If your dog keeps rubbing its face, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of common causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog rub its face? Possible reasons why your dog rubs its face are that it has allergies or a rash, fleas, something stuck on its face, a head injury, it was just itchy or something has been causing it to be anxious.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog rubs its face
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
Allergies or a rash
The cause could be that it has gotten a rash or allergies. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, if it has been rubbing the same part of its face and if it has been scratching itself a lot. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Another possible reason is that it has gotten fleas. This would also be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, if it has been itching itself a lot as well, it has also been scratching or rubbing other parts of its body as well and if you have found fleas around the house.
It likes the feeling
The reason why it does it could be that it simply likes the feeling. This would be more likely if it has not been doing it excessively and if it has not been behaving unusually in other ways.
Sometimes, dogs will rub themselves a lot when they are anxious, especially on the nose (source). It might be the case that your dog has been doing it because something has been causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it tends to do it more at certain times such as when you are about to leave home.
Something stuck on its face
The cause could be that it has something stuck on its face. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, it has been rubbing a certain part of its face a lot and if you can see that something is stuck there.
A head injury
There are some types of head injuries that can cause dogs to start rubbing their heads a lot. Head injury is a much less common cause than those mentioned above. However, it would be more likely if it has also been dizzy, vomiting a lot, having seizures or having a hard time walking (source). If it seems like it could be the case that it has a head injury, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started rubbing its face
If your dog did not always rub its face a lot, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started. If it started doing it suddenly, it would make it more likely to be due to things such as fleas, alergies, a rash or something being stuck on its face.
What is different when it normally does it
It would also help to consider if it tends to do it more at certain times or in certain situations. For example, if it tends to do it most at around the same time that you normally leave home, it would make it more likely to be because of separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog rubbing its face
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Take it to a vet
If it has been doing it excessively, it has been behaving unusually in other ways or you cannot figure out why it has been doing it, the safest option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being due to an injury.
Take measures to get rid of fleas
If fleas are causing your dog to rub its face, it would help to talk to your vet about what you should do to get rid of the flees.
It would also help to eradicate fleas from your home by doing things such as:
- Washing the bedding with hot soapy water
- Vacuuming the carpets and throwing the bad
- Applying an environmental flee control
- Applying a spray, pellet or non-toxic treatment for the yard
- Treating your dog with a monthly preventative
Reduce the likelihood of skin irritation
Allergies can be caused by things such as shampoo, other dogs, pollen, a harness rubbing its skin or household chemicals (source).
It would be more likely that allergies or a rash are causing your dog to rub its face if it started doing it after something happened that might have caused it to get allergies or a rash. Examples could be using a different shampoo or a harness that rubs its skin.
It would help to figure out what could be causing it to have a rash and to try to replace it with something else.