Why Do Dogs Rub Their Faces On Carpet?

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Sometimes those canine paws don't do the trick for massaging a furry face. But your carpet has all the tools. Your pup dives headfirst into your floor, scooting his face along the carpet, twisting and rubbing. There's a reason for that strange behavior, even if it's as simple as your pup wanting to scratch an itch or clean himself up. However, sometimes it's not so simple.


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Itchy Eyes

He may be trying to scratch a stubborn itch in his eyes. If he does it after taking a bath, his eyes have probably been irritated by the shampoo. It's best that you buy a gentle shampoo that won't irritate eyes, as well as exercise more cautious while washing his face so as not to get shampoo in your pooch's peepers. If your pup is allergic to something in his environment or an ingredient present in his food, the allergen in question will cause his immune system to overreact. He'll become very itchy, especially around his face, paws, butt and tail. Although it's possibly an itchy face is the only symptom, he'll most likely bite at his butt, lick his paws, and dig his nails into his ears in addition to a little face rubbing -- all indications of an allergic reaction.


Messy Face

As your pup ventures into all those exciting places he loves to visit -- like your yard and throughout your house -- he's going to pick up a few messy hitchhikers along the way. Sometimes they'll stick to his face, as is the case with grass clippings and burrs. Small pieces of food can also stick to his mouth and nose area. If he's a sloppy drinker, he's probably dripping with a mix of water and slobber after he takes a few slurps. Whatever the case, some dogs hate the feeling of something foreign on their face. If that's your pup, he'll toss his head into your carpet, rub, twist and act really weird to get whatever's on him off. You'll often see this after he eats.


Parasites or Skin Disorder

If fleas or canine lice decided to move into your house, it won't be long before your pup's tossing his big muzzle into your carpet for a nice, soothing rub. The list isn't limited to just fleas and lice; any parasite that can cause your pup's face discomfort is a potential culprit. If your pup is suffering from parasites, he'll be itchy all over, not just on his face. A skin disorder may also be to blame. Mange, yeast infections, dry skin and the like all cause your pup discomfort, often in the form of excessive itchiness. You'll almost always see evidence of a disorder, either on your pup's face or in his ears. As with parasites, other areas of his body will also likely be affected.



Constant face rubbing may indicate a problem with a certain area of your little guy's head, such as his ears, mouth, eyes or nose. This is especially common in canines who have infections in those areas. Your pup's in discomfort and him rubbing his face is akin to you touching your jaw when it's in pain. In a lot of cases, you'll see other symptoms, especially with an infection, such as discharge, swelling, ear twitching and a lack of appetite.

This Feels Pretty Nice!


Sometimes face rubbing is a product of a terrific discovery your pup made! He realized that shoving his face into your carpet makes him feel good, so he decides to do it every so often. It's similar to how some dogs realize that laying next to an air conditioning vent on a hot day feels pretty awesome.

Vet Visit?

Call your vet and schedule an appointment to have your pup checked out if he's constantly rubbing his face on your carpet, and you suspect it's because of a less benign cause. That's not only the easiest way of determining if something's wrong, but it can save your pup from a lot of problems later on if he's suffering from a medical condition. Plenty of treatment options exist for most skin disorders and for most eye, nose, mouth and ear problems.


By Chris Miksen


PetPlace.com: Ocular (Eye) Pain and Squinting in Dogs By: Dr. Noelle McNabb
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Skin Problems
The New Animal Doctor's Answer Book; Michael W. Fox

About the Author
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.