I can always expect the same warm welcome when I walk in the door. My dog, Tucker, brings me the Kong he was chewing on while I was gone, presenting it proudly. He then spins around and shakes his bum. Finally, he cranes his head about to look at me, as if to say, “Scritches pls.”
Like just about every dog, Tucker loves a good butt rub. It can even calm him down during an intense bout of zoomies. But why do dogs like butt scratches? According to Pam Holt, certified animal massage therapist and founder of Buddha Dog, the answer is incredibly simple: That area is hard for dogs to reach themselves. It’s sort of like why we humans love a good back scratch — we just can’t reach that far.
In fact, Holt says, “One of my favorite acupressure points on dogs is in that area.” It’s called “Bai Hui,” or “Heaven’s Gate,” and “dogs usually love gentle stimulation there,” Holt explains. “In addition to helping to strengthen the hind end by increasing blood flow and decreasing pain with endorphin release, working this acupressure point can relieve stress and anxiety, while opening the mind.”
Huh, who knew butt scratches could help our dogs transcend reality?
Keep an eye out, though, for anything that might suggest your pup enjoys scratches back there for more than just a means toward nirvana. “A very undesirable reason that area might be itchy and aching to be scratched is that the base of the tail is a favorite place for fleas to congregate,” Holt warns. “You can use a flea comb and look for ‘flea dirt’ that will turn red on a wet paper towel as evidence of fleas, and treat it appropriately.”
Otherwise, just keep on rubbing.
C’mere, Tuck! It’s time for you to expand your mind.