Dogs have many different behaviours and one of these is to rub their nose on the floor before they eat their food. Whilst this is often nothing to worry about, there are some occasions where this seemingly innocent act could be the sign of something more sinister.
Why Does My Dog Rub Its Nose On The Floor Before Eating?
There are many reasons why your dog will rub their nose on the floor before eating, which includes marking their territory, cleaning themselves and showing their excitement. However, there are also more sinister reasons behind it, such as pain and discomfort, which needs to be kept an eye on.
Why Does My Dog Rub Its Nose On The Floor Before Eating?
To Gather Information About The Environment
Dogs rely on their scent the most out of all their senses to gather various pieces of information. If they are about to eat, they might start sniffing the ground to see if any other animals have been there previously or to find out various other pieces of information.
To Communicate With Other Dogs Or Humans
Dogs are great communicators, even if we cannot understand them. If they are rubbing their nose on the floor before eating, they are either trying to tell us something about how they’re feeling, or they’re trying to send a message to other dogs that this isn’t their food.
To Relieve Discomfort Or Pain
Your dog might have something stuck in their nose that is causing them pain, or they might have a tooth infection, absess, or may have been stung by something. Either that, or they may have a nosebleed, a lump on their nose, or possibly even a tumor, all things that will also cause pain.
To Remove Scents From Its Nose
Dogs naturally love to sniff around anywhere and everywhere, which means that they end up with quite a lot of different scents on their noses.
If your dog is rubbing their nose before they eat, particularly if they’re rubbing it with their paws, this shows they are trying to remove any scents they might have.
To Mark Its Territory
If your dog is rubbing their nose on the floor before eating, particularly if they live with other dogs, they’re likely doing this to mark their territory to prevent any other dogs from eating their food.
As A Self-Soothing Behavior
If your dog is experiencing some sort of discomfort within their nose, they might be rubbing their nose on the ground as a way of trying to sooth the pain. However, this could possibly be the sign of something serious and may require a trip to the vet.
To Increase The Scent Of Its Food
With dogs constantly sniffing around everywhere, they tend to end up with a lot of different scents in and around their nose and given that they love their food, it can make it difficult for them to enjoy with lots of different scents; hence why they rub or wipe their nose so they can properly smell their food.
As An Expression Of Excitement
Many dog owners will recognise how excited their dog gets when it comes to food time. One of the ways they display this excitement is by running their face and nose on the floor because they end up with a lot of built up energy that they don’t know what to do with.
Even though dogs often appear as though they will eat anything and everything, dogs can be quite picky and if you give your dog some food that they don’t like, they may start exhibiting odd behaviours, such as rubbing their nose on the floor, because they don;t like the food that they’ve been given.
Potential Medical Issues
Dogs can have many allergies and given if you notice your dog is rubbing their nose on the ground, this could be a sign that they have an airborne allergy. This will likely involve a trip to the vet to check for any allergies and to see how serious they are.
The more likely infection that will cause your dog to rub their nose on the ground is if they have a tooth infection. They will require a trip to the vet so they can be given some medication to sort the tooth out.
Dogs can have many dental problems and if you notice that the gum surface from tooth to tooth is smooth as opposed to there being a bit of a bulge, this can be a sign of a problem; as can a fractured or discoloured tooth. All cases may lead to your dog rubbing their nose on the ground.
Neurological issues can cause a whole manner of things, however, one of these issues may be a brain tumor. This is one of the less likely issues to occur, however, it is still a possibility and will most certainly require a trip to the vet so they can be given the necessary treatment.
How Can I Train My Dog To Stop Rubbing Its Nose On The Floor Before Eating?
- Try and give them less food. Sometimes your dog rubbing their nose on the ground around food can be a sign that they’re full, so if you give them less food and they stop doing this, it suggests that being given too much food was the issue.
- Take them to the vet. Whilst it’s somewhat unlikely, one reason behind your dog rubbing their nose on the ground is a sign of illness, particularly if this behaviour has suddenly started happening and hasn’t stopped.
- Give them plenty of exercise. Most of the time, dogs will only rub their noses on the ground because they have extra energy, so this is their way of getting rid of this extra energy before they eat.
- Don’t tire them out. Despite the above, it’s important that you don’t give your dog so much exercise to the point where they are too tired because they will start rubbing their nose on the floor out of tiredness.
- Make sure they’re drinking enough water. Sometimes if your dog is thirsty they will rub their nose on the floor, particularly if they are about to eat because they might be feeling a little bit dehydrated.
How Sensory Stimulation May Affect Nose Rubbing Behavior?
The senses in your dog’s nose are particularly strong and in rubbing their nose on the ground, their senses tend to become quite stimulated and can bring a lot of pleasure to dogs. The more stimulation they feel they get from nose rubbing, they more likely they are to continue to do it.
Is This Behavior Normal For Dogs?
Yes, this behaviour is actually pretty normal for dogs and shouldn’t usually be something to worry too much about. However, if this is a sudden behaviour and you notice anything else unusual about your dog, it might be best to take them to the vet just for some reassurance.
What To Do About My Dog Rubbing Its Nose On The Floor Before Eating?
Observe The Behavior For Any Signs Of Discomfort Or Health Issues
One of these issues may be that if your dog isn’t eating but is rubbing their nose on the ground when you give them food that they are ill, particularly if they start doing it all of a sudden and this continues.
Ensure That The Dog’s Eating Area Is Clean And Free Of Any Distracting Scents
Dogs are very easily distracted, particularly by scent. If your dog can smell anything aside from their food, it will cause them to putting their nose on the floor to figure out what the smell is. Plus, it helps enhance the flavour of food if the area is clean, so they can enjoy their food more.
Use A Different Feeding Method Such As Puzzle Feeders Or Feeding Toys To Make The Mealtime More Engaging
Puzzle feeders are really helpful for helping dogs to slow down with their eating if they’re fast eaters and they also help with keeping your dog focused on eating.
Consider Taking The Dog To A Veterinarian If The Behavior Persists Or If The Dog Shows Any Other Unusual Signs
It’s always better to be safe than sorry and regardless of whether your dog is just rubbing their nose on the ground or if they are doing this alongside other unusual behaviours for them, make an appointment with the vet so they can check them over and provide any treatment if necessary.
Why Does My Dog Wipe Its Nose Before Eating?
To Remove Any Scents Or Debris From The Nose Before Eating
Dogs love to sniff around everywhere because scent is one of their main senses. Because of this, they end up with lots of different scents on their noses and prefer to get rid of these so that they can properly smell their food when they’re eating.
It Can Also Be An Indication Of Discomfort Or Health Issues, And Should Be Observed Closely
Dogs are very good at informing us that something is wrong by their body language. Your dog rubbing its nose on the ground prior to eating, especially if they don’t actually eat the food that they’re given, could be a sign that something is wrong and they may need to go to the vet.
Why Does My Dog Rub Its Nose On The Floor After Eating?
It Can Be A Natural Behavior To Clean Its Face After Eating
Dogs are quite messy creatures and they tend to get food all over their faces whilst eating it. This then leads to them using the floor as a napkin for them to wipe their faces on.
It Can Also Be A Sign Of Discomfort Or Itchiness, And Should Be Observed Closely
Sometimes, dogs simply just have an itch on their nose and not knowing what to do with it, they rub their nose on the floor in the hope of getting rid of it.
Either that, or they may be in some form of discomfort where there are chances of it being serious and should be monitored in case other symptoms arise.
Dog Rubs Face On Ground While Eating?
Your dog rubbing their face on the ground whilst eating is more than likely due to them either trying to get rid of any debris they may have picked up throughout the day, or because they are trying to get rid of the food from around their mouth.
Why Does My Dog Play With/Roll On Its Food Before It Eats It?
It Can Be A Natural Behavior For Some Dogs To Play With Their Food Before Eating It
If your dog is playing with their food before eating it, it can either be down to their hunting instincts kicking in and them wanting to play/hunt their food before eating it; or, it could be a sign that they’re not getting enough exercise, so are playing with their food as a way to make up for this.
It Can Also Be A Sign Of Anxiety Or Stress, And Should Be Observed Closely
Just like us, dogs can suffer from anxiety and stress and will show this in many different ways. One of these ways is to be rubbing their nose on the floor, especially if they are also just pushing their food around and not actually eating it.
Do Certain Dog Breeds Rub Their Noses On The Floor Before Eating?
This tends to be quite instinctual behaviour for most dogs as their ancestors would have to leave their scent behind around food to let other dogs and animals know that the food is theirs. Even though that’s no longer much of an issue, it’s still an instinctual habit they have.
What Are The Other Dog Rituals Before Eating?
Dogs tend to have their own habits regarding what they do in various parts of their day-to-day lives. In terms of eating, not only might they habitually rub their noses on the ground before eating, they might also bob their head.
Is It A Cause For Concern If My Dog Rubs Its Nose On The Floor Before Eating?
In some cases, your dog rubbing its nose on the floor before eating is a general behaviour and should be nothing to worry about, particularly if it’s something they have always done.
However, if this is a new behaviour and you notice any other worrying behaviours, this may indicate that something is wrong.
Should I Take My Dog To The Vet If It Continues To Rub Its Nose On The Floor Before Eating?
If your dog rubbing its nose on the floor before eating is a new behaviour and you are concerned, even if they aren’t showing any other signs of illness or discomfort, then it may be time to take them to the vet.
Does This Mean That My Dog Is Hungry?
Your dog rubbing their nose on the floor is unlikely to mean that they’re hungry. The most likely reason is that they’ve had too much food to eat, so are trying to find somewhere to bury the food to save for later and so no other dogs can eat it.
Could This Be A Sign That My Dog Doesn’t Like Its Food?
In some ways this could mean your dog doesn’t like their food and this could be a form of them gagging due to their dislike of it. However, it’s more likely to mean that they’re trying to hide their food if they still have some left over so that no one else can steal it.
Should I Be Worried If My Dog Rubs Its Nose On The Floor Too Aggressively?
There may be a slight cause of concern if your dog is aggressively rubbing their nose on the floor, however, this shouldn’t be something to be too worried about. It’s more than likely just allergies, a parasite, or a skin disorder.
These can be a little concerning so a trip to the vet may be required.
Is This Behavior Related To A Medical Issue?
Your dog rubbing its nose on the ground can be a sign of a medical issue, although this is often the last option for you to consider. However, the main signs that this is a medical issue is if it has either come on all of a sudden or if they are exhibiting any other worrying behaviours.
How Can I Tell If My Dog’s Nose Rubbing Behavior Is A Sign Of Pain Or Discomfort?
Your dog rubbing their nose is, more often than not, this will just be them doing a bit of grooming before/after eating. However, if this becomes incessant and happens more often than around dinner time, then it could be a sign that your dog is in pain and they will need to go to the vet.
Are There Any Other Common Eating Behaviors I Should Watch For In My Dog?
As well as rubbing their nose, other eating behaviours include running around, barking, jumping, knocking the food and water bowls over, growling, and nipping. This tends to depend on the type of eater your dog is, but all are quite normal.