Why Does My Dog Lick My Belly Button? Concerns and Solutions Explained
Dogs are amazing creatures. They’re always happy, they make great cuddle buddies, and they’re always game for a walk – no matter what the weather is like.
As much as we love them, there’s no denying that dogs do some pretty weird things from time to time. Why do they insist on sniffing every single person they meet?
And why do they always steal our socks – even though they know it drives us crazy? Or have you ever met a dog that nibbles on his owner’s here?
That’s part of what makes them so special. Their quirks are what make our goofy pooches unique and lovable – even when they’re driving us up the wall!
Some dogs even get a little personal with their goofiness, like dogs that have a habit of licking people’s belly buttons! Most people find it incredibly gross, while others find it strangely endearing. It’s just one of the many quirks that make dogs so special!
The question is, why do dogs lick belly buttons? There are several reasons why our lovable dogs would want to lick our belly buttons. Let’s explore them!
Why Do Dogs Lick Belly Buttons?
Even though there are many reasons with nuances, here is a quick summary. The most common reasons dogs lick belly buttons can be put into a few broader categories: Showing or receiving affection and attention, curiosity, grooming, dominance, and hormonal changes.
Affection and Attention
It seems like half the reasons our pooches do anything is to either give or get affection and attention. It makes sense that that’s the case with belly button licks too.
Dogs Are Seeking Your Attention
Dogs are social creatures that thrive on human interaction. When they lick your belly button, they may be seeking attention from you. If you often scold your dog for licking your belly button, they may see it as a way to get your attention – even if it’s negative attention.
Dogs Show Affection By Licking
Licking is a form of canine communication. When dogs lick people or other dogs, it can mean they’re showing affection. Dogs might lick your belly button if they’re trying to show you love and appreciation. Some dogs also lick other body parts of their owners, such as their feet or legs as a sign of respect.
Belly Button Licking May Be A Soothing Behavior
For some dogs, licking their owner’s belly button may be a way to self-soothe. This behavior is often seen in dogs that have separation anxiety or other forms of anxiety. If your dog goes for your belly button when you come home and plop on the couch, it may be a sign that they’re feeling anxious about being away from you.
Licking Your Belly Button May Be A Comforting Behavior For Your Dog
For some dogs, licking their owner’s belly button may be a way to feel close to them. This behavior is often seen in dogs that are bonded to their owners. If your dog frequently licks your belly button, it may be a sign that they see you as a member of their pack.
Dogs are curious by nature. They don’t have the same means to explore the world around them as humans do. Our furry best friends are much more reliant on their heightened sense of smell and sense of taste.
Dogs May Be Curious About Your Belly Button
Dogs are curious creatures, and they may lick your belly button simply because they’re curious about the taste or smell. This behavior is often seen in puppies who are exploring their world and trying new things.
Dogs May Be Licking To Gather Information
Another possibility is that dogs are licking your belly button to gather information about you. When dogs lick someone, they’re able to gather information about that person’s scent. The ability to remember scents for a long time is something that helps dogs navigate their world.
Like most animals, dogs like to maintain a certain level of hygiene. They also like to help the ones they love to keep up with hygiene too.
Your Dog Is Trying To Groom You
Dogs typically groom themselves by licking their fur. When they lick your belly button, they may be trying to groom you. This behavior is often seen in dogs that are very close to their owners. By licking your belly button, they could just be saying ‘I love you’…with a bath.
Attracted To The Smell Of Sweat Or Bacteria
It’s also possible that dogs are attracted to the smell of sweat or bacteria on your belly button. If your dog frequently licks your belly button, it may be a sign that they’re attracted to the scent of sweat or bacteria. It might be a good idea to give your belly button a good scrubbing the next time your bathe!
You Have A Wound
If you have a wound in or near your belly button your dog might lick it because it smells different than the rest of your skin. Licking wounds is how dogs instinctively take care of their wounds. So, if your dog is licking your wound in or near your belly button, they are just trying to help care for you.
Sometimes dogs need to tell you who is in charge. This doesn’t always involve growling or barking; they can also do this in some seemingly silly ways. Don’t be fooled though, if your dog is trying to assert dominance, they are serious about it.
Your Dog Is Trying To Demonstrate That They Are The Boss
In some cases, dogs may lick their owner’s belly button as a way to show dominance. This behavior is often seen in dogs that are aggressively licking. If your dog growls or snaps at you while licking your belly button, it’s important to seek professional help from a qualified trainer or behaviorist.
Dogs are clever animals who can easily pick up on subtle queues and changes.
You Are Pregnant
You may not realize that this behavior may also be related to your hormones. Some dogs can smell the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, and they may start licking their owner’s belly button in response.
It’s not likely that they have figured out you’re pregnant. Instead, your dog has noticed a change in both your behavior and smell and is reacting to that.
Throughout your pregnancy, as your hormones (and smell) change, this behavior may come and go.
So, if you’ve been noticing your dog giving your belly button a little extra attention lately, it may be because you’re expecting a baby.
Should I Be Worried About My Dog Licking My Belly Button?
In most cases, there’s no need to be concerned if your dog licks your belly button. Your dog is most likely licking your belly button because he’s seeking attention, showing affection, or is attracted to your sweat.
There are some situations where you should be concerned about your dog licking your belly button.
You Have A Wound On Your Belly Button
If you have a wound on your belly button, it’s important to keep it clean and dry. Your dog’s licking can cause the wound to become infected.
Some people believe dog kisses and licks can be especially detrimental if you are pregnant. However, OB-GYN, Dr. Sara Swift says “dog kisses really shouldn’t pose a huge problem” for pregnant women.
However, if you’re worried about your dog licking your belly button while you’re pregnant, by all means, talk to your doctor!
Your Dog Is Licking Your Belly Button Excessively
If your dog is excessively licking your belly button, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Your dog could be trying to tell you something by licking your belly button more than usual. If it started suddenly, and you have no other explanations, you may wish to talk to your veterinarian about possible causes.
Your Dog Is Licking Your Belly Button And Growling
If your dog is licking your belly button and also growling or snapping at you, it’s important to seek professional help from a qualified trainer or behaviorist. This behavior may be a sign of aggression or other serious behavioral problems.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Licking My Belly Button?
Are your normal doggy commands (‘No!’, ‘Off!’, ‘Down!’, etc.) failing you? Luckily, there are a few other tricks you can try.
Redirect Your Dogs Attention
You can try to redirect your dog’s attention by giving him a chew toy or treat. This will help to distract your dog from licking your belly button. I’d be hesitant to give a dog a treat to discourage behavior, such as belly button licking, more than a few times.
If your dog figures out what you’re up to you may accidentally train your dog to lick your belly button! As a trick to use once in a blue moon though, you should be okay.
Ignore Your Dog
Another option is to ignore your dog when he tries to lick your belly button. This may be difficult to do. However, if you want to try this method it’s important to remain calm and not give your dog any attention.
Put Something That Doesn’t Taste Good On Your Belly Button
This is usually done more when your dog is licking inanimate things rather than living things, but desperate times can call for desperate solutions.
You can spray your belly button with a bitter-tasting solution. This will deter your dog from licking your belly button.
There are recipes for making your own or you can buy one of the many pet taste deterrents available. Make sure you’re okay with the ingredients of whichever product you choose being on your body.
Use Positive Reinforcement To Stop Your Dog From Licking Your Belly Button
You can train your dog with positive reinforcement. This means rewarding your dog when he doesn’t lick your belly button. Use something like treats or verbal praise. It’s important to be consistent with this method. You should also make sure that everyone in your household is using the same method to train your dog.
Summary: Why Does My Dog Lick My Belly Button?
If you have a dog, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with the feeling of being licked. While it may not be the most pleasant sensation in the world, many people tolerate it from time to time.
But if your dog is regularly licking you someplace weird and annoying, it’s important to figure out what is going on and if there are any dangers for you or your dog.
Here are the main reasons dogs lick belly buttons:
- They want to give and/or receive attention and affection.
- They are curious about the smell and taste of your belly button sweat and bacteria.
- They are trying to groom you.
- They want to demonstrate their dominance over you.
- They can smell your hormonal changes.
There are some reasons to be concerned about your dog licking your belly button. Licking excessively, aggressively, or around a wound you have should not be tolerated.
Whatever the reason, if your dog is licking your belly button, it’s important to be patient and understanding. Dogs are complex creatures, and their behaviors can sometimes be difficult to understand.
Fortunately, you have many options to encourage your dog to stop licking your belly button. If those don’t work, or you’re concerned for another reason about your dog’s habit of licking your belly button seek professional help from a qualified trainer or behaviorist.