The most common reason a dog rubs his face on the carpet after eating is because he’s cleaning his face. In the same way humans pick at their teeth or wipe their face after a meal, your dog might be trying to get clean.
Dogs do some strange things sometimes. All too often, our dogs engage in some bizarre behavior that leaves us scratching our heads and wondering “what in the world is going on?!”.
Does your dog rub its face on the carpet after eating? Dogs can be silly. They might simply like how it feels to rub their face on something. However, that’s not the only reason for this behavior.
The Most Likely Options
Quite simply, your dog might be excited!
Breeds like Labradors and Golden Retrievers are highly food-motivated and often quite enthusiastic about food.
Your dog might just be showing how happy they are to be digging into a delicious meal. Pay attention to how they act before and after being served the food.
If they’re jumping around, wagging their tail, and expressing telltale signs of excitement in anticipation of eating, rubbing their muzzle is probably just an extension of that excitement. A grand finale, if you will.
Do they rub their muzzles at other times of happiness? If so, then this is probably just more of the same thing.
They Like to Be Clean
In the same way humans pick at their teeth or wipe their face after a meal, your dog might be trying to get clean.
Maybe they have a piece of kibble in their teeth or lodged in their gums, or something stuck to the outside of their muzzle/whiskers that they’re trying to dislodge.
Some dogs can be little stinkers that don’t mind being dirty, but others can be very concerned about their own hygiene.
Sure, it might not be the nicest thing if they’re getting their post-dinner slobber all over your carpet, but they have to work with what they’ve got!
Try catching them before they get to the carpet and intercepting them with a damp paper towel to clean off the area around their muzzle.
Also, make it a point to check your dog’s teeth. The food they’re eating might get stuck in there and irritate their teeth or gums.
Dental care for dogs is very important. Make it a point to brush their teeth or give them toys like a Nylabone to encourage oral hygiene.
If their face and muzzle area seem dirty or irritated, make sure you’re keeping it clean with regular washes and a good shampoo.
Oatmeal and aloe shampoos are good for itchy dogs, and though dogs are good about keeping themselves clean, they need a little extra attention from time to time. Consult with your veterinarian about medicated shampoo if necessary.
Fleas, Mites, and Ticks
The bane of every pet owner’s existence.
Your dog contracting one of these pesky critters is a nightmare. Comb their fur and check them for bugs frequently, especially if they’re spending a lot of time outdoors.
If you’re in an unfamiliar environment or were perhaps just visiting one, be extra vigilant. You should also be extra attentive if your dog was around other new dogs, too!
Just like with people, you never know if another dog might be carrying something suspicious. It’s important to make sure that other dogs your dog comes in contact with are adequately cared for, meaning they have their shots and are on proper flea/mite/tick prevention regimens.
Dog parks have become a point of contention because of issues such as this. They are a breeding ground for doggy germs.
It is important to be vigilant about these types of parasitic insects. If they go untreated for too long, the health effects for your beloved pet can be disastrous. Don’t let it be too late to deal with!
They Are Wearing a Bad Collar
Something as simple as your dog’s collar can be causing them distress or discomfort. Check to see if the collar is too tight or if there is something caught in it that could cause irritation.
Is the collar dirty? Is the collar new and made of a different material than your dog is used to? Just as humans are sensitive to different detergents/fabrics and make it a habit of wearing clean clothes, dogs can also be sensitive to dirty fabrics and different materials.
If your dog enjoys playing outside and getting dirty, make sure you are cleaning their collar regularly to ensure moisture isn’t causing mold to grow and irritate their skin.
No one wants to assume the worst for their precious pets, but sometimes you have to consider that there might be something more serious going on.
If your dog is continually rubbing its face on the carpet after eating, this might be the first sign of an allergy.
Have you changed your dog’s food recently? Started giving them anything new, perhaps a vitamin or a supplement? It might not be working with their system. When changing a dog’s food, they need to acclimate slowly at the risk of disrupting their stomachs.
Check for irritation around the teeth and gums. Make a note of any swelling, soreness, or signs of pain around the muzzle area. Pale or white gums are a bad sign in dogs and usually mean that something is compromising their blood flow. Check their teeth to make sure nothing looks loose, rotten, or infected.
This could even be an ocular problem. Dogs often get a little gunk or crust around their eyes, and it is possible that this area could be irritated, as well.
Check their eyes for any dust or debris that could cause them pain. Make it a point to examine their nose, too. I knew a dog who developed a sneezing fit and started rubbing her head on everything—it turns out, she just had a blade of grass stuck in her nose!
Is the rubbing focused on the side of your dog’s head? Is it paired with ear-flapping or them pawing at their ears?
This might be a sign of an ear infection. If your dog’s ear is swollen or hot, it is worth taking them to the vet for a consultation.
Proper cleaning of your dog’s ears is important. They are black holes for dust and dirt and need to be adequately cleaned.
Dab a small amount of witch hazel on a cloth and use it to gently massage the dirt out of their ear canals. Warm water could be used instead of the witch hazel if your dog proves to be sensitive.
It is unlikely that a neurological issue is the case, but it is still a possibility. If this behavior is consistent and paired with other worrying symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Face Rubbing is Completely Normal
We don’t want to make you paranoid about your dog because rubbing their face on the carpet is most likely something harmless, especially after eating. Still, it is better to be vigilant than unaware when it comes to their safety. Dogs are unable to communicate with us using words, so we must pay attention to the physical cues that they give us
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.