From slobbery kisses to ceaseless wagging, most dog owners would agree that their furry friends show them plenty of affection.
But one form of this affection maybe a little less welcome: belly button licking. While it may seem strange, there are actually a few reasons why your dog might be drawn to your navel.
In this article, we’ll explore seven of the most common reasons why dogs lick people’s bellies.
1. They Enjoy The Taste or Texture of Belly Button
Some dogs simply enjoy the taste or texture of the belly button. After all, the belly button is a salty and slightly sweaty area, which can make it tempting for dogs to lick.
Though we may not always crave salt the way we do sugar or fat, it’s an essential part of our diets. And it turns out, we’re not the only ones who need salt to survive.
This may seem like an odd craving, but it’s actually a survival instinct. Salt is an essential mineral that helps to regulate fluid balance and blood pressure. Without enough salt, humans, and dogs can become dehydrated and even die.
Of course, not all dogs are attracted to belly buttons. Some may be put off by the smell or taste of salts and oils gathering in the navel, while others may simply prefer other body parts.
2. They Detect Hormonal Changes In Your Body
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell that is far superior to our own. According to some estimates, dogs can smell 1,000 to 10,000 times better than humans.
This means that they are able to detect even the slightest changes in hormone levels.
One of the most common anecdotal stories from countless women is that dogs can sense pregnancy. This is thought to be because dogs are sensitive to the minuscule hormonal changes that occur in a woman’s body during pregnancy.
While there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, it is certainly plausible that dogs could use their powerful sense of smell to detect these subtle changes.
Many women have reported that their dogs seemed to know they were pregnant before they even took a pregnancy test and noticed a change in their behavior.
Some women find that their dogs become more protective during pregnancy, staying close by their side and even licking their belly button.
Others find that their dogs have a hard time adjusting to the changes in their owner’s body and behavior, and may become more rebellious, urinating in the home or chewing on items.
3. They’re trying To Be Affectionate
For domestic dogs, licking is often used as a sign of affection. When they lick your belly button, they are trying to express their love and devotion to you.
Studies have shown that licking causes the release of endorphins in both humans and dogs. Endorphins are hormones that produce a feeling of pleasure and can also help to calm and comfort your dog.
So, next time your dog licks your belly button followed by a wagging tail and a happy look in their eyes, know that they are simply trying to show you how much they care and give them a scratch behind the ears in return.
4. They Detect Something Wrong With You and Are Checking For Symptoms
There’s no denying that dogs are incredibly intuitive creatures. They seem to know when you’re sad when you’re happy, and when you’re about to have a snack.
But did you know that dogs also have an amazing ability to detect disease?
Studies have shown that dogs can use their sense of smell to detect a variety of diseases, including lung, breast, ovarian, bladder, and prostate cancers.
So if your dog suddenly starts licking your belly button, it could be a sign that something bigger is going on.
Of course, it’s always best to consult with a doctor to rule out any serious health conditions. But it’s definitely worth considering that your furry friend may be trying to tell you something!
5. They’re Anxious
When dogs are anxious, they can do all sorts of things. One of those things is licking your belly button. This behavior is often accompanied by other signs of anxiety, such as panting, pacing, and restlessness.
While it may be annoying, belly button licking is actually a dog’s way of trying to calm down. The action releases endorphins that help to reduce stress and promote feelings of well-being.
6. They’re Bored
Bored dogs can get up to mischief, and resort to all sorts of activities to keep themselves entertained. Dogs are social creatures who thrive on interaction and stimulation. If they’re not getting enough attention, they may start licking things as a way to pass the time.
After all, licking is a self-reinforcing behavior for dogs; it feels good, so they keep doing it. If your dog is constantly licking your belly button, it may be a sign that they’re bored and need more stimulation in their life.
7. It’s a Habit
Last but not least, it’s possible that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior and it has become a habit. For example, if you often give your dog belly rubs or scratches, they may start to associate that with being licked.
Dogs are creatures of habit. If they enjoy a particular behavior and feel rewarded for it, they will keep repeating that behavior. This is why it’s so important to be consistent when training a dog.
If you want your dog to stop barking, for example, you need to be consistent in rewarding him or her for not barking.
The same goes for belly button licking. If you want your dog to stop, you need to be consistent in not rewarding the behavior. This may mean turning away or pushing your dog away when they start to lick.
Dogs are very intelligent animals and they will quickly catch on to what behaviors are being rewarded.
5 Tips to Stop Your Dog From Licking Your Belly Button
1. Ignore the Behavior
If your dog is fixated on licking your belly button, the first thing to do is to ignore the behavior. Turning away from your dog and pushing them away may not seem like it will have much of an effect, but by doing so you are sending a clear message that the behavior is not acceptable.
2. Provide Distraction and Stimulation
If your dog is licking your belly button out of boredom, providing them with adequate stimulation and exercise will help to curb the behavior.
Taking your dog for a walk, playing fetch, or giving them a puzzle toy to play with can help keep them busy and out of trouble.
3. Train Them
One way to train a dog to stop licking your belly button is to provide them with commands.
Once your dog has learned the ‘no’ or ‘stop’ command, you can use this to get them to discontinue the behavior.
It may also be helpful to provide your dog with an alternative behavior that they can perform instead, such as fetching a toy or sitting down.
4. Find The Source of the Anxiety
As mentioned earlier, dogs can lick your belly button when they’re feeling anxious. They will often lick their humans as a way to self-soothe, and the act of licking releases calming chemicals in their brains.
To stop your dog from licking your belly button, you’ll need to find the source of their anxiety and address it.
If your dog is anxious because they’re not getting enough exercise, try taking them on longer walks or adding some playtime to your daily routine.
If they seem stressed because of changes in their routine or environment, try to create a more consistent schedule for them and provide them with plenty of love and attention.
Once you’ve addressed the source of your dog’s anxiety, their licking behavior should subside.
5. Check To Make Sure You Don’t Have Any Health Issues
Dogs may lick your belly button as a way to check for symptoms of illness. If they detect something wrong, they will continue licking in an effort to find out what’s wrong.
If you’ve been feeling ill or have recently changed your diet, it’s possible that your dog is picking up on these symptoms and is licking your belly button as a way to investigate.
If you suspect that your dog is licking your belly button because they’re detecting something wrong with you, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor to get checked out.
There are several reasons why a dog may lick your belly button, from boredom to anxiety to illness we have looked at 7 of the most common reasons.
The best way to stop your dog from licking your belly button is to first figure out why they are doing it and then address the issue.
Ignoring the behavior, providing distraction and stimulation, training them with commands, and finding the source of their anxiety are all ways to help stop your dog from licking your belly button.
1. Why Does My Dog Lick My Face When I Cry?
There are a few reasons why your dog might lick your face when you cry. One possibility is that they are trying to respond to your emotions.
Dogs are highly attuned to their owner’s moods, and they may lick your face in an attempt to comfort you.
Another possibility is that they are simply grooming you. Many dogs enjoy licking their owner’s faces, and they may see your tears as an opportunity to give you a good cleaning.
Finally, it’s possible that your dog simply likes the taste of tears.