Why Do Dogs Rub Their Faces On the Ground? (2023) 12 Reasons I PETSHORT


Like most of our greatest friends, dogs are superb companions and have lovable quirks. Amongst them is the habit of sometimes wanting to rub their faces on the bottom, whether or not it’s grass, the lounge carpet, or your favorite garden patch at home.

Remember, we’re not talking about dogs merely rolling within the grass here. That’s one other perfectly natural behavior in itself. Here we’re dogs specifically rubbing their faces on the bottom or floor.

The behavior itself just isn’t abnormal. It’s a wonderfully natural motion that stems from various inherited behaviors. Sometimes it’s purely genetic; other times, merely practical. 

Nevertheless, just a few instances may require some attention, which is price knowing about. So why do dogs rub their faces on the bottom? This text will take a look at all of the common and potentially problematic reasons.

There are also some interesting and related factoids about brachycephalic dogs, allergies, and the zoomies!

Image by Christina Chiz from Pixabay 

Why do Dogs Rub Their Faces on the Ground? 5 Positive Reasons

There are several perfectly normal and natural reasons to your dog pushing its mug into the turf. As mentioned, they vary from instinct to practical. Behavioral reasons are primarily harmless and nothing to be concerned about.

Most often where the behavior isn’t “natural,” it could almost all the time be remedied with some motion in your part, and a few time. Listed below are the first (and sometimes oddly humorous) reasons:

1. Instinct

Your dog’s great genetic ancestor, the wolf, deliberately rubbed its face into the bottom to do considered one of two things. The primary was to mark a kill and spread that kill’s scent on themselves. Rubbing their faces within the blood or detritus of their prey was an efficient strategy to do that. 

For those who notice your dog doing this, especially around feeding time, it might be a subconscious throwback to those heady days they couldn’t remember except through their actions. 

The second was to disguise their scent. Hunting dog breeds sometimes roll around and rub themselves in droppings and muck to disguise their scent from prey. It’s a purely instinctual habit and nothing to be concerned about.  

pug-grass why do dogs rub their faces on the ground

Image by Myléne from Pixabay 

A Note About Dogs, Their Noses and Their Ability to Smell

It’s not an embellishment to say that what smells good to your dog is a mystery to you. Humans have about six million receptors related to odor. Dogs have 100 million. Except for with the ability to smell 1000’s of times higher than humans, dogs even have a really highly developed “smell memory.” They will remember smells from an extended time ago.

This might account for why they wish to cover themselves in other scents or apply their very own to things and areas —- on this case, the bottom. 

2. Smelling Good

Dogs can smell an incredible persistently higher than we are able to. Sometimes, something on the bottom smells divine, no less than to them. This is the reason they will want to cover themselves in it. 

It perplexes many a dog owner who comes home after a walk within the park with a dog covered in much of what was within the park itself. Some dogs love the smell and texture of grass and turf. 

3. Post Bath Sensations

Many dogs get excited during bath time for positive and negative reasons. Because they’ve to take a seat still for much of that point, their energy builds up. Then, when finally released, you might see a dog rub itself urgently on the ground or ground. 

This will likely be to alleviate themselves of the scent of the water or shampoo. It is also to address the feeling of tingling, soapy suds, and wetness. Whichever the case, this is usually accompanied by a sensational case of the zoomies. 


Image by Nicole Köhler from Pixabay 

4. The Zoomies

This will likely be a burst of high energy at any given time. Some recommend you mitigate the zoomies by spending a lot of playtime along with your dog or extending their walks to burn up that extra energy. 

Failing to achieve this may end in sprinting dogs, who rub their faces and bodies into anything and every little thing in sight in excitement, including the bottom.

But are zoomies a very good thing? In a word, yes. Zoomies are excess energy that should be burned off quickly. Like a shower, an adrenaline rush is a standard cause for a fast burst of zoomies. Dogs may suddenly start darting about during feeding time, just before bed (irritating for humans), or during training. Generally, it’s a blissful moment.

A zoomie can also be generally known as a ‘Frenetic Random Activity Period’ or FRAP.  Incidentally, cats have them, too. 

5. Face Wash Moment

Dogs should not have opposable thumbs, so effectively washing their faces may be difficult. Thankfully, the bottom provides an in depth and convenient surface upon which to scratch their face. 

Food particles or bits of plants and seeds can itch, irritate, and usually feel yucky for a dog. Paw cleansing isn’t enough sometimes.

Something to concentrate on: A dog’s self-grooming is nothing like a cat’s. Chances are high that if a dog licks its fur or body, it feels itchy, irritated, and even painful. Anything greater than a minute or two of this behavior might indicate the presence of a possible irritant. 

labrador- nose

Photo by Engin Akyurt: 

When Do Dogs Rub their faces on the Ground? 7 Not-so-Positive reasons

Every so often, your dog may signal an issue when it pushes and rubs its face into the bottom. Lots of them usually are not severe, nevertheless it’s price understanding the potential issues may be remedied with some easy motion. It’s best to give the issue more severe attention in a single or two cases. 

1. CCD Behavior

Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD) affects some dogs, and could cause your pup to rub their faces on the bottom quite a bit. In essence, it describes any behavior the dog cannot stop and spontaneously exhibits without reason. Experts cite a selected area of the brain that’s affected. Several triggers may be at play, including stress, genetic disposition, other medical problems, and so forth. 

Sometimes, this behavior may be addressed by long-term remedial training, medication, or therapeutic intervention. 


Photo by Pixabay: 

2. Allergic Stressors

It’s not altogether unusual for pets to have allergic reactions to something. That might range from their food to environmental triggers and even detergents (do you employ hypoallergenic shampoos?) Skin, eye, or ear irritation could all end in scratchy instincts to rub on the bottom and relieve itchy faces. 

3. Parasite Presence

Fleas, ticks, and mites can discover a home on any dog. Your doggo might attempt to scratch them with a face rub on the ground in the event that they turn into problematic across the face and ears. Keep an eye fixed out for unusual hair loss, scabs, irritated skin, and weepy eyes.

How are you going to tell that there may be a parasite present? Look out for some additional indicators like: 

  • Scratching 
  • Itchiness
  • Reddening of skin (Irritation).
  • Scabs from scratching
  • Hair loss from excessive scratching and biting
  • Excessive biting and chewing of limbs and skin.

Vets will generally recommend a protected parasite-control shampoo. More severe cases may require a specifically medicated formula. 


Photo by Blue Bird: 

4. Teething Problems

Young pups suffer from the identical teething discomfort that human babies do. When those gums itch, it could be annoying, so a desperate measure is to rub their faces on the ground to alleviate the irritation.

One strategy to assistance is to take a position in a superb chew toy — the pup may prefer to gnaw on that as an alternative. It may prevent your favorite shoes or pieces of furniture from falling victim to the dreaded Hound of Itchy Gums. 

Initial teething can occur from as young as two weeks old in a pup. As well as, they may begin to lose “baby teeth” at around 4-5 months. 

5. Other Dental Problems

Odd as it might sound, a dog may be rubbing its facial area on the bottom to cope with dental issues like tooth decay. Pain related to broken teeth or decay may cause such behavior.

Dental disease just isn’t unusual in dogs. Greater than 80% of them suffer from no less than some minor dental issue by the point they reach three. That is another excuse vets will routinely take a look at your dog’s teeth during its annual wellness examination.

Some dogs have also been known to rub their faces on the bottom to loosen odd bits of food stuck between their teeth. 


Image by Couleur from Pixabay 

6. Collar Discomfort

If a collar is causing irritation or discomfort or is just a brand new addition to your pup’s life, it will want to do away with the annoyance. In effect, it might be attempting to rub it off. Collars may also be annoying in the event that they are too big or too small. 

rule of thumb is to see in case your thumb can comfortably fit between the collar and your dog’s neck. Too loose or too tight? Change it up for a safer or better-quality collar. 

7. Infection

Infections can have several possible causes. If left unchecked, fleas, ticks, and other parasites could cause more severe illnesses related to broken skin. As mentioned before, allergies left untended may become more severe conditions. The irritation from collars is one other possibility.

Regardless of the case, infections are annoying and potentially dangerous. The pup may be attempting to alleviate pain and discomfort by rubbing its infected areas (on this case, a muzzle area) on an abrasive or cooling surface just like the ground. 


Image by David Mark from Pixabay 

A Note on Brachycephalic Breeds

Brachycephalic breeds are dogs characterised by “squished” faces – think Imperial Shih Tzus, Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and so forth. These dogs have particular trouble reaching their faces with their tongues, not to say the folds of their respective muzzles. 

They’re sometimes more more likely to do some face-rubbing sessions to loosen food, debris, or unwelcome parasites and bacteria from their faces. It’s also price noting that these breeds are inclined to “tear” more from their eyes, which also causes more rubbing in turn. 

Final Thoughts on Why Dogs Rub Their Faces On the Ground

In case your dog seems blissful and excited to be out and about, you is not going to must worry about it rubbing its face on the bottom. Normally, it’s a purely instinctive behavior that requires no additional attention. That’s to say unless you have got a pup that loves the mud and muck of the local park. In such a case, spend money on a lot of dog shampoo.

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