Why Does My Dog Cover Their Face? (7 Common Reasons)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
dog covering his face

Some dogs like to cover their face with their paws on a regular basis, but people often wonder why they do this. There are many reasons, and it can be hard to tell which one is causing your dog to do it.

In this article, we’ll explore five of the most common reasons why dogs might cover their faces, and we’ll provide some tips on what you can do about it.

1. They Want To Scratch Their Face

The first reason is that dogs might cover their faces to scratch an itch. This is particularly common if they have a rash or some other irritation on their skin.

Dogs can get itchy for a variety of reasons, including allergies, parasites, and skin conditions.

Let’s take a look at some of these causes in more detail:


Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things, including pollen, dust, food, and mites. If your dog is itchy all over, they might be allergic to something.

If you think your dog might be allergic to something, the first step is to have them evaluated by a veterinarian. The vet will perform a physical exam and might order some tests to determine what your dog is allergic to.

Usually, most dogs suffer from either food allergies or environmental allergies.

By doing a food trial, you can determine if your dog is allergic to a certain type of food. This involves feeding them a special diet that doesn’t contain any of the things they might be allergic to.

If your dog is allergic to something in their environment, you’ll need to take steps to remove it from their environment. This might include changing their bedding, cleaning the carpets, and using an air filter.


Some dogs can get parasites like fleas, ticks, and lice. These parasites can cause your dog to itch and scratch, and they can also spread disease.

When it comes to itchy skin, fleas and ticks are the most common offenders. Fleas are small, dark-reddish brown insects that live off the blood of animals. They can cause your dog to itch and scratch, and they can also spread tapeworms.

Ticks are small, brown or black arachnids that attach themselves to the skin of animals. They can also cause your dog to itch and scratch, and they can transmit disease.

If you think your dog might have fleas or ticks, the best thing to do is take them to the vet. The vet can prescribe a medication that will kill the parasites and relieve your dog’s itchiness.

Skin Conditions

Dogs can also develop various skin conditions, such as dermatitis, yeast infections, and hot spots. These conditions can cause your dog to itch and scratch.

There are different types of dermatitis, but the most common is atopic dermatitis. This is an allergy-related condition that causes your dog’s skin to become inflamed and itchy.

Yeast infections are caused by an underactive immune system that causes the yeast on your dog’s skin to grow out of control. This can cause your dog’s skin to become itchy, red, and inflamed.

Hot spots are another type of skin condition that can cause your dog to itch. They are often caused by self-trauma, such as excessive licking or chewing on the itchy area.

2. They’re Trying To Communicate With You

Another reason why dogs might cover their face is that they’re trying to communicate with you. Dogs use their facial expressions to communicate with us, and when they cover their faces, it can mean a variety of things.

To know what your dog is trying to say, it’s important to pay attention to their overall body language. For example, if your dog is cowering and covering their face, they might be scared.

On the other hand, if your dog is playfully covering their face, while wagging their tail, they might be inviting you to play with them.

3. They’re Experiencing Anxiety or Stress

When dogs are feeling stressed or anxious, they may cover their faces with their paws as a way of avoiding eye contact. This is because eye contact can be interpreted as a challenge or a threat.

Dogs that are feeling anxious might also have their tails down, their ears back, and they might be panting. While there is no general explanation for why dogs might show stress or anxiety in this way, there are a few things that might cause it.

Some common causes of anxiety in dogs include:

  • Being away from their owner
  • Having a stranger approach them
  • Being in a new or unfamiliar environment
  • Experiencing loud noises

4. They’re Being Submissive

Dogs might also cover their faces as a way of being submissive. This usually happens when they’re meeting a new dog or person, and it’s a way of saying “I’m not a threat.”

Dogs that are being submissive might also have their tails down, and their ears back. Some dogs also might roll over on their backs to show that they’re not a threat.

5. They’re Trying To Hide Something

Another reason why dogs might cover their faces is that they’re trying to hide something. Dogs are often guilty of doing this when they’ve done something they know they’re not supposed to do, such as chewing on a shoe or getting into the trash.

When dogs are trying to hide something, they might have a guilty look on their face, and they might avoid eye contact. The funny thing is some dogs learn to do this even without being taught.

They might see this behavior from other dogs across the street that are being scolded by their owners, and they think it could be a good idea to try it out themselves.

6. They’re In Pain

When dogs are in pain, they might do a variety of things to try and relieve it. One of the things they might do is cover their face with their paw as a way of trying to tell you that something is wrong and they need help.

Oftentimes, this covering of the face is accompanied by whining or whimpering. If your dog is doing this, you may want to start an investigation to see if you can find the source of their pain.

Some of the most common sources of pain in dogs include:

  • Arthritis
  • Gingivitis or other dental problems
  • Allergies
  • Ear infections
  • Urinary tract infections

7. You’ve Encouraged Them To Do It

In some cases, the reason why your dog is covering their face is because you’ve encouraged them to do it.

If you tend to give your dog a lot of attention when they cover their face, for example, because you think it’s cute, they might start doing it more often because they know it gets them the attention they crave.

When Should You Be Concerned?

For the most part, if your dog is covering their face, it’s not something you should be too concerned about especially if this is something they normally do.

However, if your dog starts doing this out of the blue and they seem to be in pain or they’re showing other signs of stress or anxiety, then you should definitely start to worry and begin to look for a possible cause.

5 Things You Can Do If Your Dog Covers Their Face

If your dog is covering their face for any of the reasons listed above, there are a few things you can do to help them feel better.

1. Observe Their Behavior

Before starting any type of treatment, it’s important that you take some time to observe your dog’s behavior. This will give you a better idea of what might cause them to cover their face in the first place.

2. Treat Their Itching

If your dog is covering their face while scratching it, this could be a sign that they’re dealing with an itch. The first thing you should do is try to figure out what’s causing the itch.

After you’ve determined the source of the itch, you can then treat it accordingly. This might involve using a medicated shampoo, giving them oral medication, or using a topical cream.

In some cases, homemade remedies such as oatmeal baths can also be effective.

3. Find The Source Of Their Anxiety and Treat It

If your dog is covering their face while showing other signs of anxiety, such as panting, pacing, or trembling, then you should try to find the source of their anxiety and treat it.

This might involve moving them to a different room, working on desensitization training, or providing them with more toys and chew bones.

4. Take Them To The Vet

If your dog seems to be in pain and is covering their face as a result, you should take them to the vet.

The vet will be able to do a physical examination and run some tests to determine the source of the pain. They might also prescribe medication to help relieve the pain.

5. Ignore The Behavior

If you think your dog is covering their face for attention, the best thing you can do is to ignore the behavior if you don’t want it to continue.

This means no talking to them, no eye contact, and no petting them when they do it. If you do this consistently, they’ll eventually stop doing it because they won’t get the desired response from you.


Dogs have a way of communicating with us through their actions, and when they cover their faces, there’s usually a good reason behind it. In this article, we explored seven of the most common reasons why dogs might cover their faces.

If your dog is one of those that covers their face often, be sure to watch for any of the following behaviors that could be indicative of a problem. If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.

Thank you for reading! We hope this article was helpful in understanding why your dog might be covering their face and what you can do about it.