessive scratching and biting, it’s likely not because they’re ticklish, but because something is wrong. There could be many reasons your dog seems ticklish.

The first is fleas. Make sure you’re up to date with your flea medication. Even if your dog isn’t around other animals, they can pick up fleas very easily outside, and should always be kept up to date with something preventative.

Another reason could be a skin condition. There are a variety of reasons your dog might have a rash or itchy skin, from allergies to other illnesses. If you suspect your dog might have a skin condition, you need to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. They can diagnose the root cause and make sure your dog is comfortable.

So, are dogs ticklish? Well, not in the sense we are — you can’t tickle a dog and witness uncontrollable laughter in response! However, they do enjoy being tickled in certain spots, and you might even see them grin at you when you indulge them.

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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