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Is your dog ticklish?
When you rub your dog a certain way, you may notice that it starts to shake its back legs, sometimes uncontrollably. Usually this happens when you scratch a certain place on its stomach. Many owners believe that this means they are tickling their dog, and the leg-kicking is its ticklish response. In some ways, this is true.
Dogs shake or kick their legs when you scratch because of their scratch reflex, the news source reports. It make not make sense, since your pooch's flailing legs have no chance of scratching the place you are tickling. But it still happens because the motion is completely involuntary. You may notice that your dog is as surprised as you are when the movement starts to happen.
Scratching or tickling your dog's belly offers a sensation that is similar to that of a bug or the wind, the news source reports. It activates the nerves under its skin that connect to its spinal cord, traveling up to its brain, which then sends the message back to its legs to kick to make the irritant go away. However, in most cases you are probably not irritating your pooch by tickling it. If it was truly annoyed with you, it would get up and move. When you "tickle," you are essentially providing the itch and the scratch all in one, making the kicking motion unnecessary but still pretty adorable, by most standards.
Although it is pointless most of the time, the scratching reflex does have one purpose – using it, veterinarians can decipher neurological problems or nerve damage. It is similar to humans' knee-jerk reflex that is tested at the doctor. If your dog is scratching a lot without your stimulation, you should investigate other causes of the itch. Dry skin may be to blame, especially in the winter months, so try giving your pooch a bath with pet shampoo like oatmeal shampoo for dogs and a supplement like Nordic Natuals Omega-3 Pet to keep its skin and coat healthy. If this does not cease the scratching, your pooch may be suffering from a skin infection. Pet meds like Prednisone may treat the issue, while Yucca Intensive may help to relieve the symptoms.
Of course, fleas are one of the itchiest conditions a dog can have. If fleas are the culprit, you can kill them off with a medication like Capstar Flea Treatment Tablets, which kills adult fleas within 30 minutes. You can prevent this from happening in the future with a flea preventative medication like Frontline Plus.