We all have a part of our bodies that we don’t like being touched at. It could be because of sensitivity or it makes you break out in uncontrollable laughter.
For some, it can be the feet or neck. For me, it’s definitely the belly button.
And it doesn’t help that my dog likes to lick my belly button if he happens to find it exposed which is really gross.
If you have a dog that is obsessed with your belly button as well, why is this so?
Your dog can be drawn to the belly button for a number of reasons. It could just be that your dog is trying to show you affection by licking you or it is about time that you gave your belly button a good cleaning. Your dog’s incredible sense of smell is picking up odors from your belly button which is sparking its curiosity.
In this article, we will be looking at all the possible reasons that could be drawing your dog’s unwavering attention to your belly button and what you can do about it.
What Is A Belly Button?
No reason to feel bad about not knowing how your belly button came about. Many of us tend to brush it off as a hole in the middle of our tummies or a great place to have a piercing.
Your belly button is the spot where the umbilical cord used to be when you were still in the womb of your mother.
The umbilical cord is the tube that carries all the necessary stuff for the fetus to survive such as food and oxygen. It also carries waste away from the baby to prevent toxin build up.
After the baby is born, the cord is cut away and tied up. When the remaining cord dries up and falls off after a few weeks, all that remains is the belly button.
Why Do Dogs Lick Belly Buttons?
Truth be told, having a belly button licking dog isn’t appealing at all especially when the belly button is a rather sensitive area too.
Try jabbing yourself in that spot and you’ll know what I mean.
For dog owners that are having this ‘problem’, here are some reasons why your fur baby’s attention is fixated on that hole in your tummy.
1. Your Dog Likes The Smell
If you were to take a good look at your belly button, you will notice that the hole is intended and goes into the body.
This makes it an ideal spot for dead skin, sweat, lint, etc to accumulate in there.
And if you have not cleaned your belly button for a while or at all, a picture of a dirt belly button will make you jump back in fear.
Not many of us actually give our belly buttons a good thorough cleaning with soap and water. This can cause germs to grow in that area and give rise to many unwanted smells.
If you don’t make an effort to keep your belly button clean, it can cause problems like a yeast infection or even the growth of a cyst.
This can lead to other symptoms like pus, discharge and swelling.
For those that have a belly piercing, you will be more prone to infections as the hole in your skin will be a conducive spot for bacteria to grow. Make sure to sanitize and clean the piercing and the belly ring or stud.
According to a study conducted by North Carolina State University, human belly buttons can be a breeding ground for up to 67 different types of bacteria!
Your dog’s nose is an amazing instrument.
Studies have shown that a dog’s nose can be up to 10,000x more sensitive than a human’s. Besides being able to pick up on scents easily, a dog can also differentiate the odors that are coming from a single source.
Belly buttons can be really gross but when your dog sniffs that part of you, there are a whole lot of smells in there that make its nose tingle with delight.
That could explain why your dog loves lying next to you or on you all the time.
2. Your Dog Is Showing Your Affection
Dogs lick people a lot. That’s how it goes with our canine companions.
Licking is a very natural and behavior for dogs.
When your dog licks you, it is how your dog shows its way of bonding, grooming and affection. Some dogs can also lick themselves as a way to relieve stress and anxiety.
Licking is a very important action for dogs as that was how their mothers gave them affection and comfort when they were just little puppies.
If your dog is lying on your tummy or near it, it might lick your belly button from time to time as an expression of love. Or it could be that your pooch might be trying to get a taste of all that delicious belly button sweat.
Either way, it’s always a great feeling knowing that you have your dog’s attention at all times.
3. Your Hormones Are Fluctuating
We are always experiencing changes in our hormonal levels and metabolism based on how we feel.
However, females tend to get bigger hormonal changes due to their biological makeup.
When a woman is having her period, her estrogen levels will rise and fall dramatically. During pregnancy, many hormones like progesterone and hCG are present in the mother’s blood and urine.
Many female dog owners have claimed that their dogs won’t leave them alone when they were expecting. The dog’s nose is powerful enough to pick up on these very tiny physical changes in the body.
Just to put things into perspective, a human’s nose has about 5 million scent receptors whereas a dog’s has close to 300 million.
It is impossible for you to truly understand how our dog smells the world unless you are a dog yourself.
It might not understand what the hormonal change is all about but its nose is sensitive enough to know that something is going on which isn’t normal.
We shed close to 50 million dead skin cells a minute and they contain our scent profile that dogs can pick up from.
Many studies have also shown that dogs are able to pick up on odor molecules called volatile organic compounds. These compounds are unique to a certain type of disease that a person might have.
Some trained dogs are known to be able to sniff out malaria, Parkinson’s disease and even certain cancers in people.
I’m not implying that you’re ill but dogs are amazing creatures when it comes to detecting hormonal changes in humans.
4. Your Dog Is Gathering Information
Similar to cats, dogs are curious creatures that are always trying to figure out what’s happening around them.
Unfortunately, they do not have 9 lives like cats but that still doesn’t stop them from getting into trouble.
Dogs do not use their paws like our hands to gather information about things. They have to use their mouths and sense of smell.
If your dog has been constantly licking your belly button lately, it could be trying to figure out the strange smells and tastes that are emitting from your little belly hole.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Licking My Belly Button?
If you aren’t that grossed out when your dog licks your belly button, then I would call that a win-win situation.
You get your belly button cleaned out and your dog gets to satisfy its curiosity.
But if you are like me who isn’t a fan of getting one’s belly button assaulted, here are a few ways that you can try to discourage your dog’s behavior.
Use The “Leave It” Command
If there is one command that all dog owners need to know and instill in their dogs, that would be the “Leave it!” command.
This command is telling your dog to stop what it is doing or drop whatever is in its mouth.
Many dogs can get into a bad situation by eating foreign objects that can turn into a choking or obstructional hazard such as a latex glove.
The moment you see your dog attention’s on your belly button, give it a stern “Leave it” and that should be enough to dissuade your dog from proceeding.
Keep doing it every time your dog tries to do so and soon enough it will get the idea. Make sure to also give your dog lots of praise and positive reinforcement when it does what you want.
Redirect Its Attention
Redirection is one training method that I use very often on my dog to try and break a bad behavior.
If I know that my dog likes to lick my belly button when we are both chilling on the sofa, I will prepare some of his favorite toys and stand by.
On a separate note about toys, many dogs love squeaky toys but such squeaky toys can be dangerous for dogs.
Things can do bad quickly if your dog rips open the toy and swallow the squeaking device.
When he tries to lick or smell my belly button, I will quickly take a toy and play with him. This will snap him out of his belly button focus and onto something more interesting.
If the toy doesn’t hold his attention for long, I will take him out for a short walk or do some mental training at home.
Ignore Your Dog
Ignoring your dog’s actions is another way to discourage it from doing a certain behavior. There are times when we unknowingly encourage our dog’s bad behavior by having a reaction.
If you start screaming and laughing when your dog licks your belly button, your dog will take it as a sign that you approve of its behavior.
What you should be doing instead is to be completely nonchalant about it and remove yourself from the area.
When your dog realizes that its action doesn’t faze you, it might just get bored and stop doing it.
Should I Be Worried About My Dog Licking My Belly Button?
It really depends on how comfortable you are with your dog licking you. I have friends that love their dogs to bits but are not fans of having their dogs slobber all over them.
Furthermore, your dog’s mouth isn’t exactly very clean when it is busy licking its butt and crotch areas throughout the day.
And there’s no other way of knowing what gross items it has eaten as well.
You don’t really want to catch a bacterial infection in your belly button from your dog’s saliva.
The chances of it happening are slim but dogs are known to pass infections to humans.
Your dog can give you pink eye if it eats something dirty and licks you on the face.
Nora is a passionate writer with a love for books, animals, and gardening.
Her writing is inspired by her two cats and a loyal dog, who serve as her muses, as well as the tranquility she finds in her garden.
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