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Dog in pain when touched (Face) – Causes and Remedies

The dog scratches his muzzle


Dog in pain when touched (Face) – Causes and Remedies

If the dog scratches its muzzle with its paw it is likely that it hides health problems, often very serious ones, which is why it is important to know them.

The dog scratches his muzzle
The dog scratches his muzzle: that’s why he does it and what causes it itch (Photo AdobeStock)

We know that the dog’s nose is a surefire tool for Fido to get to know the world around him. He certainly perceives the world through his sense of smell and the nose is probably the most exposed part of the body, so it is extremely important that it is perfectly healthy. We need to understand what the triggering causes that force our four-legged friend to constantly scratch the muzzle with his paw, and often these are not such obvious reasons. In this way the dog may also want to communicate something that may have escaped our sight. Here because a dog scratches its muzzle with its paw and how to intervene to alleviate this annoyance.

The muzzle of the dog: the radar of his body

Dog muzzle (AdobeStock photo)

When we talk about the dog’s muzzle, which areas does this section of the body include? First of all, the area surrounding the mouth of our Fido. It is often called ‘truffle’Thanks to the shape that recalls that of the precious mountain food. In scientific terms, however, it is also called “rinario”, in strict reference to the dog’s nose which, as we know, is the main weapon of his infallible sense of smell (Read here: The dog’s sense of smell).

In a sense uses it as radar, since it is precisely there that the greatest number of receptive cells. They not only recognize and ‘classify’ the smells, but also manage to understand their origin. It is no coincidence that dogs are precious companions for humans engaged in the search for missing persons.

The same conformation of the muzzle to make a difference: in fact the dog’s sense of smell is closely linked to the breed to which the dog belongs. For example, brachycephalic dogs, having a short muzzle, also have a limited olfactory capacity. Also on the muzzle is the vomeronasal organ, or Jacobson’s organ, which allows the dog to pick up pheromones released by other creatures: this is extremely important for relationships and communication with his fellow humans.

Problems related to the dog’s muzzle

paw and nose
Dog paw and nose (Photo Pixabay)

The muzzle area therefore includes the oral mucosa and the skin of the lips, and the truffle mucosa and the skin of the nasal septum. These areas of skin are very delicate, so much so that they are more exposed than others to dermatological problems: in fact, the lack of hair is equivalent to an absence of protection for that part of the body. They can easily irritate and ignite, not only causing burning and discomfort but also limiting the olfactory capacity the animal. For this reason, it is very important to take care of them and take care of them, to prevent the dog’s sense of smell from being compromised and Fido himself can no longer relate well to his fellow humans.

The dog scratches its muzzle: causes and remedies

dog paws
The dog scratches his muzzle with his paw (Photo Pixabay)

Being a very delicate and most exposed area of ​​the body, it is also the most subject to inflammation and irritation. Even too long exposure to the sun can create problems in areas that are not protected from the hair. But here are all the possible causes that force a dog to rub its muzzle with its paw.

Diseases and deformations

Let’s start with the most serious, and also rather rare, causes that may have deformed the dog’s muzzle and do not allow him to breathe well. The nasal basins can be altered and we can realize it if we notice secretions and blood coming out of the nasal septum. If, on the other hand, the problem is due to a deformation of the muzzle, this prevents the dog from breathing well.

Pemphigus: among the skin diseases it is one of the most feared. It is an autoimmune disease, so it is the dog’s body itself that reacts against itself. The problem could be caused by external pathogens: they create antibodies against the skin and cause flaking and irritation. These ‘spots’ on the skin often take the shape of a butterfly and, if contaminated with bacteria, they can also be moist. The solution could be to give the dog immunosuppressants and antibiotics. In addition, special attention must be paid to the skin and not be exposed to the sun.

sunstroke: let’s not forget that the muzzle area is the one most exposed not only to sunlight but also to bad weather. We must take care of the area with emollient creams, perhaps based on zinc and vitamin A, or based on aloe.

Other skin diseases: juvenile cellulite, or painful pyoderma that affects dog puppies, or juvenile acne that causes itching and exposes the area to further contamination.

External agents

Or if the attack comes from outside, through fungi of the nasal septum, they cause dermatophytosis. External agents such as the caterpillars have a stinging hair: the aspiration of these insects can even cause injury or necrosis of the tissues.

Even the smallest spikes can penetrate the ears but also in the nasal cavities: this of course will greatly annoy the dog, who will try in any way to eliminate them. Even very small insects such as fly larvae can creep into the nasal cavities and irritate them.


The most common cause of itching is often an allergy (Read here: Allergies in dogs: types, symptoms and how to treat them). There are different types, such as: pollen, dust mite, contact. Let’s take a closer look at what they consist of.

Allergy to pollen: pollen can cause sneezing, nasal discharge and eye inflammation (or conjunctivitis), as well as lip irritation when the dog has direct contact with the allergen. Only cortisone can alleviate the discomfort and itchiness.

Dust allergy: dust mites sneak into carpets, cushions and all the fabrics in our home that are not cleaned too often. Steroid or cortisone-based anti-inflammatories are useful, and of course it is good to do a thorough cleaning of the tissues perhaps with a vacuum cleaner.

From contact: maybe the material with which the muzzle comes in contact can be the cause of the allergy. Think for example of the plastic of the dog’s bowl or his favorite toy: of course he touches them with his muzzle and could irritate him. For this reason it is important that all materials are hypoallergenic (maybe we prefer steel bowls to plastic ones) and also PVC-free.

Let’s not forget that the very action of rubbing the muzzle with the paw can worsen the irritation of the dog’s muzzle. in fact, the already damaged area could be increasingly exposed to injuries and infections. Better to ask our vet for advice and get to the bottom of the matter before the dog can disfigure himself with his own legs!

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