why do dogs rub their faces

Have you ever wondered why your dog rubs its face on everything? It’s actually quite common for dogs to do this, from your couch to your leg. Knowing why do dogs rub their faces can provide valuable insight into their behavior. In this blog post, we explore the fascinating reasons behind why dogs rub their face. Let’s explore the factors that affect this behavior so that you can gain a better understanding of your canine companion. 

Why Do Dogs Rub Their Faces?

dogs rub their faces

Dogs have various behaviors that can sometimes be confusing, and face rubbing is no exception. The following are some of the reasons:

Communication through Scent

One of the main reasons they rub their faces is to communicate through scent. Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and they use it to communicate with other dogs and find out about their surroundings. As they rub their faces against objects or surfaces, they’re depositing their scent, marking their territory, and leaving messages for other dogs.

Itchy or Irritated Skin

Another common explanation for face rubbing in dogs is itchiness or irritation. Like humans, dogs can get skin issues like allergies, infections, and parasites, which can cause discomfort and cause them to rub their faces. Pet owners should pay attention to any signs of skin irritation and consult a vet if necessary.

Social and Comfort Behavior

Social and Comfort Behavior

A dog is a social animal that often seeks comfort and connection with its human companions. To show affection, dogs rub their faces against people, furniture, or other animals. This behavior is commonly observed in puppies, who rub their faces against their littermates or mothers for warmth and security. 

In adult dogs, this behavior may persist as a means of comfort or reassurance. Often, they rub their faces to get affection and companionship from their owners, reinforcing their bond.

Stress and Anxiety

Changed environments, loud noises, separation from their owners, and unfamiliar situations can cause anxiety in dogs. Some dogs rub their faces to cope with these stressful situations. They rub their faces against objects or surfaces to relieve stress and anxiety. 

Furthermore, face rubbing is a displacement behavior that redirects dogs’ nervous energy into repetitive actions. Observe your dog’s body language and behavior cues to provide comfort and support, especially in stressful situations.

Breed-Specific Behaviors


Certain dog breeds are predisposed to specific behaviors, such as face rubbing. Breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs, which have unique facial structures, may rub their faces to relieve discomfort caused by folds or wrinkles. Some dogs with long, floppy ears, like Spaniels, rub their faces to relieve itching or irritation caused by allergies or ear infections. 

In addition, some breeds rub their faces against surfaces to clean or scent-mark them. Understanding your dog’s breed-specific needs and behavior can help you address them.

Low Calcium Levels

Dogs may rub their faces in response to low calcium levels in their bodies, a condition known as hypocalcemia. Low calcium levels can cause muscle tremors, twitching, and spasms, causing discomfort or irritation in the facial muscles. Therefore, affected dogs may rub their faces in an effort to relieve these symptoms. 

It can happen for various reasons, such as inadequate nutrition, certain medical conditions, or calcium absorption issues. Monitor your dog’s diet and overall health, and talk to a vet if you suspect anything’s wrong.

Eye Irritation

If dogs are experiencing eye discomfort or irritation, they may rub their faces. Dust, dirt, and debris can get lodged in a dog’s eye, causing irritation and making them rub their faces to relieve the discomfort. 

In addition, eye infections, allergies, or other underlying eye conditions can cause itching, redness, or inflammation, which causes dogs to rub their faces. Whenever your dog rubs his eyes, it’s a good idea to get him checked out by a veterinarian.

Dry Skin

Dogs can have dry skin, too, especially during certain seasons or in low-humidity environments. As a result of dry skin, dogs rub their faces to relieve itching and discomfort. Inadequate grooming, exposure to harsh weather, or underlying health issues can cause dry skin in dogs. 

Regular baths with moisturizing shampoos, proper hydration, and omega-3 fatty acids can help improve skin health. If dry skin persists or gives rise to other symptoms, such as redness or flakiness, consult a veterinarian.


In response to pain or discomfort in various parts of their bodies, dogs may rub their faces. Dental problems, ear infections, and injuries to the face or head can cause dogs to rub their faces to alleviate the pain. 

Dogs may also rub their faces if they have headaches or migraines, although this can be harder to spot. If a pet owner suspects their pet is in pain, they should seek prompt veterinary care if they notice any signs of pain.


Why do dogs rub their face on blankets?

Dogs rub their faces on things like beds and blankets for several reasons, one of which is to leave their scent. Their face has scent glands, so they rub against things to mark them as their territory. This can make them feel more secure and comfortable. 

In addition, blankets provide dogs with a soft and familiar surface, similar to how humans might find solace in their favorite blanket. Generally, dogs rub their faces on blankets naturally and are not to be worried about.

Are dogs happy when they rub their face?

Dogs can indeed rub their faces when they are happy or content. Rubbing their faces against objects or surfaces can be a self-soothing behavior that brings them comfort. Face rubbing can also serve as a form of communication or bonding, especially with humans or other animals.

Read More: Why Is My Dog Licking His Paws

The Takeaway

It’s evident that canine behavior is complex when it comes to rubbing their faces. Whether it’s for comfort or relief, each instance of face rubbing shows a dog’s preferences and needs. By observing and understanding these behaviors, pet owners can better provide care and support to their furry friends. The proper treatment for a dog’s face-rubbing behavior fosters a deeper connection and enhances their overall well-being.