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Is Your Dog Rubbing Its Face On The Carpet? — 15 Possible Reasons

Is Your Dog Rubbing Its Face On The Carpet? — 15 Possible Reasons

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Have you noticed your dog loves to rub its face on the carpet? Has it been doing it often enough to make you wonder – why?

We have to admit that dogs do funny things. That’s one of the reasons why we love them. They do such goofy things.

But sometimes, their behavior can be too goofy or too weird. That’s when we start to wonder if something serious is behind the behavior.

Is there possibly a health issue, or is our doggo simply having a good time?

Well, most of the time, the dog is simply having a good time or cleaning itself. But, sometimes, the reason behind your dog rubbing face on carpet is more serious and deserves our full attention.

We’ve got the reasons and explanations for those reasons.

Let’s look at the 15 reasons why your dog keeps rubbing its face on the carpet.

Why Is My Dog Rubbing His Face On Carpet?

I know and you know — dogs can’t just use a handkerchief and wipe their face after they finish eating or drinking. Even if they had manners, they wouldn’t be able to do it.

There is only one option a dog can do, and that is — to use the carpet.

And sometimes their snout is itchy, and they have to scratch it. Rubbing an itchy spot with a paw is OK but rubbing your whole face on the carpet is sublime! At least, that’s how the dogs look when they do it.

These are just two among fifteen reasons why your dog is rubbing its face on carpet. Some are more serious than others, and some are just plain silly — but they are true. They can all happen, and the dogs have to do it.

Now, let’s take a look at all the 15 reasons.

1. Cleaning

a beautiful dog cuddles on the carpet

This is one of the most common reasons for your dog doing face rubbing behavior.

We’ve mentioned it already — one does not simply clean the food off the snout. dogs are quite messy eaters, and they leave a mess around them and on their noses, too. But that doesn’t mean they can just let it go and leave the food on the nose.

Unless your dog’s name is Elsa. She will let it go.

They want to keep their nose clean for various reasons. One of them is that hardened food can become a bigger problem and irritate them even more. So, naturally, they want to take it off.

That’s when cleaning up starts and when they use the carpet to do it.

The cleaning reason is not harmful at all and does not have any underlying health issues for you to worry about. All you have to worry about is your carpet and how to clean it up.

Just make sure you use a safe cleaning product when you clean the carpet that won’t harm your dog. There are some smells that dogs do not like and that can be very irritating  or even toxic.

2. Itchiness

Another very common reason why is your dog rubbing face on carpet — they are just itchy!

The dog can use its paw too, but when it comes to itchiness, rubbing its whole face is much easier and it relieves the itchiness faster than with just a paw.

We all get itchy from time to time. The medical term for it is pruritus and it can affect any part of the body. In this case, the itchiness is localized — it’s on the dog’s face.

It can be generalized too when the itching happens on the entire body. But that is a very rare occurrence in dogs, and it is a symptom of another serious health issue.

The itchiness that a dog feels in this case is a simple ol’ itchy feeling we all get from time to time. So, if it doesn’t bother you, just let your dog continue rubbing its face on the carpet.

You could notice that this behavior goes with the question: do dogs roll too? Yes, they do, and the least of your problems is your dog rubbing and rolling on your carpet. They can see a poo and roll in it, or they can be rolling on dead animals.

3. Allergy

Dogs exhibit allergy symptoms similar to our own:

  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • Sneezing

Allergies in dogs are quite common, especially food allergies. But a dog can be allergic to various smells around the house, as well.

If you are suspecting your dog is allergic to something in your home, pay attention to when it sneezes or does its dog rub on the carpet. If you notice that your dog rubs its face every time after a  meal, food allergies might be the cause.

Try changing the food or contact your vet to see what kind of food you should give to your pooch. Also, be careful what veggies or fruits you give to your dog. Some of them can cause allergies or they can be toxic to dogs. For example, avoid:

  • Cherries
  • Avocados
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Asparagus

But, you can feed your dog these veggies and fruits:

4. Irritation

the dog lies on its back and caresses its face

Is your dog rubbing face on carpet? The answer might be irritation.

As a pet owner and precisely a dog owner, you’ve noticed that dogs use their noses to explore the world. Yes, they have a keen sense of hearing and a sense of sight, but the sense of smell is their door to the world.

When they explore their world, they sniff and put their noses everywhere. That’s how a piece of grass or a thorn can get stuck. Foxtail grass is especially dangerous. The dog can get stung by a bee or bit by a spider or some other tiny being living in the grass.

Dog’s face rubbing is a behavior that might be caused by an irritation in or around your dog’s nose, mouth, ears, or entire face. They could be trying to remove the foreign object or irritation caused by a sting of an insect on their faces.

If they rub their face and scratch their ears at the same time, take a look at the ears first. It is especially easy for a foxtail to get stuck to your dog’s ear if you have a long-eared breed of dog. But no matter the breed, check the ear canal.

5. Dental Problems

Your doggo might have a dental problem!

If your dog is rubbing face on carpet and you are sure the cause is not food or irritation, check your dog’s mouth.

You can use the flashlight or your phone to shine a light and see for yourself. You are looking for anything that looks suspicious or different than it should be. It can be redness of the gums. The redness can be just around one tooth or around several teeth, or it can be generalized — the whole gingiva is red.

Look for loose teeth and if there are some that cause pain in your dog. Use your thumb and index finger to check if the tooth is loose. You can tap your fingernail on the tooth enamel to see if it causes any kind of discomfort for your dog.

But be careful! A dog might react instinctively and close its mouth if it feels pain. So, make sure your fingers are on the outer (vestibular) side of the dog’s tooth.

If it is a dental problem of some kind, pay attention to other symptoms. Your dog could be drooling more than usual. That could be another sign of an oral health problem.

If you are not sure of what you saw or you simply want to be 100% sure, you can take the dog to the vet, and they can check the dog’s oral cavity instead of you.

Most of the time, dental problems are easy to solve and cause no serious harm. But, a much more serious problem could be lurking underneath. Your dog might have an oral tumor or mouth cancer. It is rare, but it can happen, so it is better to be safe than sorry and check your dog’s mouth.

Another reason behind the “dog rubbing face on carpet” behavior is flea or mites infestations.

6. Fleas or Mites

As pet parents, we are aware that these tiny creatures can be a nuisance and hard to get rid of. Luckily, there are ways to get them far away from our lovely furry babies.

There are a lot of flea-repellant products that we can use on our dogs. They can be in the form of a tablet or some type of flea drops we put on our dog. The best place is the base of the skull or on the dog’s neck.

But, if a dog did get infected with fleas or mites, one of the symptoms can be rubbing the face on the carpet. Look out for other signs, like scratching the entire body or tiny dark spots in your dog’s fur — flea dirt.

Dogs can also get infected by Demodectic Mange — a type of skin parasite. These parasites of a microscopic size live in the hair follicles. Dogs with this type of skin problem have hair loss, too.

Don’t worry — it is treatable. But you will need to take your dog to the vet.

When it comes to flea and mites treatment, patience is the key. Be patient and apply the products according to your vet’s instructions.

7. Playing

If you are looking around and you ask yourself is that my dog rubbing face on carpet? Don’t worry, it doesn’t always have to be a health issue. They could just be having fun!

Dogs are interesting, we’ve already agreed on that. They do all kinds of funny things and show weird behaviors — from liking our socks to simply going crazy about the ball you gave them, there are no rules. It is just their way of having fun.

Of course, you can check your dog to be sure it’s not one of the other reasons we’ve talked about or will talk about. But, if you rule them out and you can see your dog is having fun, just have fun with your dog. If you have time and energy — join the game. You can play tug-o-war or play catch in the yard or the park.

8. Marking Territory

the dog caresses the face of the carpet

Urinating is a common way for dogs to mark their territory. That is how they leave their scent and information of who they are, what they want, and what is considered their territory. Sometimes they use feces as well.

If you wondered why your dog is rubbing its face on carpet, marking territory might be an answer. They have scent glands all over their body, especially their face, and they are leaving their scent on objects they think they own.

If you bought a new carpet, they want to claim it. Better to rub the face than to pee on the carpet. But it doesn’t have to be a new carpet. It could be an old carpet that has been in the room for years, but a new smell appeared on it.

Dogs have around 100,000 times stronger senses of smell than we do. Imagine the things they can smell and how annoying a new smell can be to them, even if we can’t smell it at all.

So, the next time you see your doggo rub its face all around the carpet, the chances are everything is alright. They are leaving their mark.

But, if the rubbing persists, you can clean the carpet or check the dog, just like we talked about.

9. Stress

If you’ve noticed that your dog is suddenly more attached to you than usual and it often rubs its face on the carpet, anxiety or stress can be a cause for such behavior.

Dogs have feelings, and I like to believe they do have souls, so that means that they can also exhibit signs of depression, anxiety, and other psychological health issues.

When they suffer from stress or anxiety, one of the ways they try to help themselves is by rubbing their face on the carpet. Dogs that are feeling anxious can show other signs, too. For example, they can whine, hide in their crate, lose their appetite, etc.

If you notice that your dog has changed its behavior, think about what might have changed inside your home. Did someone new move in, did you change the routine you had with your dog, or did something similar happen?

Whatever the reason is, you can always consult your veterinarian. You can also take your dog to the vet so that you can rule out other physical health issues.

10. They Feel Safe

This reason goes hand in hand with the previous one.

When a dog feels safe around something or someone, it will try to leave its mark there or stay with the person as long as possible. Does your dog stay by your side all the time and when you leave it starts to rub its face on the carpet? They feel safe with you and on that particular carpet.

Why the carpet? Who knows. It could be that all the happy things always happen on the carpet. Maybe you most often play with the dog or give him treats on that carpet.

Remember, dogs “see” the world through the sense of smell. If the carpet has the “I am at home” smell for a dog, the dog will rub its face on it every time it wants to feel safe and relaxed.

Don’t take away the safe zone from your dog. We all need to have it. It is usually a place where the dog sleeps, but it can be any other place the dog chooses. So, if it’s not necessary, leave the carpet where it is and let your dog feel the safety of your home whenever it wants.

11. Zoomies

The other name for zoomies is Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs). They are a normal type of behavior in dogs, and it has nothing to do with the dog’s breed. Both Yorkies and Golden Retrievers will have their zoomies.

The zoomies are usually represented as sudden bursts of energy in your dog when they start to spin or run around in circles for no apparent reason. We’ve all seen them, and they are always fun to watch! Unless the zoomies are not well-coordinated and something gets broken.

Another form of zoomies is a dog rubbing face on carpet. They are usually accompanied by the “standard” zoomies.

No one knows exactly why zoomies happen. We do know they are much more common in puppies and young dogs, but they can happen in older dogs too. They just might not have the hips for the frantic zoomies they used to have.

There are some situations that trigger the zoomies:

  • During playtime
  • Seeing the owner come back from work
  • Exciting situation
  • After defecating
  • Late at night

Dogs are simply weird and cute, and we love them just the way they are. Zoomies or no zoomies, dogs are great as pets, some say even better than cats!

12. Injury

the dog covered his face with his paws while petting himself

The injury that causes a dog rubbing face on carpet behavior can be small and easily overlooked or a big one that is obviously causing the rubbing behavior.

Depending on the type and location of the injury on your dog’s face, it can cause discomfort or pain. Either way, your dog will want to ease the bad feeling in any way it can.

It is similar behavior to when we experience pain. We rub the part of the body we hurt instinctively. That is something that a dog wants to do too, but they don’t have hands and opposable thumbs so — rubbing is the option.

If you already know your dog has an injury on its face, contact your vet to ask what can be done to relieve the pain. Never give painkillers intended for humans to a dog! They can be highly toxic to dogs.

But if you are not sure if your dog’s hurt — it is time to examine your doggo. Check everything, from mouth and teeth to ears and eyes. They could have something stuck in their nasal cavity or they could have eye irritation.

You can even check the food bowl and see if there are any ants around your dog’s food. The ants can bite the dog and cause mild irritation that can cause discomfort leading to the dog rubbing its face on the carpet.

13. Infections

The most common reason for a dog rubbing face on carpet, when it comes to infections, is an ear infection. And the most common reason for an ear infection is a yeast infection.

The other name is yeast dermatitis, and it is caused by Malassezia pachydermatis. This is a fungus that normally lives on a dog’s skin but can cause an infection if the dog’s immune system weakens. This type of fungus is called an opportunistic fungus.

They are called opportunistic because they are waiting for the right moment to reproduce and attack an organism, causing the infection.

If it is a yeast infection, there will be other symptoms besides rubbing the face on the carpet, too:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Crusty scabs
  • Ear infection
  • Hyperpigmentation of the skin
  • Elephant skin (thickened skin)

Besides fungal infections, bacterial infections can cause discomfort in dogs and the need to rub their face on the carpet, as well. These infections are usually sinus infections, eye infections like Blepharitis, or infections of the oral cavity.

If you suspect your dog might have some of these infections, take it to the vet. The sooner a vet can make a diagnosis, the sooner the treatment can start.

14. Wrinkles

Sometimes the reason is right in front of our eyes in the form of an adorable, wrinkled face that we want to give all the kisses. Wrinkles!

Some dog breeds have natural wrinkles on their faces — for example, Shar Peis, Bloodhounds, Basset Hounds, Pugs, etc. The wrinkles are cute. We’ve all seen a cute Pug’s wrinkly face, but they can cause some skin problems to the Pug, too. And, other wrinkly dog breeds as well. That’s why it is very important to keep the wrinkles clean.

If the wrinkles are not kept clean, an infection can start in the folds of the skin which can lead to discomfort and the dog rubbing face on carpet behavior.

To keep the wrinkles clean, all you need is a soft, damp cloth, or facial wipes for dogs. Gently clean the inside of the wrinkles and make sure to dry them thoroughly. Of course, when you finish, don’t forget to give your doggo a treat as a reward for being a good boy!

15. It feels good

Last but not least, the answer to the question of why my dog is rubbing face on the carpet is — it feels good!

Think about it:

  • Birds flying high
  • Sun in the sky
  • Breeze drifting on by

And the dog is feeling good.

If you have checked out all of the reasons before, you can relax with your dog and enjoy life. Of course, you can always take your dog to the vet just to be 100% sure everything is alright.

The Conclusion

We’ve seen 15 reasons that could be possible answers to why my dog is rubbing his face on carpet. Most of them are temporary issues or a sign of a playtime or good feeling in a dog. But sometimes more serious issues can cause this behavior.

These more serious issues are infections and injuries. But don’t worry. Do the first step.

The first step is to examine the dog on your own. Check the entire head. Because the dog is rubbing its face, pay the most attention to the mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. Look into the ear canal, nose cavity, and mouth.

After the first step, take your dog to the vet just to be safe, even if you don’t find anything suspicious or out of order.But, in most cases, our furry friend is doing it for fun or as a way of territory marking. You can pay attention to when this behavior starts to narrow down the possible causes.

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[…] you notice your dog keeps rubbing its face on the carpet or it is excessively scratching its ears — it is time to check the ears or go to the […]