If your dog has been rubbing itself on the carpet, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you seven common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get yours to stop.

It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.

Reasons why your dog rubs itself against the carpet

Below are seven possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

It likes the feeling

An obvious reason why your dog might be doing it is that it might like how it feels. This would be more likely if it has not been doing it excessively and if it has not been behaving unusually in other ways as well.

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 and if it has been scratching itself a lot. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Injury

The cause could be that it has gotten an injury. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being injured such as limping. If it seems like an injury might be the cause, the best option would be to take it to a vet. 

Fleas

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.

Impacted anal glands

The cause might be that it has impacted anal glands. This would be more likely if it rubs its bottom on the carpet in a dragging motion. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet. 

Boredom

It could be the case that it has been doing it because it is bored and looking for ways to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more before getting exercise and if it tends to do stop doing it after getting exercise. If it is healthy, it would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.

To spread its scent

The reason why it does it could be that it is marking its scent around the house. This would be more likely if it also does similar things around the house, it occasionally tries to urine mark around the house and if it can be very territorial when other dogs are near the house.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

What is different when it does it

If your dog seems to be doing it more at a certain time, it would help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention, it might be the case that it has learned that rubbing itself on the carpet causes you to give it attention.

What else happened when it first started doing it

If it did not always rub itself on the carpet, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as impacted anal glands, fleas or allergies.

What to do about it

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it. 

Avoid encouraging the behavior

It might be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewards when it does it. Instead, it would help to try to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to, to avoid rewarding it when it does not and to try to redirect its focus when it looks likely to start rubbing against things.

Prevent rashes and allergies

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 itself on things 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. 

Reduce fleas

If fleas are causing your dog to rub itself on the carpet, 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

Get help

If you cannot figure out why your dog has been doing it, your dog has been doing it excessively or it has been behaving unusually in other ways, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to rule out injury as a cause and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.

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