It’s time for play, and your furry pal just can’t contain her excitement! But then she suddenly starts rubbing her face on the floor out of nowhere before you can proceed with playing. What gives?

If you’ve noticed, it’s common for dogs to be rubbing their faces, and the reason may be something as simple as a dog scratching an itch. However, some cases may be due to certain conditions that need to be addressed. Let us get to know more about why dogs rub their faces and whether or not it is a cause for concern.


  1. What Does It Mean When Dogs Rub Their Faces
  2. Why Does My Dog Rub His Face On Me
  3. Why Does My Dog Keep Rubbing His Face on Things
  4. Dog Rubs Face After Eating
  5. Why Do Dogs Rub Their Face with Their Paws
  6. Conclusion

What Does It Mean When Dogs Rub Their Faces

You might be wondering: Why do dogs rub their faces? According to Dr. Amy Pike, DVM, Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist, there are many possible reasons why. But first, ask yourself: How often is your dog rubbing their face? Is it just occasional, or does your dog keep doing it? Do you notice them rubbing their faces in the grass whenever you go out for walks? Do they do it after eating meals? Noticing these things may give you a clue as to the cause.

Dr. Pike shares that there are a variety of both outside and inside factors that may cause your dog to rub their face.

Below are some examples:

Outside Factors

  • Scent

Dogs have amazing olfactory capabilities that exceed those of humans. It’s no wonder why the sense of smell seems to be a dog’s main sense. One behavior that is common in dogs is scent-rubbing, where a dog sniffs at where an odor is coming from, then rubs their head, face, shoulders, back, and bottoms in that scent. There are several theories explaining this behavior, and it has been described in depth by Allen et al and Horowitz.

Some dogs do this as a way to camouflage themselves and hide their scent. Others do it as a way to transmit information to their kin, to raise their social status by wearing a scent that’s utterly desirable, or simply to indulge themselves in the irresistible scent.

On the other hand, a dog rubbing their face may also be a way of marking territory (just like when dogs pee or poop on certain areas to mark their territory). Rubbing their faces on furniture, rugs, and other objects releases pheromones that other dogs can smell.

  • Facial Accouterments

When you wear a facial accessory on your dog, such as a muzzle or cone, they may get annoyed and may want to try to remove it by rubbing their face on the ground. On the other hand, a new collar or one that doesn’t fit well may also be uncomfortable for your dog, causing them to rub their face in an attempt to ease their discomfort. When getting a new collar or if your dog has gained some weight, it is important to ensure that their collar isn’t too small or irritating to their neck. As a guide, you should be able to comfortably insert two fingers into your dog’s collar.

  • Dust or Dirt on Face

When a dog has something on their face, they may try to wipe it off by rubbing their face. For example, dogs may experience this after playing outdoors, after a meal, or after taking a bath. If so, this is likely nothing to be worried about. It would help, though, if you could assist your dog in removing the dust or dirt on their face.

Inside Factors

  • Itchiness

When something is itchy, we humans may use our hands to scratch it. Dogs, on the other hand, cannot do that. Rather, they may rub their face or body on surfaces to scratch that itch. But what could be causing the itchiness? Below are some possibilities.

  • Allergies

If your dog keeps rubbing their face, it could be allergies causing the itchiness. And in an attempt to scratch the itch, dogs may rub their faces. Allergies in dogs may involve food, indoor, or environmental allergens such as pollen, certain grasses, and dust mites.

Alongside itchiness, allergies may come with accompanying symptoms, depending on the specific allergy. These other symptoms may include swollen skin or eyes and hives, among others.

In severe cases, anaphylaxis is possible and can be fatal. This happens when the whole body is triggered by the immune system to react to an allergen, causing anaphylactic shock to the dog’s body. This is a medical emergency that needs immediate care. And because you never know when a pet emergency may occur, all we pet parents can do is prepare in the best way that we can. Petcube’s Emergency Fund is a great example of how we can prepare for any pet emergency.

With the Pet Emergency Fund, you get 24/7 access to an online vet service where you can confirm an emergency and get answers in just a matter of seconds. Upon confirming the emergency, you then seek vet help by going to an emergency vet or animal hospital. The Pet Emergency Fund then pays the bill, so you can focus on your pet’s recovery.

Specifically, the emergency fund offers $3000 annually for pet emergencies of up to six pets, regardless of age, breed, and medical history. Yes, you read that right. So if you’re ready to invest, today is your lucky day, as we are offering our dear blog readers an exclusive 27% off if you follow this link.

  • Fleas, Mites, or Ticks

Fleas, ticks, and mites (e.g., scabies or Demodex) are external parasites that may cause itchiness. Fleas as well as scabies, for instance, are notorious for causing itchiness. Note, however, that not all of these external parasites may cause itchiness.

  • Eye Irritation

Common causes of eye irritation in dogs include:

  1. Foreign materials getting caught up in your dog’s eye;
  2. A scratch;
  3. An ulcer on the cornea;
  4. Dry eyes;
  5. Environmental allergies.

Because these may cause your dog discomfort, they may resort to rubbing their face and eyes to try to relieve the symptoms. If you suspect an eye problem, it is important to bring your dog to the vet to be treated and prevent things from getting serious.

  • Pain

“Why does my dog keep rubbing their face?” you might ask. One reason could be because they are feeling physical pain. When something in a dog’s face is painful, such as their teeth, mouth, ears, or nose, among others, it may cause your dog to rub their face. If you suspect that your dog is experiencing pain in their face, it’s best to bring them to the vet to be examined.

  • Low in calcium

Also called hypocalcemia, low calcium levels can cause itchiness in the face. Accompanying signs may include restlessness, seizures, twitching, aggression, and/or too much drinking and peeing. If you suspect low calcium levels in your dog, it is important to bring them to the vet immediately.

  • It feels good

We humans sometimes like the feel of certain textures and surfaces. Dogs are the same. So if other causes are ruled out, the cause may simply be that your dog likes how certain things and surfaces feel.

Why Does My Dog Rub His Face On Me

“My dog is rubbing their face on me. What does it mean?” You might wonder. Why do dogs rub their faces on you?

Being naturally affectionate, when dogs rub their faces on you, it often denotes affection. They are likely marking their scent on you as a sign of bonding, ownership, trust, and comfort. On the other hand, it may also be their way of seeking your attention.

Why Does My Dog Keep Rubbing His Face on Things

Why is my dog rubbing his face on the carpet? If your dog keeps rubbing their face on things like the carpet, bed, and blankets, among other objects in your home, there could be several reasons why. Oftentimes, it has something to do with scent marking. For example, it may be their way of claiming ownership and letting other dogs recognize their presence.

It may also be their way of releasing pheromones, which can also calm them and make them feel more comfortable in their space. On the other hand, if a dog keeps rubbing their face on things, it may also be their way of scratching an itch and helping relieve the discomfort that they’re feeling.

A pet camera like the Petcube Cam 360 may help you monitor symptoms such as your dog rubbing their face on things. With the camera, you can help observe your cat’s behavior and determine if their behavior needs to be addressed. With the camera’s features, such as the 360-degree pan-tilt rotation view, you can follow your dog up, down, and all around the room and be able to detect when something’s amiss.

Dog Rubs Face After Eating

If your dog is rubbing their face after eating, it may be because they’re trying to remove food remnants from their face or mouth. On the other hand, it may also be due to a food allergy. If so, it is essential to have them examined by a veterinarian.

A Petcube Cam comes in handy for monitoring why your dog behaves the way that they do. With features such as 1080p full HD video, 2-way audio, and clear night vision, you can stay connected with your pet anytime and anywhere. You even get access to a 24/7 online vet service, allowing you to consult with certified veterinarians whenever you have any concerns about your pet, such as when your dog rubs their face after eating.

Why Do Dogs Rub Their Face with Their Paws

“Why does my dog rub her face with her paws?" you might be wondering. The reason why your dog is rubbing their face with their paws depends on certain factors. Like the reasons mentioned above, it may be due to itchiness or pain. It could also be an emotional response. Observing your dog and consulting with your veterinarian is the best way to determine what is causing your dog to rub their face with their paws.


When your dog rubs their face, it could be due to a variety of things, such as allergies, itchiness, pain, an emotional response, and affection, among others. Monitoring your dog for accompanying symptoms and observing their body language may give you a clue as to what is causing your dog to rub their faces. Some cases need to be addressed, but others are not cause for concern and may even be a matter of your dog enjoying themselves. If you are not sure, it’s best to call your veterinarian.

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