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4 Reasons Why Your Dog is Rubbing its Face on the Carpet

 by jaime on 14 Jul 2014 |
47 Comment(s)
Many dog owners have dealt with the confusion (and frustration) of seeing the family dog walk into the living room and rub its face in the carpet, usually right after the room has been vacuumed. Many dog owners are at a loss when it comes to explaining this common behavioral trait. So what does it mean when your dog is rubbing its face into the carpet? Is something bothering the dog? Does it just have an itch?
Just cleaning up a bit
The most likely reason why your dog will rub its face in the carpet is a desire to clean its face. There are two common times that your dog may rub its face in the carpet, specifically to clean itself. One is when your dog is done eating and it has small bits of food on its face and around its nose. In order to relieve the itchy sensation from those bits of food, your dog will rub its face in the carpet to clean off the food. Another common time is first thing in the morning. If your dog tends to wake up with eye rheum (or eye boogers), it is not uncommon for it to use the carpet to clean the rheum off of its face. While you cannot do anything to avoid the need to clean its face after eating, you can wipe your dog's face in the morning if there is noticeable rheum that occurs on a regular basis.
Wacky wrinkles
If you have a dog with facial folds, such as a pug or bulldog, you are probably accustomed to seeing your best friend rub its face in the carpet on a daily basis. Dog breeds with wrinkles, especially deep wrinkles on the face will often use the carpet as a means of itching, cleaning, and relieving irritations. Those wrinkles easily collect dirt, bacteria, and food particles. As a result, your dog will use the carpet to clean its face and relieve any discomfort. You can avoid this by lending your pup a hand and wiping out its folds on occasion.
Infections, allergies, and mites
Although not as common as the need to clean itself, your dog may also be rubbing its face in the carpet to relieve itching and irritation caused by infections, allergies, and mites. The most common infection that would cause a dog to rub its face in the carpet is an ear infection. If you notice your dog rubbing its ears and face in the carpet on a frequent basis, look for discharge from its ear. If its ear is red and swollen, you should take your dog to the vet.
Allergies in dogs often manifest as extreme itchiness. When you catch your dog incessantly rubbing its face in the carpet, it could be the result of a new product in the household environment that is causing an allergic reaction. If you've recently switched its food or started using new cleaners, that could be at the root of the face rubbing.
Ear mites are pesky parasites that nest in a dog's ear. Ear mite infections cause intense discomfort in your dog's ears and prompt an intense desire to itch. Rubbing its face in the carpet or against furniture is the best relief your dog can find in many cases. Keep an eye on any increase in face rubbing, as a serious infestation could create high levels of discomfort in your dog.
Why not?
Sometimes your dog just enjoys rubbing its face in the carpet. There doesn't always need to be a reason why your dog is rubbing its face in the carpet. Sometimes dogs simply find that itching their faces in the carpet is a fun sensation, and they will do it just because it is fun. As with any pet behavior, if you keep a close eye on the frequency of face rubbing you will be able to determine quickly if it's being done for fun or because something is wrong.


Linda Shaffer - Comment
Linda Shaffer19 Aug 2016Reply
Could this face rubbing be caused by a bad tooth? Or dental problems?
Gordon  - Comment
Gordon 19 Aug 2016Reply
Mike - Comment
Mike29 May 2017Reply
My dog rubs nose to remove food stuck in her nostril.
Maddaddy  - Comment
Maddaddy 02 Jun 2017Reply
My Westie is DoinG it for FUN of it... it normally happens after an energized episode... Comming in from an outside romp.. after chasing the stuffed hedgehog,
After a peanut butter bone.. you get the picture..
Cody W. - Comment
Cody W.02 Jun 2017Reply
Yes! So does my dog. They're just being playful. =)
Bron Dodson - Comment
Bron Dodson09 Jul 2017Reply
My dog has just vomited heaps of dry food and then after eating grass wetter vomit. She is rubbing both sides of her face along the grass and now the carpet. She's also scratching behind her ear. Ive checked for a tick or something there but I'm puzzled. Help?
Adam - Comment
Adam09 Jul 2017Reply
It could be a tumor called a nasal caudal frontal mass, consider a vet neurologist
Rylee A - Comment
Rylee A12 Jul 2017Reply
My dog as well has just vomited heaps of dry food and then after eating grass wetter vomit. Won't touch his food at all. Hi is rubbing both sides of his face along the grass and now the carpet. He's also scratching behind his ears. He constantly sits in the sun an then will run his face on the grass after a while. Ive checked for a tick or something there but Nothing is found.. Help please this has been going on for a week or so.. I've given him baths and ear cleaning but it continues.. He's also been having bad breath along with runny nose and eye boogers that are ether hard or greenish an oozing.
Michelle  - Comment
Michelle 12 Jul 2017Reply
Your dog has an infection. Please get him to a veterinarian ASAP!!
Atif - Comment
Atif12 Jul 2017Reply
Give him pandol syrup with combination with citrazin and cefixim mixed with water or milk for five days once in a day
Rocky Reed - Comment
Rocky Reed13 Jul 2017Reply
My boxer had the same problem. Scratching behind his ears and the sides of his nose til they bled. Rubbing his face and ears on the carpet. Violently shaking his head from side to side; whimpering and crying out in anguish and pain. Also there was a "corn chips" smell coming from his ears (telltale sign of yeast infection) The vet said no mites, no fleas, but turns out to be a yeast infection and allergies from his food. Kibbles n bits. (Main ingredient is corn) we stopped feeding him that and instead feed him mostly grain free dog food and some plain yogurt once in a while. Also had to bathe him more frequently using a shampoo specifically to kill fungus. We just had to make sure not to dry up the oil on his skin or coat so gave him alaskan Salmon Oil ( they sell it at Walmart) Couldn't believe the difference in such a short amount of time. Stay strict with his diet and bathe him more frequently until yeast infection is completely gone. No SUGARS
Yvonne murphy - Comment
Yvonne murphy16 Jul 2017Reply
My jack Russell had eight teeth out she's a rescue dog so not sure what she had been fed prior to us adopting her she must now be doing it for fun or to clean her face as she's still doing this
William Leasure - Comment
William Leasure19 Jul 2017Reply
Our Scrappy Doo is a 7 year old chiweenee.(Dashound & Chee-Wa-Wa) Rubbing mug in floor/ grass till bloody/injured and completely disturbed in pain. He also has excessive licking between the toes. However if you examine your pet you'll know. Scrappy is short hair and over maintence so he don't allow bugs on board.
Your dog having these symptoms needs diet regulation.
Scrappy ate human food and I'm responsible just trying to help.
Michelle  - Comment
Michelle 19 Jul 2017Reply
Sounds like the poor thing is suffering from severe allergies! I hope you are able to bring her to the vet as soon as possible!!
mr wibble - Comment
mr wibble29 Jul 2017Reply
My dog does this after a chicken vindaloo
iona - Comment
iona29 Jul 2017Reply
I suggest you do not give your dog vindaloo anymore. He has a very sensitive mouth like all dogs, and the spice is too much for him as well as not being good for him. As the poem by Pam Ayres goes:
Love is like a curry and i'll explain it to you,
That love comes in three flavours, cold, hot, and vindaloo.
Of course it's like a curry,
It cannot be denied,
For both are full of spice and both have dishes on the side.
- Pam Ayres

so my simple advice to you is if you love your dog, don't give him any more vindaloo.
Common sense  - Comment
Common sense 25 Aug 2017Reply
Take ur dog to the vet for goodness sakes
Baloo - Comment
Baloo26 Aug 2017Reply
My yorkie is doing this? He just started it 3 days ago I have treated him for fleas but he is acting really strange. He keeps rubbing on the couch and his bed, I'm feeling helpless just now. He's always good health and happy now he's frustrated and looks depressed some times. Any advice would be great. Thanks in advance.
2 dog parent - Comment
2 dog parent26 Aug 2017Reply
I would suggest checking for possibility of yeast infection. There are over the counter shampoos for yeast, etc. Or call your Vet.
Wiggs - Comment
Wiggs17 Sep 2017Reply
If you have a small dog that rubs his head on the carpet, won't eat hard food, has bad breath then have his teeth checked. My adopted havanese had a severe tooth infection causing him to lose 32 of his 42 teeth.
De - Comment
De25 Oct 2017Reply
I just rescued a yorkiepoo that does this often and with gusto. Most of the time she's a chill little pup but man sometimes she just goes for it rubbing her face on the floor.

I don't know much of her history before me, she's 2ish months old and I just took her to the vet yesterday for a health check. She's 100% healthy. So I think it's just a weird stimulating thing for her. She also hides under my coffee table. She's weird. Lol.
Snowly2 - Comment
Snowly228 Nov 2017Reply
My dog keeps rubbing his face against the carpet,
he does not like doing this as when he does on accident he stops but now I see my golden retriever rubbing his face all the time could there be an explanation?
Stella - Comment
Stella26 Dec 2017Reply
So my dog does this when she's been put in the kitchen and we let her out of it. Is this just hyperactivity?
Giannina - Comment
Giannina25 Jan 2018Reply
My pug is almost 2 years old, he rubs his face on the carpet or couch, recently he's developed a bit of hair loss, and redness on his upper lip from doing this, this morning he bled a bit as well. He has abit of a runny nose, but I read that if the discharge is clear then not to worry about it, only worry if its green or yellow. I thought the runny nose was causing the redness and it would stop soon, but now he's bleeding and I'm worried.

How can I remedy this? is a trip to the vet necessary?
2 dog parent - Comment
2 dog parent25 Jan 2018Reply
Poor baby. If he is bleeding I suggest the Vet, before it gets infected. I believe it could be a yeast infection. Maybe even an ear infection. Just possibilities.
Tracey meaghan  - Comment
Tracey meaghan 04 Feb 2018Reply
My dog is a cross between a shitzu and a pug he heft’s very furry round his I cut him around his face he’s not long been treated for a ear infection but he still rubs his face on carpets rougher the better any ideas on how to help he’s a 3 yr old rescue
Angela - Comment
Angela04 Feb 2018Reply
My 2-year-old shih tzu does the same thing. I have had her to the vet several times and they say she is healthy and they do not know what causes it. We hav ehad her since she was 6 weeks old and have not changed her food or anything at all. I worry about her but I dont know what to do to relieve tis issue either.
Kendra - Comment
Kendra04 Feb 2018Reply
I'm having the same ongoing issue with my shihpoo. He's extremely itchy right in the little area where his short snout/ nose turns up. Not on his actual nose, but where his fur is on top. I'm at a loss. The vet said it's just irritated skin and to keep his hair short and clean. It hasn't helped. He won't even let us pet his head anymore. So sad and I just don't know what's going on.
Laura - Comment
Laura07 Feb 2018Reply
Hi all I need some help. I just rescued a cute little chi that I'm sure she's mixed but not sure with what. She keeps rubbing her face on the carpet, wont dog food, she has thrown up food twice. I called my vet but he's not back until Friday. Any suggestions? Ive bathed her - she has no ticks or fleas. I checked her ears and she has no signs of irritation or infection. Any suggestions or help is appreciated!
Frank - Comment
Frank15 Feb 2018Reply
What a load of crap! Ear infection? Hardly! They do it because it feels good. Whether on carpet, grass or even in the snow. Obviously, you are promoting vets and think people should be frivolous with their money.
Ren's Mom - Comment
Ren's Mom15 Feb 2018Reply
Why so narrow minded? While it is true dogs love a good face rub on the carpet, bed, grass, etc., there are other accompanying behaviors that can have a very different meaning. If a dog is rubbing itself to the point of bleeding, for example, this does not indicate joy. My Spitz-pom enjoys a good face rub quite often, but lately he has been whimpering and trembling while simultaneously blinking one eye. Although he has been known to bark or grunt while "rubbing", he does not whimper or tremble when he's happy. These are signs of some sort of distress. Since he's known to have seasonal allergies, I would be inclined to believe he was itching before thinking he was enjoying himself. If one understands their fur baby, there should not be a question of what is fun and what is distressful and needs the attention of a vet.
Roscoe - Comment
Roscoe15 Feb 2018Reply
You are so right..My dog is %100 healthy and loves to rub his pretty face in grass all the time. Its a possible instinct they have to mask their odor as well as to massage his face..
Tania Farries - Comment
Tania Farries24 Feb 2018Reply
I would be very grateful for some advice please. You mention in your article about dogs rubbing their face on a morning. My lab Poppy only rubs her chin on a morning, quite excessively and then maybe scratches it a few times a day. She has had blood tests which show she is allergic to seasonal pollen, perrenial mites/moulds and flea saliva. She also has food allergies but the blood test didn't say what (another £250). I have done everything I can to eliminate the allergies but still she scratches. I put her on a raw food diet a year ago and wondered if she could be reacting to the meat on her face? Just a long shot. I wondered if you knew anything about just rubbing the chin? Oh and she licks her vulva quite a bit. Thank you Tania 😊
wewew - Comment
wewew27 Feb 2018Reply
she is eatin my carpet!!
Ray  - Comment
Ray 08 Mar 2018Reply
My dog is freaking out rubbing her face the only thing different I givin her is crackers with peanut butter could
IRANI - Comment
IRANI29 Mar 2018Reply
Estou aflita para conseguir uma solução para o meu cachorro para de esfregar o focinho inteiro quando faz seu xixi. Não entendo o pq ele faz isso, fico muito brava pq esta todo limpinho veio do banho e quando ele vai no tapete higiênico faz xixi e esfrega o focinho fica fedido com o pelo horrível. Por favor alguém consegue me ajudar?
Anonymous - Comment
Anonymous30 Mar 2018Reply
My dog has been rubbing his face on the carpet and licking his paws. Ears are totally clean as checked by vet. I’m not able to understand what’s wrong?
Kim - Comment
Kim17 Apr 2018Reply
Hi,. My shorkie is backwards sneezing at night. She also coughs to clear her passages when coming from outside. The worrisome thing for me is at night she moves from her bed to sleep on the floor. She's always been very healthy and she just turn five. Grateful for any answers. We just lost our 14 year old terrier could it be a reaction? Thanks in advance 😃
Dranny - Comment
Dranny16 May 2018Reply
I googled a question wanting to know why my rescue, 4 year old beagle rubs his nose on the carpet, the couch, pillows and his ‘blanket on the floor. He seems to enjoy doing that either after being outside or when he wakes up in the morning or after a long nap. So far, it seems like he is playing or putting his scent on the floor. When he does it I will tell him “itchy nose” for a minute or so and he gets very playful even making playful barks or grunts. I was just curious if anyone else had this going on and why they do that. He eats dry and canned food, usually grain free. And, he shares a banana with me most mornings and a bite or two of what I am eating. I’m sorry for those of you who have pets that have injuries. The worst thing that happened since I got him, is that he is tremendously separation anxious. I have given him half of my sleeping pill (on the advise of his vet), calming tablets and a thunder shirt. He has been so upset being put in his carrier that he damaged and broke off several of his front teeth while trying to get out. We all love our fur babies and only want the best for them.
Sarah Oneill  - Comment
Sarah Oneill 05 Jun 2018Reply
Hi, I need advice /help I've been dog sitting for about two weeks over last couple of days he's been hyper and to nite he constantly rubs his face against carpet and it's made him vomit he's so hypet
Sharon  - Comment
Sharon 08 Jun 2018Reply
My pug dog is rubbing is face on carpet and shaking is head he doesn’t look happy at all I am worried about him what can it be
Steve - Comment
Steve17 Jun 2018Reply
I'm lost, don't know what to do for my girl , Shepard she constantly rubs her nose, on me carpet , furniture. This is more than just a itch. We notice she loss her two theeth from playing frisbee trying to pick up her toy could this be the reason .
Feto - Comment
Feto30 Aug 2018Reply
My dog runs his face in carpet every time he comes home from a night of Gambeling and drinking but I suspect he is also seeing a prostitute when he goes out how ever c he denies it when I ask him. Is it the alcohol or could hr have picked up a v.d. from unprotected sex. Should I even be letting my young adult dog go out and party on his back own at night.
Tom wiessnee - Comment
Tom wiessnee02 Sep 2018Reply
My parents 13 year old Boston last week went through an episode of severe drooling, eyes swaying side to side rapidly, balance issue and tilted head. Obviously took her straight to vet, most symptoms have fallen off, still has a slight tilt to her head and balance is still a little off. She does seem to improve a little every day. However, today she was rubbing her nose so much on the carpet the pores on her nose started bleeding. Any suggestions?
Lesley - Comment
Lesley02 Sep 2018Reply
That's CVD or Canine Vestibular Disease. Needs to see the vet; antibiotics, antihistamines, going to need a lot of support and tlc. The dog's organs of balance have been compromised, deep within the ears; the horizon has gone. Recovery is possible. It's not a 'stroke', which many owners think it is. No slippery floors, put down mats, assist with feeding and drinking, support whilst outside, remove any objects that the dog might crash into. The eye movements are called nystagmus. Google canine vestibular disease, lots of support out there.
Regiane Fleury Meirelles  - Comment
Regiane Fleury Meirelles 18 Sep 2018Reply
Tenho um Pug de 1 ano e meio e sempre vejo ele esfregando a carinha na cama e nas cobertas e tb coçando muito os dois ouvidos. Cheirei para ver se era infecção mas não tem cheiro forte...será que o soro fisiológico é o suficiente para limpar?
Michelle - Comment
Michelle06 May 2019Reply
Hello my name is michelle and I have a problem with my dog she’s a boxer and she tends to rub her face on the rugs and plus the outside grass in dirt and she comes back inside my house and I see her eyes are covered in blood sometimes and I tend to help her by cleaning her ears with wipes and plus read remedies that kills ear mites like garlic with olive oil and I put the liquid for ear mites and she go’s and keeps on doing the exact thing every day rub everything if I don’t walk her or watch her what should I do ohh and she has a big black patch on the side of her skin and idk if it’s an allergic reaction to her food idk like I buy her the healthy dog food like bentiful and can food like ol’roy sometimes other foods like natural recipes
Elmar  - Comment
Elmar 13 May 2019Reply
HELP!!! My mini poodle was born half blind and the only thing that the breeder and vet could come up with is that it’s genetics...(we had him fixed so it would not happen anymore to another dog near us) but he’s been rubbing his eye on the carpet some mornings and nights and I took him out the other day and he started rubbing his eye on the CONCRETE PARKING LOT!!!! I stopped him immediately and asked my mother who works with the vet what to do and she was lost because we don’t know exactly 100% what it is that’s caused his condition. So we tried childerens benedryl and prescription eye drops for him and it helped the first couple of days then it stopped working and that’s how we got to him rubbing it on concrete. His right eye is completely white from the time he opened his eyes and his left eye looks like half of it is rolled back, so he can see about 10-15%. but for the first 4 months he didn’t blink at all he closed his eyes a little when he slept but after the 4 months it’s almost like he gained his sensitivity and he used to not even feel pain or react to it, I mean needles/injections, walking into metal poles or running full speed into a door plenty of times he just keeps on we even tested him by pinching near tender skin and it was almost like he didn’t even know. But after he turned 5 months old it was almost like having a non disabled dog he could walk with me off the leash and potty training was going great and now he doesn’t leave my side and seems really agitated near his eyes and just rubs them constantly please help me figure out what might be wrong he’s 6 and a half months now and I want him with me for as long as possible
Marla Houseman - Comment
Marla Houseman22 Jul 2019Reply
Could rubbing face be from stress, not allergies?
Ross Kincaid - Comment
Ross Kincaid13 Nov 2019Reply
Just sprayed flea killer on top rear of dog. His fur is so thick that fleas never are affected by normal application. I tried a brand of spray and my dog rubbed his face in the carpet and grass for 30 min strait. The did not go anywhere near his head but obviously he was affected
Warren Carroll - Comment
Warren Carroll16 Jun 2020Reply
My female Jack Russell does this after eating sometimes! I thought she did it as a sign she really enjoyed what she was eating but cleaning her face makes more sense!
Sue Jones - Comment
Sue Jones13 Jul 2020Reply
Our lab suffers from irritation under his chin and will throw himself on the floor and slide his jawline along the carper - any ideas what I can use on him to help?
Nitin Devnani - Comment
Nitin Devnani18 Sep 2020Reply
I have a 1 year old Lab, he was rubbing his nose and was not sitting idle and having breathing problem, when i went to vet, he told the dog was having anaphylactic shock and you have come to me in right time. So i don’t know what cause my lab to have serious allergy. Any suggestion on how to find allergy source that caused it. ?
Nancy - Comment
Nancy01 Dec 2020Reply
My terrier sits with her nose flat on the floor or the rug and doesn’t move for a while. This is something I have never seen before. I wonder if any one else has had this happen and if they know why. She is 4 months old
Wilton Carter - Comment
Wilton Carter12 Dec 2020Reply
4 yr old healthy Pug who, for many times of the day, rubs face on carpet and couch. Acts if it may be his ears but Vet says the ears are ok. He rubs up against my pant legs regularly,
Wonder if this may be due to some allergy?
Deep - Comment
Deep20 Jan 2021Reply
My little Yorkie Poo 9 months old and as soon as we go out he starts rolling on his back on Lawn. Is this a normal for puppy's.? He also do rub his face on couch on rug right after he finish eating. Is this something to be concerned about?
Deanie - Comment
Deanie03 Jun 2021Reply
My 3yr old Chihuahua seems to enjoy rubbing his face on carpet and throw rugs.. He does mostly after eating.. Thought it might be from food getting stuck in his teeth so I rub his jaws forward & he opens his mouth like hes yawning We started calling it "wash that face" & the more we repeat the more he does it.He is a long hair chi mix so after reading all these post I've come to conclusion it's a grooming habit.

Eros - Comment
Eros31 Jul 2021Reply
My dogs rub their faces in the carpet after their baths! Even after drying them, they still do it. But actually they could be rubbing their ears along the carpet to get the water out, just how we tilt our heads and shake to get water out of our ear canals. I saw some videos where groomers pull hair out of a few dogs' ear canals because the hair were irritating, causing the dogs to be in a unpleasant mood. After the hair were removed, the dogs deposition were improved. So look closely at your pet and see if he/she is rubbing face or ears. Ear infections are common in pets and should be looked into more often.
Bill - Comment
Bill11 Oct 2022Reply
Could my dog’s excessive facial rubbing be caused by eating peanut butter?
Robert  - Comment
Robert 07 Dec 2023Reply
My dog is so sensitive. If you pat her she absolutely loves it more than Normal. Her chest and her back area. She also sits and will turn and whine but she doesn't shoot just slightly turns to the side. She is a rescue and had a good evaluation at the vet. Thank for reading.
Robert  - Comment
Robert 07 Dec 2023Reply
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