Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking His Head?

Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking His Head?

If a dog’s head shakes every once and a while, it’s completely natural. Dogs shake their heads to drive germs out of their ears.

Is this the only reason? Of course not. We will discuss various other reasons and in what instance you should be concerned about the health and well-being of your dog.

Reasons Why Your Dogs Keep Shaking Their Heads

Ear Infections

The most common cause of abnormal head shaking in dogs is ear inflammation, called otitis media. This is caused by water being trapped behind the eardrum. This can then cause the eardrum to swell. 

If your dog shakes it’s head without ear infections or other visible abnormalities, allergies may be to blame. Unfortunately a dog that shakes its head violently for prolonged periods can damage the ear. 

If this happens, they can cause severe irritation and inflammation, causing the dog to shake it’s head and show other signs of discomfort. The ears can also be damaged by the force of hitting the dog’s head and neck, causing scabs and ulcers in the ears. 


Another cause of head shaking in dogs is allergies. Dietary ingredients or environmental stimuli can cause allergic reactions in dogs.

Itchy skin, hair damage, repeated skin, and ear infections, rubbing the ears, head shaking, foot chewing, and facial rubbing are all common allergy symptoms in dogs.

Ears Filled with Water

Before showering or swimming, place cotton balls (or half a cotton swab for small dogs) in the dog’s ears to minimize head bobbing caused by water entering into the ears. During a bath, avoid sprinkling or splashing water directly on your dog’s head.

Instead, give him a bath from the neck down and a wet washcloth to clean down his cheeks and ears. If your dog can’t handle cotton balls in its ears while swimming, try an ear band or a post-swim cleansing with a drying solution. Depending on your dog’s specific requirements, your veterinarian can offer a safe and efficient medication.

When to Worry?

Ear Vasculitis

Ear vasculitis, or swelling of the blood vessel walls in the ear folds, causes a potentially serious skin problem on your dog’s ear flaps. Ear vasculitis is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Ear patches that are red or purple
  • The skin is irritated
  • Cysts that contain liquid
  • Loss of hair
  • Itchy and painful skin on the afflicted area

From over half of all documented cases of ear vasculitis, the cause is undetermined. But, in other circumstances, this affected skin condition can be caused by an aberrant immune system reaction. If your dog shows symptoms of ear vasculitis, see your veterinarian soon once for a diagnosis and treatment.

Haematomas in the Ears

When a pool of blood forms between the skin and cartilage of a dog’s ear fold, it causes discoloration, inflammation, bleeding, and suffering. Self-trauma, such as extremely forceful scratching or head shaking as a response to an underlying medical problem, besides an ear issue or skin issue, is the most common cause of hematomas.

Treatments vary from using a needle to empty the hematoma to surgical repair. It’s critical to treat the hematoma right away to avoid infection and further damage. As well as to figure out what’s causing the itching and shaking in the first place.

 A bacterial infection or itchy skin condition is almost always present. While ear hematomas aren’t easily avoided, the risk of this consequence can be reduced. This canbe done by preventing or successfully addressing the underlying conditions that cause head shaking.

Ear Canal Tumors or Polyps

Pets with ear canal tumors often shake their heads, which is a typical clinical symptom. Ear itching is frequently associated with prolonged strong-smelling ear secretion, an irritated, sensitive, and painful ear.

Losing of balance and coordination, spinning, head wobbling, facial immobility, hearing problems, eye flashing to fro (nystagmus), and other neurological side effects may occur: If the growth originates in the center or internal part of the ear.

How To Deal With This Situation?

A dog must be given a single carbohydrate (such as rice or potato) and a single source of protein (such as duck or venison) that’s never been offered to the dog earlier or has been hydrolyzed to determine any food sensitivity (broken down into tiny, non-allergenic pieces).

The dog can only eat this food for about a month or two. If the symptoms disappear or significantly improve, food intolerance is more plausible.

It’s important to take your dog to the vet if it continues shaking its head and clawing at its ears, or if its ears are red and irritated. 

Early diagnosis of the reason for your dog’s head shaking can allow your veterinarian to address the problem before it worsens.

Importance of Early Diagnosis

The need for timely veterinary diagnosis and treatment for dogs with persistent head shaking cannot be emphasized. The majority of the disorders listed above might cause your dog pain and distress.

Not only can appropriate veterinary care alleviate discomfort and irritation, but it also has the potential to avoid more serious medical issues.

It is critical to determine the cause of head shaking in dogs as soon as possible so that proper therapy can be administered.

It’s critical to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible and it could be a warning indication of something more dangerous. Constant forceful head shaking can also cause blood vessels in the ear flap to rupture, resulting in auditory hematomas. This ailment frequently necessitates surgery.

Is There a Difference Between a Shake-off and a Head Shake?

Shake-off is something that some dogs perform in addition to a fast head shake.

If dogs shake their entire body as well as their heads, it might be associated with a “shake off,” which is a method that dogs perform to “refresh” after any uncomfortable or stressful experience.

This happens frequently when one dog meets another dog, as well as in other challenging situations. When two dogs meet, the first meeting can be uncomfortable to them, and then after the usual sniffing, you’ll frequently observe both dogs shake not only their heads but their entire bodies.


Ear infections must not be managed at home without first consulting a veterinarian. If the dog’s ears are clogged with debris, your physician should perform a deep cleaning of the canals while the dog is medicated.

Now that you have learned everything about your dog’s head shake, you can decide if the situation is under control or needs immediate medical attention.

About the author

Johnny is dedicated to providing useful information on commonly asked questions on the internet. He is thankful for your support ♥

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