Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking His Head? (6 Possible Reason)

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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All dogs shake their heads from time to time. They do this to find relief. More often than not, it’s due to a minor irritation that they can fix with a few shakes of the head. However, sometimes there is a more serious reason. Below are some reasons your pup may be shaking his head. 

1. Something Is Trapped

Often, dogs will shake their heads simply because they have something trapped in their ears. This could be any number of things. Commonly it’s grass, dust, or a bug. Shaking their head will usually allow them to dislodge the object. Sometimes they may need your help, so always check their ears if they are doing the headshake. 

If the dog has been swimming or just had a bath, the culprit is likely water. It’s a good idea to check your dogs’ ears after they’ve been outside. Also, dry them if they’ve been in water. 

2. Bacterial Infection

If your dog is constantly shaking his head, a bacterial infection may be the reason. There can be itchiness, swelling, and discharge. Be sure to check your pup’s ears for these signs. This can be remedied with a trip to the vet. They will prescribe some medication and your friend will quickly be on the mend. 

3. Allergies

Just like us humans, dogs can suffer from allergies. This can cause them to shake their heads. They could have an adverse reaction to food ingredients, pollen, mold, or dust. Usually, in the case of allergies, other symptoms may occur. 

Itching of the skin, hair loss, chewing of feet, and rubbing their face are all signs Rover may be having a reaction. To determine if it’s an allergy, a vet will need to run tests, including bloodwork. 

4. Ear Mites

These microscopic pests are sometimes the reason for your precious pup shaking his head. Though less common than allergies and infection, these little varmints can put your poor pet in peril. Your dog will frequently shake his head to find relief from the swelling, itching, and discharge that ear mites bring.

In addition to swelling and discharge, you will notice what looks like specs of dirt in the ear. You will need to visit the doggy doctor so they can flush out Rover’s ears. They will also prescribe some medication and flea treatment. 

5. Ear Polyps

A less common cause of head shaking in dogs is ear polyps. Ear polyps are found both on the outer and inner parts of the ear. Common polyps are caused by allergies(scratching) or by the overproduction of wax from glands in the ear. 

More serious polyps are from carcinoma (cancer). If you notice any lumps or bumps on your dog, take them to the vet right away. 

The quicker they can diagnose the polyp the better. If it’s a common polyp, often medicine or a few zaps from a laser will take care of it. If it’s more serious, the quicker the treatment, the quicker the recovery. 

6. Aural Hematoma

Sounds scary! Basically, it’s a blood blister. These blisters will develop in the ear flap between the skin and cartilage. It’s very common in our floppy-eared friends. hematoma occurs when there is a trauma or injury to the ear. Blood vessels break and leak, causing blood-filled swelling. 

The injury could be anything from excessive scratching to getting bit by another pet. This, of course, bothers the dog, so he will vigorously shake his head. Treatment of the blister must be done by a vet. 

They will usually drain the blister. However, surgery will be needed if the mass is large. Either way, the treatment is relatively simple and recovery time is quick. 

These are the most common reasons your dog shakes his head. It could be nothing more than a bug or a blade of grass.

However, it may be more serious. Always be sure to check your furry friends’ ears. When in doubt, visit your vet.

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.