Why Do Dogs Kick When Their Bellies Are Rubbed?

Does your Bulldog kick when his belly is rubbed? Why do dogs kick when their bellies are rubbed?

Bulldogs – just like all dogs – love belly rub and we cannot help but spoil them with as much belly rubs as we could. If you love rubbing your Bulldogs belly, you have probably found his sweet spot lots of times. And every time you tickle that spot, your Bulldog cannot help but kick one of his back legs.

The location of that sweet spot varies per dog. Some dogs even have several sweet spots all over his body.

Why Do Dogs Kick When Their Bellies Are Rubbed

Why do dogs kick when their belly is scratched?

So what makes your Bulldog kick when his belly is scratched? What’s the cause of this funny and adorable behavior?

Like all dogs, your Bulldog may kick his leg because of something we call the scratch reflex, which is an involuntary reaction. Perhaps that is the reason why your Bulldog look just as confused and puzzled as you when he starts kicking.

When you tickle, scratch, or rub your Bulldog’s belly, you may mistake his reaction as pleasure but the truth is: it irritates his body. Rubbing, scratching, or tickling those sweet spots activates the nerves under your Bulldog’s skin that are connected to his spinal cord. When your Bulldogs nerves are activated, they relay a message to his back leg muscles to move and kick in an attempt to remove the irritant. Simply put, your dog’s body reads the stimulation as an “itch” so it has to be “scratched” away.

Read: Why Do Bulldogs Drool?

What to do if your Bulldog starts kicking

Who knew that dogs get irritated when you scratch their sweet spot? You rub your Bulldog’s belly thinking it pleases him and now that you know the leg kicking is actually a reaction to the irritation, you might wonder what you should do. It’s simple: scratch of rub another spot that doesn’t cause your Bulldog to kick!


The Scratch Reflex and its use in Veterinary Practice

While your Bulldog’s scratch reflex looks funny, it serves an important purpose. Veterinarians can use the dog’s sweet spot to determine nerve damage or neurological problems. The scratch reflex can be compared to the knee-jerk reflex in humans.

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