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Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking Its Head?

Your dog shaking their head is a common sight because dogs don’t have hands or fingers to scratch the irritation away. Usually, when your dog shakes their head once or twice, it is to deal with an itch, remove any foreign objects that may be lurking in its ears or quite simply, to show excitement.

However, if the shaking is persistent, or if your dog looks lethargic and keeps shaking its head, it could spell trouble. If you notice this unusual behaviour in your canine friend, it may be well worth making a visit to the vet. Here are some of the reasons why your dog could be shaking its head.

Removing Dirt and Foreign Objects From Their ears

Dog shaking its head

Just as we mentioned briefly above, your dog might shake their head to remove impurities from its ears. Your dog could have foreign objects like grass, water or insects within its ears, which for obvious reasons can be incredibly irritating. These could come out with a simple shake or two.

Check out how to clean a dog ears in this guide here

However, if the objects are deeply rooted within your dog’s ear, they might keep frequently shaking their head to try and remove the foreign items. If you notice this constant shake, pet your dog and look whether you can see anything untoward in their ears.

Take your dog to the veterinary clinic if necessary to get the impurities out.

Your Dog Could be Struggling With an Infection that caurses it to shake its head

If your dog has a bacterial yeast ear infection, they could keep shaking their head as a sign of the discomfort they are feeling that is being caused by the infection. They could also be feeling itchy and cannot shake off the feeling. You can relate if you have ever experienced an itch on a body part that you just cannot reach.

The discomfort could also be a result of an inflammation in the dog’s ear or discharge. If you notice this behaviour in your dog, check their ears for redness, inflammation, any discharge or other signs of something being infected.

If you notice any of these symptoms, see a veterinarian and get your furry friend treated as soon as you can. Ear infections can be fatal to your dog’s health, so it is safer to get them checked whenever you notice them.

Your dog could also be dealing with ear mite infections, this can also be fatal if not treated correctly. Other serious infections that could cause your dog’s constant shaking of their head are:

  • Otitis externa
  • Ear vasculitis
  • Ear hematomas

Read next: Why feeding your dog chicken skin is a bad idea, a really bad idea

Pain from Ear Damage or Head Trauma can caurse dogs to check there heads

Vet checking dogs ears and head as it keeps shaking its head

Has your dog been injured recently or hit their head? If yes, their constant head shaking could be in response to the pain they are feeling from the impact. If they fought with other dogs, they could have gotten injured. Observe your dog and see if their head shaking is accompanied by whimpers or a sorrowful look.

If the dog shows any signs of pain or trauma, take them to the vet and get them checked over fully.

Itchiness from Food or Environmental Allergies

Have you changed your dog’s diet lately? If the answer is yes, then your dog could be having an allergic reaction to the new food. Yes, dogs too can have allergic reactions to food and these allergies can cause itchiness in your dog’s skin, and they can only attempt to shake it off.

They could also be reacting to environmental allergens such as pollen or irritants in the grass. There is not much you can do with environmental triggers other than making sure to the best you can that your dog does not come into contact with them.

However, with food allergies, you can put your dog on a diet to identify which foods they react to. Put them on one meal (a combination of a carbohydrate and protein) for at least a month and see what they react to. Remove that food from your dog’s diet.

You could also have your veterinarian run skin and blood tests on your pet to establish the cause of the allergic reactions. Help your dog live more comfortably and get the help they need.

Mites and Parasites in the Fur

Vet removing tick from dogs ears which was the reason it has been shaking its head

How often do you check your dog’s fur for mites and other parasites? These pesky little creatures can be very uncomfortable on your dog’s skin and they could be the reason why your furry friend keeps shaking their head.

If you notice them in your dog’s fur, bathe them, and if need be, consult your vet. You might also need to fumigate your dog’s sleeping area. Mites and parasites like to hide in warm areas so if you clean and treat your dog but fail to clean their sleeping area, they’ll just climb back and the cycle begins all over again, cause your dog even more discomfort.

Read next: Has your dog developed white spots in its nose? – Learn why now

Water in Their Ears

Dog with water in its ears causing it to shake it head

If your dog is a swimmer, then they might have gotten their ears filled with water while swimming. Or, you could have accidentally left some water in their ears after bathing them. Water in the ears is usually very uncomfortable for dogs, and they’ll keep shaking their heads until they have let it all out.

When your dog goes swimming, cover their ears with cotton pads so that water doesn’t get in and if they don’t like wearing the ear pads, talk to your vet to give you a drying solution for every time your dog goes swimming.

When you bathe your dog, try and avoid spraying their heads directly with the water. Use a cloth to clean their face and head so that water doesn’t trickle into their ears.

Ear Polyps

Your dog could be having ear polyps which can be very uncomfortable. Ear polyps are noncancerous growths that grow in the ear canal. You might want to take them to the vet to rule these out. If they have them, let your veterinary prescribe the best course of treatment.


In conclusion

If your dog shakes their head a few times in a day, there is nothing to worry about. They could be shaking off excess ear wax, an itch, or water, and other foreign objects from his ears. However, if you’ve noticed your dog shakes their head more frequently, there could be a reason to worry.

It could be an ear infection, head or ear trauma or damage, water lodged in the ears, or a reaction to allergies. It could also be because of parasites, mites, or ear polyps. Take your dog to the vet and have it looked at.

Read next: Learn why if dogs eat slugs it can be a serious issue if they get lungworm


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