Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking His Head?

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Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking His Head?

Wondering why your dog keeps shaking their head? It’s a question many dog owners ask, and the answer is often more interesting than you’d think. From ear infections, which are a top reason, to other surprising causes, we’ve got the inside scoop.

Get ready to uncover the mysteries behind your furry friend’s head shaking habits. We’re about to embark on a journey of discovery, revealing not just the “whys” but also the best ways to help your dog.

Key Takeaways

  • Ear infections, allergies, earwax buildup, and water in the ears are common causes of head shaking in dogs.
  • Neurological disorders or an injury/foreign object in the ear can also lead to head shaking.
  • It’s important to consult with a veterinarian if your dog is shaking their head persistently or has other concerning symptoms.
  • Taking steps such as cleaning their ears regularly and addressing any underlying issues can help alleviate discomfort for your furry friend.

Common Reasons Why Your Dog Keeps Shaking Their Head

dog shaking head black and white photo

Ear infections (bacterial, yeast, or fungal)

Dogs shake their heads often due to ear infections. Allergies, ear mites or dirt can trap in their ears and cause these infections. Adult dogs may have yeast or bacterial infections most times.

Puppies might get more ear mite problems. Signs that your dog has an ear infection are head shaking, scratching a lot or black stuff coming out of the ears. You must take your dog to the vet if you see these signs.

The doctor may give medicine or clean the dog’s ears to help them feel better. They will also fix any allergies causing trouble for your pet’s health.

Allergies

Dogs get allergies just like people do. Allergies can make a dog’s ears itch. A dog with itchy ears might shake his head a lot. This is one way that allergies can cause head shaking in dogs.

There are different types of allergies that affect dogs. Some dogs have food allergies while others react to things in the air, like pollen or dust mites. These are called seasonal allergies because they change with the seasons.

Some signs of allergies can be hard to see, but not all of them are hidden. Canine otitis externa is an ear infection often caused by allergies. You may notice your dog shaking her head if she has this type of infection.

Blood-filled swellings, known as aural hematomas, can also show up on a dog’s ear flap due to severe itching from allergic reactions. Consistent scratching and head shaking could lead to these painful swellings.

If you see obvious signs of any allergy in your pet like loss hair and itchy skin along with the persistent head shaking, consider cleaning their ears for possible lodged particles causing discomfort or make an appointment with your vet right away.

Earwax buildup

Dogs have earwax, just like humans. Too much wax in your dog’s ears can block their ear canal and cause a lot of pain.

If you notice your dog is shaking his head quite often, this could be the reason why. A vet visit is required to get rid of the thick wax properly and safely to stop your dog from shaking its head due to discomfort in the ears.

Water in the ears

Water in the ears is a common cause of head shaking in dogs. After a bath or swim, water can get trapped in a dog’s ears, causing discomfort and prompting head shaking. It’s important to dry your dog’s ears thoroughly after they’ve been exposed to water.

This can be done by gently wiping the outer ear with a clean, dry cloth or using an ear-drying solution recommended by your veterinarian. By taking these precautions, you can help prevent water from getting stuck in their ears and avoid any unnecessary discomfort for your furry friend.

Neurological disorders

Neurological disorders can be a cause of head shaking in dogs. These disorders affect the nervous system and can lead to symptoms like tremors or shaking in your dog’s head. Seizures or conditions like Shaker Syndrome and Idiopathic Head Tremor Syndrome are examples of neurological disorders that may cause head shaking.

It’s important to consult with a veterinarian if you notice persistent or frequent head shaking in your dog, as they will be able to diagnose the specific disorder and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Ear injury or foreign object in the ear

If your dog keeps shaking their head, it could be due to an ear injury or a foreign object lodged in the ear. Dogs can injure their ears while playing or during fights with other animals. Sometimes, they may accidentally get something stuck in their ear like a small toy or plant material.

It’s important to address this issue promptly because an ear injury or foreign object can cause discomfort and lead to further complications. If you notice your dog shaking their head persistently, it’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian. They can examine your dog’s ear and determine if there is an injury or object present.

Attempting to remove the object yourself can be risky and potentially harm your dog’s delicate ear canal. A veterinarian has the experience and tools necessary for safe removal. They may also provide treatment for any resulting infection or inflammation.

dog shaking head outside

What to Do If Your Dog is Shaking Their Head

Consult with a veterinarian

If you notice that your dog keeps shaking their head, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian. They can help determine the underlying cause of the head shaking and provide appropriate treatment.

It’s especially crucial to seek veterinary advice if the head shaking is frequent, lasts for more than a day, or if your dog has red, swollen, and smelly ears. A veterinarian will be able to diagnose any potential ear infections or other serious conditions that may be causing your dog’s head shaking.

Steps to take at home

To help your dog if they are shaking their head, there are some steps you can take at home:

  1. Clean your dog’s ears: If an ear infection is detected, the veterinarian may provide you with specific ear cleaning instructions or recommend an appropriate cleaning solution. Gently clean your dog’s ears as instructed to help alleviate discomfort and prevent further infections.
  2. Prevent water in the ears: Place cotton balls in your dog’s ears before bathing or swimming to prevent water from entering the ear canal. Excess moisture can contribute to ear infections and discomfort.
  3. Address allergies: If allergies are suspected as the cause of head shaking, consult with your veterinarian for guidance on allergy management. They may recommend dietary changes, medication, or other interventions to help alleviate symptoms.
  4. Avoid self-medication: It’s crucial not to administer any medications meant for humans without veterinary supervision. Some medications can be toxic or ineffective for dogs.
  5. Monitor for seizures: If your dog’s head shaking is accompanied by seizure-like symptoms, such as loss of consciousness or convulsions, contact a veterinarian immediately for emergency care.

Maintaining good ear health for your dog

To keep your dog’s ears healthy, there are a few things you can do:

  • Clean their ears regularly: Regular ear cleaning is essential for preventing infections and excessive head shaking. Use a gentle ear cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian to remove dirt and wax buildup from the ear canal. Be careful not to insert anything into the ear canal, as it can cause damage.
  • Check for any signs of infection or irritation: Keep an eye out for redness, swelling, discharge, or a foul odor coming from your dog’s ears. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian as they could indicate an underlying problem that needs treatment.
  • Protect their ears during swimming: Water in the ears can lead to infections and irritation. Before your dog goes swimming, consider using an ear band or applying a drying solution specifically made for dogs’ ears. After swimming, gently dry their ears with a towel.
  • Avoid using cotton swabs: Using cotton swabs to clean your dog’s ears can push debris further into the ear canal and potentially cause damage. Stick to using a soft cloth or cotton ball to clean the outer part of their ears.
  • Monitor their behavior: Watch out for any changes in your dog’s behavior related to their ears. If they’re constantly scratching at their ears or shaking their head excessively, it could be a sign of discomfort or an underlying issue.
dog shaking water off

Conclusion

If your dog keeps shaking their head, it could be a sign of an ear infection, allergies, or even something more serious. It’s important to take notice and seek veterinary advice if necessary.

By understanding the common causes and taking steps to maintain good ear health for your dog, you can help keep your furry friend happy and comfortable.

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