Dogs love it when we rub and scratch them in all the right places, and if no one is around to help out, they can take scratching duties into their own "hands" by rubbing up against your sofa or dining room table. However, there are a variety of other reasons that can account for furniture-rubbing behavior, ranging from allergies to scent-spreading. You should always mention any unusual behavior to your veterinarian, as she may be able to offer valuable insight or determine if there is a more serious underlying condition.
Dogs with allergies will likely develop sneezing accompanied with fluid nasal discharge. The eye area can also quickly become irritated if your dog suffers from allergies. This irritation often manifests with excessive itching. In this case, dogs may often rub their face up against furniture (or even on the carpet) to relieve the itchy and scratchy feelings on their face.
A dog with an ear infection will likely be in a great deal of discomfort. To relieve the itchiness often associated with ear infections, dogs may rub their head against your furniture, the carpet or the walls in your home. You may also notice that your dog is often scratching her ear with her foot. If this does not provide enough itch relief, your dog will resort to rubbing against your furniture.
You may have noticed that your dog rubs up against the grass outside when there is a particularly attractive scent, like a dead animal or food. In a similar fashion, your dog may be rubbing up against furniture that smells like another dog, food or a particular enticing cleaning product. It may also be the case that your dog is simply marking her territory by rubbing her own scent against furniture.
If your dog is scratching herself and rubbing against furniture quite excessively, her skin is likely irritated. Consult your veterinarian so that she can examine your dog for skin infections, mites, fleas, dry skin or an anaphylactic reaction. Some of these concerns may not be visible to the naked eye so your dog's rubbing behavior may be quite confusing to you.
Dogs can also suffer from psychogenic diseases that cause them to rub their skin violently. This can often cause wounds on the skin, so your veterinarian should address the condition at once.
By Hannah Reid
Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook; Debra M. Eldredge, DVM, Liisa D. Carlson, DVM, Delbert G. Carlson, DVM, James M. Giffin, MD
University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine: Driven to Discover Q & A
ASPCA: Dog Care
About the Author
Hannah Reid has a Master of Education from Harvard University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English and psychology from Hamilton College. She has worked with children in grades three through 12, providing academic support in the areas of writing and reading comprehension. Hannah also blogs about her family farm and offers tips on everything from chicken coops to kitten care.