, April 22, 2024

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Why Dogs Roll on Their Backs

  •   3 min reads
Why Dogs Roll on Their Backs
Chelsea, a sick stray dog rescued by Save Animals of Love and Light-Save ALL Inc., rolls on her back when you pet her. She enjoys hugs and belly rubs.

By Niko Gabriel Salgado

Have you ever observed how your dog instinctively turns onto its back when you approach to greet them? Dogs engage in back-rolling for more than just seeking belly rubs; there are various scientific explanations for this behavior.

It is quite common among dogs and serves various purposes, ranging from alleviating an itch to expressing an invitation to play. Generally, it is considered a normal and natural canine behavior.

“If your dog keeps compulsively rolling on its back, there could be an underlying health issue, such as skin infections or even allergies. The exact situation in which a dog rolls around on its back can tell you more about what they want and feel at that specific moment,” said Nicole Cosgrove in “Why Do Dogs Roll On Their Backs?” published in the Hepper website.

According to Cosgrove, here are a few reasons why dogs roll on their backs:

1. Your Dog Is Itchy

Similar to humans, dogs experience itches in those challenging-to-reach areas on their backs. Engaging in a good roll on the ground can provide satisfaction and assist them in reaching the elusive, perfect spot.

2. Your Dog Is Marking or Hiding Their Scent

There are two possible reasons why your dog might roll on their back, especially in unfamiliar surroundings.

“Dogs commonly engage in back-rolling in new environments to either mark the area with their own scent or to transfer the scent of a particular item in that location onto themselves, masking their own scent in the process,” Cosgrove said.

Sassy, a Save ALL rescue, would always roll on her back whenever she played with other dogs. This is her way of showing her playmates that she is not a threat and that she just wants to have fun.

3.Your Dog Is Showing They Are Not a Threat

A frequent occurrence of back rolling is when your dog encounters a new canine companion. Referred to as “submissive” behavior, this action is typically a way for dogs to signal to other dogs or people that they pose no threat.

4. Your Dog Is Happy and Wants to Play

In moments of joy, dogs might roll on their backs as if signaling, “Hello, please give me belly rubs and let’s play!”

When dogs roll on their backs during play, it provides a pleasant sensation as they can stretch and feel at ease. This behavior also signifies trust with their playmate and an eagerness to have a enjoyable time together.

5.Your Dog Is Greeting You

Just like how we greet dogs, our furry companions may also roll over as a way of saying “hello” to us.

The following are signs to know whether your dog is providing a happy greeting instead of an anxious one according to Cosgrove:

· tail wags

· butt wiggles

· relaxed eyes and ears

6.What to Watch Out For Before Petting

“Observe your dog’s body language to discern whether they are signaling an invitation for you to pet them when they roll on their back,” said Cosgrove.

Another situation where it’s advisable to refrain from interaction is when your dog is rolled on their back and asleep, as surprising them may not be ideal.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard

About the Author: Niko Gabriel Salgado is a graduate of consular and diplomatic affairs from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, and worked at the House of Representatives. He is now an entrepreneur and a volunteer of the animal welfare group Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL.

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