The Surprising Reason Behind Your Dog Rubbing Their Nose Raw: Is Anxiety To Blame

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Dogs are considered man’s best friend for a good reason. They provide companionship, comfort, and unconditional love.

However, as much as we love our furry friends, they too can experience anxiety and stress just like us. One manifestation of anxiety in dogs is nose rubbing behavior that can lead to painful and alarming consequences.

Defining when your Dog is Rubbing their Nose Raw because of Anxiety

If you have a dog that is rubbing their nose raw, this may be a symptom of anxiety.

Dogs will typically rub their noses against surfaces such as walls, furniture, or floors excessively, this is often referred to as Kennel Nose and is often seen by dog owners when picking their furry friends up from a stay in the local boarding kennel.

Kennel Nose - dog in a kennel

This behavior often results in the dog developing raw sores on their nose due to constant friction against these surfaces.

The act of rubbing their noses against surfaces may initially seem harmless, but over time it can lead to adverse health effects.

What is anxiety in dogs?

Anxiety in dogs is a common problem that can manifest in a variety of ways, one of which is nose rubbing.

Anxiety is the feeling of fear or apprehension about what may happen in the future, and it can affect dogs just as it does humans.

When a dog feels anxious, they may become restless, whine, pace back and forth, or even harm themself through destructive behaviors.

The amount of anxiety that a dog experiences can range from mild to severe.

Nose Rubbing Behavior

One common manifestation of anxiety in dogs is excessive nose rubbing.

This behavior involves repeatedly rubbing their nose against something until it becomes raw and irritated.

Some dogs will rub their nose against anything available, including furniture, walls, or even their own paws.

Close up of a nose

Nose rubbing tends to be an obsessive behavior and often happens when the dog feels anxious about something they cannot control, such as loud noises or unfamiliar environments.

This repeated action can cause physical damage to your dog’s skin which results in more stress for the animal.

Types of Anxiety that Cause Nose Rubbing

There are many different types of anxiety that can cause nose-rubbing behavior in dogs; separation anxiety is one that’s commonly understood when discussing this particular condition.

Separation anxiety occurs when your canine companion becomes stressed whenever you leave them alone for any length of time, resulting in destructive behavior like chewing on the furniture or scratching at doors.

Fear-based aggression can also cause this type of obsession within your furry friend’s mind because they do not feel safe around certain people or things, causing their stress levels to skyrocket out of control!

Stress induced by unfamiliar environments or overstimulation, i.e., new smells/sights/noises, could also lead to excessive nose rubbing!

It’s important to understand each type and its causes before attempting to correct it with different training methods or medication.

The Painful and Frustrating Symptoms of Dog Nose Rubbing Anxiety

We all want to ensure that our furry friends are happy and healthy at all times.

Unfortunately, this repetitive behavior can cause physical discomfort for your dog and leave you feeling hopeless, wondering how to help them.

In this section, we will discuss the painful and frustrating symptoms caused by your dog rubbing their nose raw through anxiety.

Physical Symptoms

When a dog rubs their nose raw, it can lead to several physical symptoms.

First and foremost, their nose may become red and swollen due to constant rubbing against hard surfaces or objects such as the ground or walls.

In severe cases where the behavior persists over an extended period of time, the skin on their nose may start to peel off or bleed.

These physical symptoms not only cause discomfort but also put your furry friend at risk for secondary infections.

The open wounds on their noses can easily get infected if left untreated.

Behavioral Symptoms

Not only does this behavior cause physical discomfort, but it also affects a dog’s mental state as well.

Dogs that engage in excessive nose rubbing may become restless and agitated since they cannot satisfy whatever urge is causing them to rub their noses in the first place.

Excessive licking is another behavioral symptom that often goes hand in hand with nose rubbing behavior in dogs with anxiety disorders.

Dogs who lick excessively may develop hot spots or other skin issues that result from constant licking.

It’s essential to note that these behavioral symptoms are not exclusive to dogs experiencing anxiety-related behaviors alone; however, when paired with excessive nosing rubbing activity, it’s often an indicator that something is wrong.

What Can You Do?

Seeing your furry friend in so much pain can feel unbearable.

In the case of your dog rubbing their nose raw through anxiety, the best thing to do is to seek the advice of a veterinarian who can diagnose what is causing the behavior.

Depending on your vet’s diagnosis, they may recommend medication to help alleviate some of these symptoms.

Additionally, providing plenty of distractions and environmental enrichment activities for your dog can help keep their mind preoccupied and reduce anxiety-related behaviors such as nose rubbing.

dog with a distraction toy

Exercise also has a calming effect on dogs, so taking them out for regular walks or runs may help keep their minds at ease.

The Root Causes of your Dog Rubbing their Nose Raw because of Anxiety

Dogs love habit and routine, and any sudden change in their environment can trigger a wide range of anxiety-related behaviors, including nose rubbing.

Whether it’s moving to a new home, the addition or loss of a family member or pet, or changes in daily routines, these environmental changes can cause dogs to feel uncertain and uncomfortable.

Knowing this, we need to be aware of how our actions affect our furry companions.

It is important to establish consistent routines and provide ample opportunities for socialization and exercise.

Dogs require regular feeding times, exercise routines, playtime, and consistent attention from their owners.

Without these guidelines in place, a dog’s behavior may become erratic, which can cause angst.

Certain dog breeds are more prone than others towards anxiety-related behaviors like nose rubbing; this can manifest due to either genetic predispositions amongst the breed itself or particular living conditions that this breed is subjected for instance housing them in kennels.

Breeds like Chihuahuas and Dachshunds tend towards being more anxious than other breeds such as Labrador Retrievers.

It’s important to research breed-specific tendencies before bringing any dog into your home; this will help you to understand what kind of behavior to expect from your new pup based on their breed characteristics.

It’s also advisable that when adopting from shelters and rescue centers, breed tendencies are given special consideration before you make your choice.

The best way to prevent anxiety-related behaviors like nose rubbing in dogs is to establish a healthy routine that fosters a calm and relaxed environment.

Dogs thrive in environments filled with positive energy and regular routines, so it is important for pet owners to be mindful of how their actions affect their pets.

As mentioned earlier, offering plenty of exercise opportunities, playtime, and socialization is also essential to providing a nurturing environment for your furry friend.

Additionally, owners should provide plenty of mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys or training sessions which can help ease the anxiety that some dogs experience when left alone.

Treatment for your Dog Rubbing their Nose Raw, Anxiety solutions

Exercise and Routine: The First Line of Defense

One of the most effective ways to manage a dog’s anxiety is through regular exercise and routine.

Yes, this may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many pet owners neglect their furry friends’ needs in this regard.

Dogs need physical activity to burn off excess energy and mental stimulation to keep their minds occupied.

Taking your dog for a daily walk or run is a great way to achieve both.

dog taking exercise, going for a walk

Not only does it provide exercise, but it also gives them an opportunity to explore and engage with the world around them.

Sticking to a consistent schedule for feeding, playtime, and sleep can also help to greatly reduce anxiety by creating much-needed predictability in their lives.

Medication: A Last Resort

While exercise and routine can be highly effective for managing mild cases of dog anxiety, sometimes medication is necessary for more severe cases.

However, I must stress that medication should always be a last resort after other methods have been tried first.

Many people are quick to medicate their dogs without considering the potential side effects or long-term consequences.

Medication is not a magic fix-all solution; it should only be used in conjunction with behavior modification techniques and under the guidance of a veterinarian.

That being said, there are certain medications that have been proven effective in treating dog anxiety.

These include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), benzodiazepines.

A safe over-the-counter solution is natural supplements such as CBD oil, we have an informative article about using CBD oil that’s worth reading.

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The Importance of Behavior Modification Techniques

When it comes to managing dog anxiety, behavior modification techniques are crucial.

These techniques involve teaching your dog new ways of coping with stressors in their environment instead of relying on destructive behaviors like nose rubbing.

One popular technique is counter-conditioning, which involves gradually exposing your dog to the trigger that causes their anxiety while pairing it with something positive, like treats or playtime.

This helps to create a new positive association in their mind.

Another effective technique is desensitization, which involves gradually exposing your dog to the trigger in a way that doesn’t cause anxiety or fear.

Over time, you can increase the intensity of the exposure until your dog is able to tolerate it without reacting.

Alternative Therapies: Worth a Try?

In addition to traditional medication and behavior modification techniques, there are also alternative therapies that may be worth considering for managing dog anxiety.

These include acupuncture, massage therapy, and aromatherapy.

While there isn’t necessarily scientific evidence to support these methods as effective treatments for anxiety in dogs specifically, many pet owners swear by them.

The Takeaway

Overall, managing your dog when rubbing their nose raw through anxiety requires a multifaceted approach.

Exercise and routine should always be prioritized first and foremost, with medications reserved for severe cases only.

Behavior modification techniques are crucial for teaching dogs new coping mechanisms, and alternative therapies may also offer benefits worth exploring.

Remember: every dog is unique and what works for one may not work for another. So don’t give up if one method doesn’t seem to be working – keep trying until you find what works best for your furry friend!

Prevention Strategies for your Dog Rubbing Their Nose Raw, and Stop Anxiety

Socialization: The Key to Happy Dogs

If you own a dog, it is crucial that you prioritize your pup’s socialization as early as possible.

Socializing your dog means exposing them to different people, animals, and environments to help them feel comfortable and confident in any situation.

The lack of socialization is one of the most common reasons for anxiety-related behaviors in dogs, such as nose rubbing.

You should begin socializing your furry friend as soon as they are old enough to be out in public safely.

Puppy classes and playdates can help train your dog on how to interact with others properly.

Remember, socializing is not just about getting your dog around other dogs or people; it also means teaching them how to behave appropriately.

The Power of Positive Reinforcement Training

Training a dog can be challenging at times, but using positive reinforcement techniques can make the process much easier on both you and your pup.

Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding desirable behavior instead of punishing bad behavior.

This type of training is more effective in the long run because it encourages good habits instead of fearing consequences.

When training your dog not to rub their nose excessively, you should avoid punishing them for doing so. Instead, reward them when they refrain from doing it by giving treats or affectionate pats on the head.

Exercise: A Tired Dog Is a Happy Dog

Dogs need exercise regularly; they have energy that needs an outlet!

Exercise helps keep dogs healthy and happy while preventing anxiety-related behaviors like nose rubbing from emerging.

By taking regular walks with your dog or playing games like fetch or hide-and-seek with them, you will improve their overall well-being while strengthening your bond.

If you have an overactive puppy or a hyperactive breed like the border collie or husky, it is essential to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

An overactive dog can easily become anxious, leading them to develop habits like nose rubbing.

A Comfortable Home Environment

Dogs thrive when they have a comfortable and safe home environment.

Providing your furry friend with a cozy bed, toys to play with, and a consistent routine can help reduce anxiety-related behaviors like nose rubbing.

If you’re going out for the day or leaving your dog overnight, be sure to create a safe and comfortable space for them.

Consider using calming music or diffusing essential oils that promote relaxation.

The Importance of Routine

Dogs crave routine; it gives them a sense of security, knowing what to expect each day.

Creating a consistent schedule for your pup can help prevent anxiety-related behaviors like nose rubbing from developing in the first place.

Feed your dog at the same time each day and take them out for walks at regular intervals.

Consistent routines will help make life predictable and familiar for your furry friend.

Preventing anxiety-related behaviors in dogs such as nose rubbing is possible through socialization techniques, positive reinforcement training methods, regular exercise schedules, creating comfortable home environments that include cozy sleeping spaces and toys they love playing with while maintaining consistency in their daily routine.

Taking these steps will ensure that you give your furry friend the happiest life possible!

Final Thoughts

When your dog is rubbing their nose raw though anxiety, it’s a painful and frustrating condition that affects both dogs and their owners.

It’s incredibly important to understand the physical and behavioral symptoms that manifest when it comes to this behavior so you can seek proper care for your furry friend as soon as possible.

There are many ways to manage a dog’s anxiety through exercise and routine.

You can even try supplements, over-the-counter remedies, and even medications for severe cases.

Dog-licking nose. Dog rubbing nose raw anxiety

However, prevention strategies such as socialization and training techniques are probably the cheapest, most practical, and most effective thing you can do because you can literally stop dog anxiety from ever developing in the first place.

Surely, that’s the best thing you can do for your furry best friend.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian's advice.
Jen Smart

Jen is the founder of, a leading resource for managing and treating anxiety in dogs. With over a decade of experience in working with rescue dogs, Jen holds diplomas in Understanding Canine Anxiety, Canine Holistic Health & Therapy, CBD Oil for Animals, and Zoopharmacognosy. Her expert insights help dog owners navigate the challenges of anxiety with compassionate, innovative solutions. Follow Jen’s guidance at Anxious Canine for a calmer, happier dog.

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