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15 Weird Reasons Dogs Rub Their Face On The Ground (2022)

Why Do Dogs Rub Their Face On The Ground

Fidos do a lot of weird things. 

One of them is rubbing their faces on the ground.

And no, it’s not a new facial regimen. 

So why do they do it?

If you want to know…

Keep reading to discover:

  • How great a dog’s sense of smell is.
  • What to do if your dog rub their face on the ground.
  • 15 weird reasons why dogs rub their faces on the ground.
  • And much, much, more…

Why do dogs rub their face on the ground?

Dogs rub their faces on the ground to relieve an itch or to clean their face. They also do this because of the presence of mites, ticks, or fleas in their face or ears. Moreover, this action can also be caused by something more serious like a brain tumor.


15 reasons dogs rub their face on the ground


#1: Natural instinct

Your pup’s close relatives, the wolves, would do a “victory dance” after hunting. 

They rub the scent or blood of their prey on their heads after killing it. 

Your pooch might be mirroring this by rubbing their face on the ground when they get their kibble. 

Since they don’t hunt, they consider their dog food as their “prey” instead. 

You see, it’s their natural instinct that drives them to do this. 

It’s a callback to the time when they were living in the wild. 

#2 Good smell

What smells good for your pooch might not smell good for you. 

For one, your pooch loves the smell of grass and dirt. That’s why they would rub their faces on it. 

Sometimes they would even rub, not just their face, but their whole body too. 

This happens when your Fido likes the smell so much. With that, they want to put the odor on themselves. 

It’s like how we put on perfumes because it smells nice. 

Moreover, they also do this for the contrary.

When there’s a smell that they hate, they wanna get rid of it.

You can observe this when you use sweet-smelling dog soaps.

And as a result, they would again rub their faces on the ground.

Read Next: 7 Reasons Why Dogs Smell Other Dogs’ Poop + Potential Dangers

#3: Allergies 

Allergies Cause Dogs To Rub Their Face On The Ground

If your Fido is having an allergy, they can rub their faces on the ground to find some relief. 

According to experts, canine allergies commonly show when your Fido is 1-3 years old. 

In fact, according to AKC, skin allergy or allergic dermatitis is the most common type of allergy in dogs.

And here are the three main causes of your doggo’s skin allergy:

  • Flea.
  • Food allergies.
  • Environmental allergens.

Be sure to consult your vet if you think your pup has allergies. Doing so would give them the proper treatment that they need.

Moreover, it would be better if you knew what your pup is allergic to. 

This way, you can prevent allergies from happening again in the future.

#4 Itchy eyes

You can use your hands to scratch or remove something from your eyes. 

But your Fido can’t do that. 

As an alternative, they rub their face on the ground instead. 

In some cases, the strong chemicals from your pup’s soap or shampoo irritate their eyes. 

On the other hand, dust or small insects can also go into your pooch’s eyeballs. 

To be sure, check their eyes and look for any signs of irritation. 

Your Fido’s eye irritant will cause an eye discharge. So, watch out for that. 

According to FETCH, a clear discharge is caused by wind or dust in the eye. It can also be caused by an allergy. 

While a white discharge means that an eyelash or a foreign body entered your Fido’s eyes.

To help your pooch with their itchy eyes, you can try Vetericyn’s anti-microbial eyewash.

It’s recommended by many fur parents and highly rated on Amazon. 

#5: Face cleanup

Your pooch will rub their faces to clean it up. 

Most of the time, they would rub it with their paws or on the ground.

This is also their way of getting rid of food food that sticks to their face. 

Sticky food like bone broth or mashed potatoes can be hard to remove from your Fido’s face. 

Also, some seeds or small weeds can get attached to their head when they go out for a walk. 

Their ears, in particular, are a common entrance of these foreign bodies. 

And your pooch can find these things ticklish or itchy. 

As a result, they would rub their face on the floor to get it out. 

#6: Ear infection

Ear Infection

An ear infection is common for Fidos. 

This is particularly true for breeds with floppy ears like Cocker Spaniels. 

Moreover, AKC estimates that 20% of doggos have some form of ear condition. 

And it can affect one or both of their ears. 

To know if your pooch has an ear infection, watch out for these signs:

  • Pain.
  • Odor.
  • Itchiness.
  • Head shaking.
  • Dark discharge.
  • Crusting or scabs in the ears.
  • Scratching at the affected ear.
  • Redness and swelling of the ear canal.

Not to mention, ear infections can cause discomfort to your Fido.

That’s why they would do erratic movements such as rubbing their face on the ground to relieve the pain. 

So how do you treat an ear infection?

PetMD recommends that you take your doggos to the vet to get treated. 

Because your vet needs to clean your pup’s ear thoroughly to restore it back to health. 

Only then can you ask your vet if home treatment is still needed.

#7: Scent marking

The common method of canine marking is through peeing or pooping. 

But dogs also leave their marks by rubbing their faces and bodies on surfaces. 

These marks are called pheromones

This is Fido’s way of telling other dogs what belongs to them. 

Both humans and canines release pheromones. But only your pooches can smell it. 

You see, Fidos have very good noses. 

According to VCA, they have more than 100 million sensory receptor sites in their nose.

To compare, humans only have 6 million.

Furthermore, a study finds that pooches can detect human emotions through smell.

So with a nose this sensitive, they don’t like smelling other doggo’s scents on their property. 

That’s why they like marking their territory. 

#8: Dental problems

Fidos would sometimes rub their faces on the ground to get the food stuck between their teeth.

The same thing would also happen when they have tooth decay. 

And to relieve themselves of the pain, they rub their mouths on the floor. 

Besides, over 80% of Fido show signs of dental disease when they turn 3 years old. That’s what vets say.

So to prevent this from happening, the AMVA recommends letting your vet check your pooch’s teeth once a year.  

They also shared this video of how to brush your doggo’s teeth properly:

Also, check your Fido’s gums and tonsils.

If it has an issue, it also causes your pup to rub their face.

#9: Teething

Teething can be very uncomfortable for your pooch. 

And the feeling they get from rubbing their face on grass or dirt can calm them. 

AKC says that your pup’s temporary teeth will develop as early as two weeks from birth.

Not only that, but their permanent teeth will then come out when they’re 4-5 months old. 

So what can you do for your pup?

To help your pooch in this painful journey, you can ask your vet for a chew toy recommendation. 

You can soothe their sore gums by giving them something to chew on. 

Plus, the chew toy will prevent your pup from chewing on your shoes or other household items. 

Here are some top-rated chew toys from Amazon:

#10: Wrinkly face

Wrinkly-faced breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs have a lot of folds on their faces.

Because of this, their tongues or paws can’t clean their facial area. 

And the folds on their faces collect dirt and bacteria.

As a result, their faces feel itchy.  

That’s why they rub it on the ground. 

FETCH also mentions that flat-faced breeds are more prone to eye discharge. 

This is another reason for your doggos face rubbing. 

You might also like: Is Breeding French Bulldogs Profitable? Costs + Yearly Income

#11: External parasites

If a parasite like mites, tick, or flea bites your Fido, it can cause skin irritation. Add all those together, and it’ll lead to itching.

As a result, excessive rubbing will occur. Your doggo will rub their face and body on the ground to get rid of the parasite.

Other symptoms include:

  • Scabs.
  • Hair loss.
  • Red, irritated skin.
  • Severe scratching and itching.
  • Biting and chewing of the skin.

An extra sign for ticks and fleas is that you can see them on your pups. 

Aside from the irritation they cause, these parasites also multiply fast.

That’s why it’s important to control them immediately. 

To do this, ask your vet for an effective shampoo, spray, or powder that will kill the parasites.

#12: It feels good

Happy Dog

A simple reason why your Fido is rubbing their face on the ground is that they love it.

And it feels good when they do so. 

The texture of the surface they’re rubbing on can have an effect too. 

Some Fidos would rub their faces because they like the rough floor or soft ground. 

Moreover, it can also be because they want to swat away the insects that bother them. 

For example, an ant can crawl on your Fido’s face. 

This will then result in them rubbing their face on the ground. 

#13: Uncomfortable Collar

When your Fido’s collar doesn’t fit, it can irritate them. 

This is true when it’s too loose or too tight. 

And when your pooch starts rubbing their face on the ground, it can be a sign that their collar doesn’t fit.

They’re actually to take off their ill-fitting collar. 

So to avoid this from happening, check if the collar fits your pup. 

PetMD also suggests rotating between a few collars. 

And, of course, regularly checking that they still fit well. 

But how do you know a well-fit collar?

The simple way of doing it is to slip your thumb between the collar and your pooch’s neck.

If you can fit your thumb between them, then it’s good. 

Editor’s Pick: Can A Dog Wear A Collar And A Harness? 3 Dangers

#14: Obsessive behavior

Constant face rubbing can be a sign of an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)  in your pooch.

For Fidos, it’s commonly called a canine compulsive disorder (CCD). 

This happens when your pup would repeatedly do something and finds it hard to stop. 

Other examples of obsessive behaviors are:

  • Pacing. 
  • Spinning. 
  • Tail-chasing.
  • Patterned barking.

However, the cause of this disorder is still not clear. 

Moreover, research shows that the treatment of CCD is the same as what’s used for humans with  OCD.

It involves medication and behavior modification.

So if your Fido has CCD, it would be good to talk to an animal behaviorist. 

#15: Brain tumor 

Although highly unlikely, brain tumors can cause your pooch to rub their faces on the ground. 

Because of the discomfort that your Fido feels from this condition, they’ll find a way to soothe themself. 

Other signs of brain tumors are:

  • Circling.
  • Head tilt. 
  • A wobbly gait. 
  • Abnormal vision.
  • Hypersensitivity to neck pain.
  • Abnormal behavior/mental activity. 

If you’ve seen these behaviors from your pooch, call your vet to set an MRI or CT scan for your pup.

For the treatment of brain tumors in your, it’ll depend on the type of diagnosed tumor. 

Lastly, these are the three treatment methods vets will choose from:

  • Radiation.
  • Neurosurgery.
  • Chemotherapy.

Warning: The prognosis for Fidos with a brain tumor is guarded to poor. So they must be treated immediately.

Why do dogs rub their face on the ground after a bath?

The sweet and strong of your pet shampoo and soap can irritate your pooch. 

That’s why they immediately rub their face on the ground to get the smell out of their nose.

Another reason why they rub their faces on the ground after a bath is they have zoomies.

AKC defines zoomies as explosions of energy that your Fidos have on occasion. 

And it commonly happens after a bath. 

What happens is that your Fido has an energy build-up during bathing. 

As a result, they release this after bathing by rubbing their faces on the ground. 

But note that zoomies are normal dog behavior. 

So you don’t have to worry about it. 

What should I do if my dog rubs his/her face on the ground?

If you see your Fido rubbing their face on the ground, check for its root cause. 

You can do this by looking for other symptoms your pooch might show. 

Also, check the ground where they rubbed their faces on.

Most importantly, inspect your pup’s face to get more clues in why they’re rubbing their face on the ground.

If you find something that needs medical attention, you must call a vet immediately. 

But if it’s a behavioral issue, then you can let it be. 

Or you can also do things that would prevent face rubbing from happening again. 

One effective method is to groom your pooch properly. 

In doing so, you can prevent skin irritations on your pup. 

You can also take better care of your Fido’s dental health to stop them from rubbing their faces on the ground.