During the day, we find ourselves scratching our hair, beards, ears, and other parts of our faces.
In the same way, you may notice your dog rubbing face on things such as furniture, floors, and trees.
Given that they can hardly use their sharp claws to scratch at their faces, we can understand why they feel this need to rub their snouts against something now and then.
But hold on, it’s not that simple.
Dogs rub their faces on things due to many reasons, some benign and many a cause for further inspection. Doing so occasionally may be normal, but constant rubbing could be a sign of something more serious including dental pain and other health problems.
Given how much we adore our canine friends, it is natural to want to know why dogs excessively rub their faces and how we can help them.
This article explores the reasons why your dog might be doing that as well as solutions to the problem.
Why Do Dogs Excessively Rub their Faces?
There are many reasons why dog rubbing face happens frequently as you will see below.
Itching due to external parasites
External parasites such as ticks, mites, fleas, and scabies bite and burrow into your dog’s fur and cause itching and irritation.
Given that your dog spends most of his time sniffing around with their snout on the ground, this is the most common reason why they might be rubbing against objects.
You can do a simple facial examination by parting the furs to reveal the skin underneath. That way, you can check whether these pesky parasites are the reason why your dog is uncomfortable. They usually love to hide in and behind the ears, near the muzzle, and towards the neck.
Keep in mind that parasites can also affect humans, especially ticks and fleas.
There are various anti-parasite treatments you can use to make sure your pup stays free of parasites and protect them from itchy snouts. You should talk to your vet about an appropriate parasite treatment.
Another reason your dog rubbing face is try to groom their face. This is most common after a meal, a tumble in the garden, or after a swim. In this case, they just need help to wipe their face clean.
Dogs with facial folds, such as pugs, also tend to rub their faces a lot as they try to get dirt and debris from between the folds of their skin.
If you have such a breed, help them out with regular cleaning between thair facial folds.
A dog collar that doesn’t fit properly is another reason why your dog might be itching for a soothing rub on your furniture. Tight collars cause sweating, irritation, and chafing which prompts the dog to seek relief by rubbing.
You can check for the fit of the collar by sliding two fingers under it and see if they fit. It should feel snug, but not tight or loose. Otherwise, you might need to correct the situation.
Dogs that haven’t had their collar removed in a while can also gain weight, which makes the collar fit uncomfortably tight.
Dental problems are the second most common cause of dogs rubbing their face against anything they come across. That’s because dog’s teeth can easily become loose, chip, or break causing them significant pain.
Since this is such a significant problem, we will dive deeper into it in a while.
Blepharitis is a common eye infection that affects dogs. It is an inflammation of the eye that mainly affects the eyelids and skin around the eyes, causing your dog to paw at the area.
If you notice such behavior, get your dog to the vet immediately.
Other causes of eye irritations occur when solid particles get into your dog’s eyes. These particles usually cause the dog to hold its eyes shut. You should get them immediate help to prevent more serious issues and relieve the irritation.
Ear or nose infection
If you notice discharge on either the ears or the nose in addition to rubbing their snouts, your dog might be experiencing an internal infection.
Ear infections for dogs are especially itchy and can be the result of bacterial infection or irritation caused by solid particles such as grass seeds.
Ear mite infestations in your dog are also a major cause of discomfort and itchiness. They typically look like black ground coffee and cause a waxy discharge.
If you notice such a thing, get your pup immediate treatment to help relieve the irritation.
They are enjoying a nice scent or texture
Sometimes dogs rub their faces into things because they are enjoying doing it. Maybe you bought a new carpet and your furry friend loves the scent or texture and simply can’t resist rubbing their snouts against it.
Given how powerful dog noses are, they probably find nice scents ecstatic.
If it is an object with a particularly strong scent, your dog might also be trying to mask his own natural musk in preparation for a hunt. Of course, they don’t need to do that but it’s in their DNA.
Dogs have scent glands in their snouts as well as their paws. In addition to peeing on their territory, they also love to set their boundaries through rubbing. It’s their way of saying to other canines “this is my territory, keep off!”
Allergies can also cause your dog to want to rub their nose against things around the house. This is usually caused by food, medication, or maybe something new recently introduced in the house.
These allergies can cause itching and swelling that your dog is trying to relieve.
Dog Rubbing Face: Is it Dental Pain or Something Worse?
Dental pain in dogs is a serious problem that nevertheless can be hard to detect.
Dogs don’t express themselves very well, and will actively try to hide their pain from you. If your dog is rubbing their face excessively, you need to check for other common signs of tooth problems.
Below are the signs that show dental pain.
Excessive drooling is a sign that something may be wrong in the mouth. Excess saliva might be produced in response to an injury or pain in the mouth, and might even have blood in it.
Tooth decay or a dental infection can cause foul breath in dogs. Healthy canines don’t usually have this problem, so you should have it checked out.
Painful teeth will keep your dog from enjoying his food as much as he would like to. If there is a broken or loose tooth, eating may cause even more pain eventually causing him to shun his meals.
Chewing on one side
If the pain is affecting one side of the mouth, the dog may opt to use the other for eating and chewing.
Sneezing and nasal discharge
If left untreated, gum disease can advance and cause the jawbone thin which can cause nasal discharge.
A change in temperament
A dog that loves to be petted and suddenly becomes shy might be suffering from dental pain. They are afraid if you touch them, it will become worse.
If you experience these signs in your dog, you need to get them to the vet immediately. Dental problems cause your dog significant pain and require fast attention.
To prevent the same problem from occurring again, try to have regular oral checkups, practice dental hygiene, and keep away hard bones for chewing and use chew toys instead.
What can You Do to Prevent Face Rubbing
The best way to stop your dog from rubbing his face on things is to resolve the root problem.
For example, getting treatment for dental issues or external parasites usually resolves the problem quickly.
Other reasons such as territory marking by rubbing are just natural responses and will go away on their own. Unless you notice obsessive face rubbing against one particular object, you can usually let it be.
However, most of the reasons why your dog rubs their face excessively against furniture and other objects are not immediately obvious. That is why it is advisable to get the advice and assistance of a vet.
A vet may use his knowledge and resources to:
- Conduct a thorough body examination to check for parasites, discharge, infections, or injuries
- Conduct tests such as bloodwork and urinalysis to check for internal problems such as infections and allergies
- Inspect the ears, nose, and eyes to check for common conditions involving these parts.
Your vet will then advise on what action to take to prevent further face rubbing.
There are also a few things you can do at home to do this such as keeping up regular treatments against parasites like fleas and keeping your dog clean and fresh, especially after an outdoor session.
Dogs rub their faces against objects for many reasons.
It is natural for them to do so now and them, but compulsive dog rubbing face is not normal and may indicate a more serious problem.
Dental problems are one of the most common reasons why dogs rub their faces.
With the knowledge gained here, you can hopefully spot the problem and get your furry best friend the help they need.