If your dog is rubbing his nose and grinding his face against the carpet, it could be just a silly habit, a way to scratch an itch, or a way of cleaning himself off, but it also could be a warning sign of greater problems. A dog that exhibits this behavior could be doing so as a response to an allergy or even a parasite, so if the behavior is chronic, a trip to the vet probably is in order. Still, by taking a few simple steps yourself, you can try to alleviate his irritated nose and put an end to this behavior.
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Look at your dog's face, particularly his nose. If it looks raw, red or irritated, he could have an infection. It's hard to determine yourself if the irritation was caused by his nose rubbing or simply worsened by it, so schedule a vet appointment to get him looked at. Allergies also can make the dog's face itch, so you may have to switch his food or even administer an allergy medication prescribed by your vet.
Prevent rubbing from occurring by making sure your dog always has a clean face. If your dog has wrinkles, like a pug or bulldog, the folds around his muzzle can collect bacteria and other grime that itch and irritate him. Wrinkly-faced dogs that need their faces cleaned will try to alleviate the irritation by grinding their muzzles against the carpet, your body or any other padded surface. Clean out the folds at least once a week with a medicated towel from your pet supply store.
If your dog's face is clean and he is still rubbing away, an allergy may be the culprit. Visit your vet to find out the best way to pinpoint whether or not your dog is allergic to something in his environment.
If you find that the rubbing is simply a bad habit (the result of boredom or territory marking), correct and then distract your dog when you catch him in the act. Clap your hands to distract him and give the "No" command, then offer him a chew toy or invite him to a game of tug. If you're consistent with your reprimanding and distracting, he'll eventually rub out the rubbing!
By Tom Ryan
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.