Head-Shaking in Dogs: Should You Be Worried? What you should Know About Canine Head-Shaking

Head-Shaking in Dogs: Should You Be Worried?

Dogs shake their heads for several reasons, and the particular cause varies depending on the environment, frequency, and accompanying symptoms. The causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of head-shaking in canines are examined in this article.

The repeated and violent movement of the head from side to side or up and down in dogs is referred to as head shaking. It might be a natural behavior or an indication of an underlying problem or discomfort. 

We will consider in this article the causes of healing in dogs, symptoms, treatment, and prevention tips.


Some of the causes of dog head tilt and shaking are:

  • Normal behavior: Occasional head shaking in the absence of additional troubling symptoms is usually not cause for alarm in canines.  Dogs may shake their heads to ease itching, remove water from their ears after swimming, or clear dirt from their fur.

  • Ear issues: Frequent or chronic head-shaking accompanied by ear itching, redness, discharge, or a foul odor may suggest an ear infection, ear mites, or other ear-related difficulties. Seek the advice of a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

  • Allergy: Allergies to food or the environment can cause itching and redness of the skin in dogs. To soothe this allergy and irritability in dogs, they may shake their head vigorously or continuously.

  • Foreign Objects: the presence of foreign Objects, such as a splinter or grass seed may be caught in the ear canal of a dog, thereby causing it to shake its head erratically as well as show signs of anxiety.

  • Neurological Condition: Head shaking may, in rare instances, be an indication of neurological conditions, including vestibular sickness.

Symptoms of Canine Head Shaking 

Here are some frequent symptoms associated if your dog shaking its head a lot:

  • Vigorous head movement: Dogs may vigorously move their heads from side to side or up and down. It might be a continuous motion or sporadic shaking.

  • Scratching or Pawing at the Ears: Dogs who are uncomfortable or irritated in their ears may scratch or paw at them in addition to shaking their heads.

  • Redness or swelling: If your dog has an infection or inflammation in the ears, you may notice redness, swelling, or discomfort around the ear canal or inside the ear.

  • Discharge: There may be discharge from the ears in situations of ear infections or other ear-related disorders. The discharge may be wax-like, pus-like, or stink.

  • Foul Odor: A foul odor originating from the ears may suggest an infection or other condition.

  • Behavioral Changes: If your dog's head shaking is caused by an underlying illness, such as an ear infection or allergies, you may notice changes in his behavior, such as increased agitation, impatience, or a decrease in appetite.

  • Other Symptoms: More symptoms may be present. These can include skin redness, itching, hair loss, sneezing, coughing, imbalance, odd eye movements, or indicators of discomfort.

How To Get My Dog To Stop Shaking His Head

Here are some popular treatments if your dog keeps shaking its head:

  • Ear Infections: If your veterinarian suspects an ear infection, ear drops or drugs to treat the illness may be prescribed. Cleaning the ears may be required in some instances. 

  • Ear Mites: Ear mite infestations can be treated with mite-specific drugs or topical therapies. This should be based on advice from your veterinarian on the best treatment plan and how to clean your dog’s ears.

  • Allergies: If allergies are causing the dog’s head to shake, your veterinarian may offer allergy testing to determine which allergens are causing the symptoms. Long-term treatment may include avoiding the allergen, dietary modifications, drugs (such as antihistamines or steroids), or immunotherapy (allergy injections).

  • Foreign Objects: If a foreign object is causing head shaking, your veterinarian will need to examine it and securely remove it. 

  • Dental issues: Dental disorders, such as tooth abscesses or gum disease, can induce trembling. Your veterinarian may recommend a dental cleaning, extraction of damaged teeth, or other dental operations to alleviate or stop the head-shaking.

  • Neurological Disorders: If your pet's head shaking is caused by a neurological problem, such as vestibular disorder, your veterinarian will decide the best treatment option based on the underlying cause. 

Prevention Tips

Here are some precautions you may take to lessen the likelihood or severity of head-shaking in dogs:

  • Regular Ear Cleaning: As part of your dog's grooming practice, clean their ears regularly, especially if they are prone to wax accumulation or have floppy ears. Use a veterinarian-approved ear cleaner and follow the manufacturer's directions. Cotton swabs should be avoided because they might push material deeper into the ear canal.

  • Prevent Water Accumulation: Thoroughly dry your dog's ears after swimming or bathing to avoid moisture accumulation, which can contribute to ear infections. Dry the outer ear carefully with a cloth or use a pet-specific ear-drying solution or wipes.

  • Management Allergens: If your dog suffers from allergies, work with your pet doctor to determine and control the allergens that cause their symptoms. It may entail avoiding specific meals, avoiding allergens in the environment, or utilizing hypoallergenic bedding and cleaning supplies.

  • Routine Medical check-ups: Schedule frequent checkups with your veterinarian to monitor your dog's overall health, including the condition of its ears. Regular exams can aid in the early detection and treatment of any abnormalities that could be developing.

  • Dental Care: Keep your dog's teeth clean by brushing them frequently or by giving them dental chews and toys that encourage excellent oral hygiene. Routine dental cleanings and checkups may help avoid dental issues that could cause head shaking.

  • Avoid exposure to irritants: Limit your dog's exposure to possible irritants such as chemicals, powerful scents, cigarette smoke, and other airborne contaminants. It may worsen allergies or respiratory disorders that are already present.

  • Safety precautions: Ensure your dog's surroundings are secure and devoid of anything that can endanger them. Check their toys, outdoor spaces, and living quarters frequently to eliminate any potentially harmful items or things.

Keep in mind that every dog is different, and the preventative strategies may change based on their particular requirements and underlying medical issues. An individual preventative care plan for your dog may be created with the assistance of your veterinarian.

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