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Why Do Dogs Rub Their Faces On The Ground?

Why Do Dogs Rub Their Faces On The Ground?

Are you wondering why your dog is rubbing his face? Either is he using his paws or against surfaces like the floor? Don’t get so worried… It is not necessarily that the dog is having a health issue. In this article, you are going to learn possible reasons why dogs rub their faces. Plus, remedy situations and areas where dogs like rubbing themselves against.

Proven Reasons Why Dogs Rub Their Face

Category: Non-medical, Medical but not an emergency, Medical emergency

(A) Medical Emergency

1. Eye Infection

The most common eye infection for dogs is blepharitis. It is an eyelid inflammation that affects the eyelashes and tears production. It irritates, making the dog paw on his face trying to make the eye feel better. This condition does not just fade away by itself with time. You need to consult the vet before it grows to something serious. Because the inflammation will be getting worse each day.

2. Trauma

Various factors can cause trauma to dogs. Example a bee or wasp sting. Wait… Have you ever been stag by a wasp or a bee? Wow! The feeling is one of the most woeful! If your dog gets several stings on the face, the itchiness, burning, and swelling can be overwhelming. If the sting gets near the eye, chances of your pooch going blind for some days are 99% due to the swelling. If the bite occurs around the face, the irritation makes the dog scratch the affected area to ease the pain by using any available object, surface, or by pawing. The best solution will be visiting the vet for the best prescription. 

3. Dental Infection

The dog’s teeth are at high risk of contracting an infection, just like the human teeth. For dogs, teeth infection has the same effects as the one which happens to humans. The pain inside, is likely to cause outside mouth irritation or swelling… making the dog feel the urge of rubbing its face against the available surface. In severe cases, the dog may get it hard to chew food. The best way to prevent dental infections is to let the vet conduct regular dental check-ups for your dog.

4. Gum Disease

Dogs do experience gum infection. It is a bit hard to notice. But, if you have a routine of letting a vet conduct a regular check-up on your dog, this problem is likely to be identified at its early stage. Commons signs indicating that your dog is having gum infection include; inflamed and bleeding gums. It mostly causes toothache and even discomforts on the jaws. The dog will be trying to ease the situation by rubbing the face on surfaces or even the ground. You should contact a vet before it gets worse since the affected gum will swell and get wobbly to an extent where your dog will be unable to feed.

5. Ear Infection

Ear infections are common for dogs. The most affected breeds are the ones with floppy ears like the Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. The early signs that your dog is experiencing an ear infection include; head shaking and face rubbing, ear odor, and severe scratching of the ear with the urge to remedy the situation. The ear infection is mostly caused by yeast infection.

Home Remedy for an Ear Infection

  • Mix apple cider with water and vinegar. Put the mixture in a spray bottle. Then spray the infected area. The reason for choosing vinegar, it’s an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent.  
  • Apply a warm compress since it reduces the discomfort and the inflammation. Repeat the procedure 4-6 times a day.

(B) Medical But Not Emergency

1. Allergy

Did you know that dogs, also like humans, do experience allergy attacks?

Well, now, you know. They do get allergies from literally anything, just like humans. Example, from food, medicine, or even plants.

Remedy: First, you need to find out what your dog is reacting with before you embark on any conclusion. You need to try and remember all the activities; if your dog was out playing, it’s possible that he sniffed some plant, which didn’t go so well with his breathing system. Which may be making him cough and rub his face all over the place.

Secondly, if your dog has recently tried a new recipe, food reaction might be the reason why he is scratching his face. It is best if you drop the new ingredient.

If the itchiness that leads to the scratching goes on, consider seeking advice from a vet.

Thirdly, if you recently visited a vet, your adorable pooch might have been put under medication that its body is reacting to. Drugs can cause terrible allergies if they don’t go well with the antibodies. It is best if you let the vet check on that.

2. Mites or Fleas

Mites and Fleas find the dog’s fur one of the best favorable inhabiting environments. If one of them lands on your dog, it will be a real hustle to get rid of them if you won’t discover it early enough and disinfect by spraying the dog. They cause irritation, which makes your dog scratch. If the mites or fleas manifest the face (which is one most attacked body parts), your pooch gets irritated, and most of the time, it will be scratching the affected area. Mites or fleas are not a medical emergency, but action needs to be taken early to prevent complications…Like, the dog scratching the face to the extent of bleeding.

Or worse, spreading the mites or fleas to the rest of the house. Given the dog makes contact with the most areas of the house. Also, it likes being in contact with humans.

3. Wedged bone/stick

Dogs like playing with anything. If your dog is playing with a stick, chances are it also bites the stick in the playing process. Baring in mind that accidents do happen, the stick can break and get wedged in the mouth of the dog. Guess what? The dog is going to try and work-it-out by himself. He/she will rub the face on every surface, including the ground, to get rid of the substance causing the discomfort. The same happens when a bone gets stuck between the teeth of your dog. You don’t need to panic calling a vet. Give it some minutes to see how it goes. If the dog takes long (beyond one hour) before fixing the issue, you can contact a vet to help remove the stuck particle.

(C) Non-Medical

1. Face Cleaning

Dirty dog face…Sounds funny the first you come across this. Right? But it is real. The dog feels it when it has a dirty face. For example… If your dog has been rained-on, or played on the ground, they feel some itchiness on the skin. Rubbing on the floor or the available surface, helps it relieve the irritation. And, gives it the satisfaction that it has cleaned up. 

2. Spreading Smell

Also known as making belongings. Dogs get it fun by rubbing their face on all that belongs to them. Items like toys, beds, and beddings. They also rub themselves on people they are close to (family) since they feel secure around them. It gives the dog a sense of ownership (territory making). In addition to that, dogs all rub themselves on their playing ground… which comes out as a way of having fun (game), making a two-pack (fun and making the playground). Since the playground is big enough, they roll the whole body on the ground and let it all-out. Next time you see your dog on the ground rolling, do not rush to pick him up or don’t run to call a vet. Since the dog is having a blast and you don’t need to ruin the moment. 

3. Teething

Did you know, just like humans, dogs do shed their milk teeth? Well, know you are updated. Pups start shedding the milk teeth at the age of 15-20 weeks.

So, if your pup is at this age bracket…and starts rubbing its face without any irritation or allergies. Try having a look at the teeth. The process goes gradually the way it happens to humans. Here comes the reason why your pup, for the last few days, the dog has been rubbing the face on any available object without showing any symptom of illness. 

The milk teeth are being pushed off with the adult teeth. They become loose, giving the pup the urge to rub the loose teeth off. It happens biologically since the pup needs no training on how to pull out the milk teeth. And, it needs no help in doing it.  It takes a few days for the loose teeth to fall-off. But, worry not, it will safely come out without help from a vet. 

4. Muzzle Rubbing

Are you wondering why your dog always rubs his muzzles after a meal?

This might be a sign of contentment for getting a nice meal. You should check keenly on how often your dog does it.

Points to note: When a dog enjoys an excellent play, they also rub the muzzles and the entire face. On the ground, carpet, any surface of their choice.

Also, you need to check if the dog is getting irritated or just having fun. It’s simple to distinguish.  All you have to do is check the pattern at which the rubbing happens. Mostly if the dog is happy, it rubs itself immediately after the excellent activity. After some minutes, when the anxiety is gone, everything calms down.

If the dog is lying down with no activity and suddenly starts rubbing the muzzles by pawning or rolling on the carpet or floor like they are experiencing some irritation… and the eyes don’t seem active. And it happens several times a day. It might be an allergic reaction, skin, or tooth infection. You need to plan a trip to the vet. To confirm if everything is okay or if something has started getting out of the hook. 

5. Show Gratitude

“Contentment Ceremony” is how Stanley Coren, Author of How to Speak Dog, defines the expression a dog shows when satisfied. It can be achieved by feeding on a nice meal, playing a favorite game, hugging a loved one, having a nice nap; generally, any activity enjoyed to the fullest. The dog does this by rubbing the face on the floor, carpet anywhere he feels like. He can go to the extent of rolling the whole body down. Dogs are fantastic pets, when they are happy, you are likely to notice it even from the look of their eyes. Bright, full of life and very energetic.  

6. Dog Language

Dogs have a language on how they express their feels and emotions. Being a smart dog owner, you should be able to identify when your dog is excited about the food almost to be served, and when it has happened that… he is having an irritation when you are almost serving his meal.  Each dog owner or dog caregiver needs to understand how their pet behaves. It varies according to the individual dog. But, some characteristics are shared across the breed. Dogs do develop habits (trained or self-discovery) on how they operate daily. For example…when they see their meal is being prepared. Some do roll on the floor, rub the face or the whole body all-over the ground due to anxiety. Can’t wait to have a taste of the meal. 

We addressed this earlier; dogs do show gratitude after a nice meal. By rubbing the muzzle and the entire face clean as they say thank you for the yummy meal, I would like to try it again next time.

7. Why Not?

Sometimes your dog gets bored with all the usual routine when they have nobody or, worse, nothing to play with. Looking on the floor, they decide why not become creative. If you didn’t know, when a dog rubs itself, it offers a massage feeling. And, who can deny a massage at free, relaxed moments? I guess no one! You will see your dog face down first, and then the whole body…making some funny sounds and seems to be experiencing each moment. With no irritation signs, very happy looking. Let the dog be, do not get closer; you are going to ruin the moment.

Take Away

This page is all about helping you understand your dog better. Today we have talked about possible reasons which could lead to face rubbing of your dog…which include; Dental infection, Trauma, Face Cleaning, Teething, Ear Infection, Spreading Smell, Show of Gratitude…to name a few. You need to spare a few minutes, go through the article… what I can assure you is, 99% you’re going to come out with an idea if not a solution on why your dog is face rubbing.