5 Reasons Why Dogs Rub Their Faces on the Floor

Is it sheer joy, or something else? Most dog face-rubbing antics are innocent, but it's best to be aware of some more sinister causes.

Published December 8, 2023
Woman laying on floor with her dog

Have you ever looked over at your dog and wondered, ‘what in the world is happening right now?’ I definitely have, especially when my dog just randomly plops his head on the floor to rub his face back and forth on the hardwood or carpet. While it doesn’t really make sense to us, it makes perfect sense to them. But what is it and why? 

1. They’re Marking Their Territory

You know how dogs often like to rub their faces on pretty much everything? It turns out they have these cool scent glands right in their cheeks. So, when they're doing that face-rubbing thing on the floor, they're actually leaving their own special smell behind. It's their way of saying, "I was here" or "This is my spot." But it's not just about claiming space; it's like they're leaving little scent messages for other dogs that might pass by later.

2. They're Itchy

Your dog may be rubbing their face along the carpet or hardwood floor because their face itches. Unfortunately, dog skin conditions and seasonal allergies don't always present as you might expect, so here are a few common culprits.

Cocker spaniel puppy lying down on a grey rug
Need to Know

If you notice any concerning signs, it's best to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

Fleas and Ticks Causing Problems

If your dog is constantly rubbing their face on the floor, it could be from those pesky fleas and ticks. These bugs are more than just a nuisance; they can cause a lot of discomfort for your furry friend. 

Quick Tip

Check for these tiny pests regularly and give your dog the necessary treatments to keep them itch-free and happy.

Facial Folds Need to Stay Dry

You know those dogs with the super cute, squishy faces and all those wrinkles? Well, those wrinkles can be a bit of a pain for them. They're like these little nooks and crannies that can get all moist and itchy if they're not looked after properly. If that moisture sticks around, it can lead to some nasty infections, making them scratch their faces like there's no tomorrow.

If you've got one of these wrinkly dog breeds, it's pretty important to keep those folds clean and dry. Check them often to make sure your pup stays healthy and happy.

Allergies Causing Irritation

Just like us, our dogs can have allergies, and they can come from pretty much anywhere — stuff they eat or just things they come across in their daily adventures. If your furry buddy starts rubbing their face on the carpet or the couch, it might be their way of trying to deal with an annoying itch or irritation that's caused by some sort of allergy. It could be something in their dog bowl that doesn't agree with them or even pollen from the great outdoors.

Whatever it is, these allergies can make their face feel super itchy, and rubbing against things is a quick way for them to get some relief. It's important to figure out what's bugging them, though, so you can help them avoid it in the future and keep the itchies at bay.

Quick Tip

If your dog starts itching excessively, it's time to visit the veterinarian to find out what's going on. 

3. They're Enjoying Themselves

Sometimes, there's no complicated reason behind your dog's face-rubbing antics. It's simply because they enjoy the feeling of the floor on their face. Imagine finding the perfect back scratcher or that just-right pillow. For your dog, the floor can feel the same way. They might be drawn to the coolness of the tiles on the kitchen floor or the rough carpet on a warm day that gives them those awesome scratches. 

Goldendoodle Dog at Home

It's not unlike a dog to lean into a  good petting session; they're just using the floor to get relaxed and comfy. Plus, maybe they’re giving themselves a mini-massage, using the texture of the floor to rub away any pent-up feelings. It's one of those simple pleasures in life. 

4. Something Smells Good

You know how dogs have no shame when it comes to rolling in smelly stuff outside, right? Well, think of that dead worm incident in the garden. Now, picture your dog doing the same thing inside the house but with their face. Yeah, they might've hit the jackpot and found some smell on the carpet that's got them all excited. We might wrinkle our noses at whatever it is, but to them, it's like the best smell ever. 

5. Something is Stuck

Unfortunately, sometimes excessive rubbing can mean that something hurts, like maybe your pup got a splinter from their favorite stick, or you missed a quill after last night's incident with the porcupine. It's not common, but if your dog's doing more than a good ole scratch, make sure to take a peek for anything that could be irritating your dog's muzzle or mouth. If there is, of course, a quick call to the veterinarian is a good idea.

No Need to Worry in Most Cases

There’s nothing to worry about most of the time if your dog is rubbing their face on the floor. Of course, you want to check for those icky critters like fleas and ticks and the folds in their face if they have those, but if it doesn’t become excessive, then it’s probably no biggie.

5 Reasons Why Dogs Rub Their Faces on the Floor