Why Do French Bulldogs Rub Themselves? What Causes This Behavior?

French bulldogs are adored worldwide for many reasons, such as their energetic and attention-seeking ways. One of the habits Frenchies have is rubbing themselves. But is it just part of their playful nature, or does it mean something? 

Why do French bulldogs rub themselves? Due to French bulldogs’ brachycephalic nature, they have limited flexibility to reach certain areas of their body. This is why whenever they feel discomfort or itchiness, they rub themselves in order to relieve the itch or clean themselves. There are different ways how Frenchies rub themselves, and each way could mean different things. In this article, you’ll learn what it means whenever they rub themselves in a certain way.

What does it mean when French bulldogs rub their genitals or bum?

French bulldogs rub their genitals

If you see Frenchies rubbing their genitals, it could mean many things. Here are some of the concerns you need to watch out for.

🐶 Impacted or infected anal gland 

The anal glands of Frenchies are prone to infection. Sometimes, they become impacted, which can be very painful to your dog. Anal gland impacting is caused when the glands are blocked. This will then lead to infection and production of abbesses if not treated.

Because of the irritation on the anal glands, Frenchies will scoot their bums across the grass, carpets, or the floor to relieve the itchiness.

The symptoms you need to watch out for a possible infection or impaction include dragging and scooting of the butt, constipation, and a smelly secretion of fluid in their anal glands.

If these symptoms are present, it is best to consult with your veterinarian so your Frenchie will be prescribed proper antibiotics and be advised of the best way to treat the condition and prevent it from happening again.

🐶 Something is stuck on their bums

Sometimes, when Frenchies defecate, some fecal matter is left on their butts, causing itchiness or contamination. Since Frenchies cannot reach certain parts of their body because of their physique, they rub their bums on a surface to clean their butt or be relieved from feeling itchy. 

Fecal contamination usually occurs after your Frenchie has experienced diarrhea since it leads to anal dryness and irritation.

The following symptoms must be observed to see if your Frenchie has this condition. The first is scooting and dragging of their butts, and the second is a fecal residue around their bums.

In order to remove the fecal residue, you need to trim the hair around their butt, clean their anus with warm water, and remove any apparent fecal matter.

🐶 Urinary tract infection

Bacterial and yeast infections can also happen to dogs. This can also cause itchiness and discomfort to Frenchies, so they rub their lower parts on surfaces such as a carpet, an object or using their paws to get relief.

If left untreated, your Frenchie may incur UTI, which will give them pain and discomfort. Some UTI symptoms include smelly and cloudy urine, and in worse cases, blood in the urine. You may also find your Frenchie straining during urination.

To relieve your Frenchie from the itchiness and discomfort, you can wipe his genitals with animal-friendly antiseptic wipes twice a day. However, if the symptoms persist even after the necessary care, it is best to consult with a vet immediately. 

🐶 Worm or parasite infestation

Another possible reason why Frenchies rub their bums is when they have worms or parasite infestation. Some of these parasites may include hookworms, tapeworms, and roundworms.

They usually get this if they are exposed or have consumed animal feces and food infested with worm eggs. Hookworms, though, are gotten when a larva enters the body of your Frenchie through their skin, mouth, or paws.

Some of this condition’s symptoms are scooting and dragging of their anuses, white worms wiggling around their bums, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and stools with blood. If two or more symptoms occur, consult your vet immediately.

What does it mean when Frenchies rub their faces?

French Bulldogs rub their faces

There are several reasons why Frenchies rub their faces. First is they want your attention. Frenchies are attention seekers, which is one of the many reasons they appeal to so many dog owners. This is why they rub against you for cuddles and kisses.

On the other hand, if they rub their faces right after sneezing or coughing, this is a sign that they want to clear their airways.

If the rubbing continues for a while, it may indicate a skin condition, allergy, or a more serious blocked airway. Consulting a vet may be necessary in this case.

What does it mean when Frenchies rub themselves on you being their owner or against an area?

Like many dogs, Frenchies want to mark their territories. They do this by rubbing themselves on furniture, a wall, a door, or any area they like leaving their scent. This scent is a warning on other dogs that the domain is their territory. Dogs living together in a household usually do this.

If Frenchies rub themselves on you, they want you to know that you’re very important to them. This means they want others to know that you’re a member of his pack.

Other reasons why do French bulldogs rub themselves

other reasons French bulldogs rub themselves

🐶They want to clean themselves.

Their small stature and limited flexibility make Frenchies struggle when it comes to grooming and cleaning themselves. Hence, they rub themselves to clean the areas they can’t reach.

As an owner, you must help your Frenchie clean himself. Below are the areas that need the most cleaning.

  • Fur – Even though Frenchies don’t have thick fur, you still need to brush them weekly and give them a good bath. By doing so, you’re helping them remove allergens and sweat buildup that can cause skin infections. 
  • Ears – The large ears of Frenchies make them susceptible to collect dirt. If not cleaned regularly, it may result in ear infection, or worse, early deafness. You need to clean your Frenchie’s ear twice a month using a cloth with baby oil or a canine solution for ear cleaning.
  • Wrinkles – Frenchies have several wrinkles all over their bodies. The wrinkled areas are susceptible to dust particles, dirt, and germs. This is why you need to take care of their skin folds to avoid allergies and skin conditions. To clean these areas, wipe with a clean cloth or wipes.
  • Bums and Genitals – Defecation and urination happen in these areas; hence, it’s important these areas are properly cleaned regularly. It may lead to bacterial or yeast infection, UTI, infected or impacted anal gland, and many more when left uncleaned. 
  • Teeth – The brachycephalic nature of Frenchies limits their mouth spacing, leaving their teeth vulnerable to infection and breakage. To avoid this, you also need to take care of your Frenchie’s oral hygiene. Brush your dog’s teeth using animal toothpaste. It will also help to give them toys that they can chew to strengthen and clean their mouth and teeth.

🐶 They have a wound or trauma that gives them pain.

If your Frenchie has been exposed to any injury resulting from playing or accident, and you find them scooting their bums on the floor, they may have incurred a wound or trauma. 

If you see discharges, redness, or swelling around their anus, it’s best to contact your vet to check for a possible tumor or internal injury. The earlier this is addressed, the lesser risk it has for your Frenchie.

🐶 They may be “playing with themselves.”

Pleasuring oneself is a need for dogs too. According to the ASPCA or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, dogs also have the need to “play with themselves”.

This happens because they have learned that by doing so, they will feel good. And their instinct tells them to do so. Even after they are spayed or neutered, dogs still play with themselves. 

Final Thoughts

The next time you wonder why do French bulldogs rub themselves, you now know what it means. Comprehending why your Frenchie behaves in a certain way will help you address any issue or problem when needed. Be mindful of the symptoms explained above and appropriately treat them.

However, it’s best not to wait for the symptoms to appear. Prevention is always better than cure. So, it’s important to properly take care of your Frenchies by ensuring they are cleaned regularly, be given clean food, and provide them with the love and attention they strive for. Frenchies are very friendly and have a good temperament. Hence, it’s effortless to clean them and tend to their needs since their loving and clingy nature allows them to enjoy these things.  

Also, as mentioned above, rubbing themselves doesn’t always mean a medical condition. Sometimes, it is just a behavioral condition. Hence, please don’t make fun of or scold your Frenchie when they are acting unusual. Instead, understand what they need and give your attention to them, just like how they give their loyalty and affection to you.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!