Why Do Dogs Shake Their Heads? – 8 Plausible Reasons (Everything You Need To Know)

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Have you ever wondered why dogs shake their heads? You are not alone!!! When dogs shake their heads, it can be their way of expressing their state of discomfort or normal dog behavior. Effective communication and understanding behavior is all that you need to strengthen the bond with your canine. Often, dogs showcase warning signs to communicate with their human companion. Do dogs shake their heads to convey something to you? 

First and foremost, you need to observe your furball’s behavior to detect the underlying issue. Look out for your dog’s body gestures. Different body gestures have different meanings. Have you ever noticed your dog rolling on the grass? At times, dogs roll on the grass to enjoy their playtime while other times get relief from itching. Likewise, there can be numerous reasons why dogs shake their heads?

Are you concerned about your dog acting weird all of a sudden? Are you sure you are not missing out on some of the most critical signs of your dog’s poor health? You have to understand your dog’s language to understand him in a better manner. One of the most common medical reasons why dogs shake their heads is ear infections. To get rid of the discomfort caused by ear infections, dogs shake their heads.

If you are a dog owner, ensuring your dog’s good health should be on your priority list. Curious to know why dogs shake their heads and solutions? Read on.

7 Unbelievable Reasons Why Dogs Shake Their Head (Explained In Detail)

  • To energize after waking up.
  • Facing discomfort caused by health issues.
  • A repeated action after bathing.
  • A way to express themselves.
  • Stretching their body to get more warmth.
  • To clean themselves up. 
  • To get rid of annoying mites and parasites.

1. To Energize After Waking Up

Source: DogTime.

We humans like to stay a little longer in our beds. So, we hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. Come on, we all do that! However, our fur friends are way more energetic than us.

One of the most practical reasons why dogs shake their heads is normal dog behavior. There is nothing to worry about if the first thing your dog does after waking up shakes his head. 

2. Due To Serious Health Issues

Golden Retriever Dog Scratching
Source: Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine – Texas A&M University.

Do you take your dog to a vet for annual health checkups? Unfortunately, Most pet owners have been found guilty of not paying much attention to their dog’s health.

Sometimes, your dog might look healthy from the outside. However, you won’t know what is going on inside his body.

We all are so preoccupied with work that we don’t get enough time to look after our fur friends. Dogs violently shake their heads to get relief from the itching in their ears. Let’s dive into various ear infections in dogs.

Otitis Externa In Dogs

Source: Today’s Veterinary Practice.

One of the most common ear infections in dogs is Otitis Externa. As the name suggests, it affects the external ear canal of the dogs. This is one of the most painful reasons why dogs shake their heads. 

Some of the common signs and symptoms include

  • Redness of the skin.
  • Pinnae deformities.
  • Abnormal growth of tissue in the external canal can be seen.
  • Dogs shake their heads. 
  • Constant pain and discomfort in the ear.
  • Visible inflammation of the outer ear canal or ceruminous glands.
  • Scaly skin.

Treatment For Otitis Externa In Dogs

Dogs shake their heads to ease the pain caused by Otitis Externa. It would help if you immediately took your dog to a vet. According to experts, Topical Therapy is one of the most effective treatments for this ear disorder. 

3. Damage In Their Ears

We all know how much dogs love to play outdoors. Often dogs hurt themselves while doing so. So, dogs shake their heads when they have injured themselves during a fun activity. 

You might not be able to notice their internal injuries. So, it would be best if you observed their behavior. Dogs shake their heads to convey their pain to you. 

Treatment For Ear Injuries In Dogs

Dogs shake their heads as they are in extreme pain. First and foremost, you should clean the injured area with the help of a clean towel or sanitary towels. Don’t wait for the bleeding to stop. You have to make sure you visit a vet as soon as possible. 

Ear Vasculitis In Dogs

Source: Merck Veterinary Manual.

Another common medical reason why dogs shake their heads is Ear vasculitis. Vasculitis in the term ‘Ear Vasculitis’ refers to the skin-related diseases that occur due to swelling of the walls of the blood vessels. 

Many factors are responsible for ear vasculitis in dogs. Some of them are bacterial infections, parasitic infections, and immune-mediated diseases. 

Common Signs And Symptoms Of Ear Vasculitis In Dogs 

  • Bruises.
  • Suffering from aches.
  • Pain in Ears.
  • Dogs shake their heads to get relief from the pain.
  • Feverish.
  • The infection causes fatigue.
  • Weight loss.
  • Ulcers on the skin.
  • Swelling in limbs is also known as Edema.
  • Blackheads.
  • Visible purplish or reddish spots.

Treatment For Ear Vasculitis In Dogs

The treatment of Ear vasculitis depends entirely on the severity of the condition. Usually, doctors prescribe antibiotics or dietary changes to relieve painful symptoms.

For proper treatment, you should consult a vet and get your dog checked.

Ear Hematomas 

Source: PetCoach.

One of the most heart-wrenching reasons why dogs shake their heads is ear hematoma in dogs. 

Ear hematomas affect the ear flap or pinna of dogs. Dogs shake their heads due to the immense pain.

Our furball companions go through so much pain in this condition. We need to look out for the symptoms before it gets too late.

Common Signs And Symptoms Of Ear Hematomas In dogs Include 

  • Firm, soft or fluctuant inflammation.
  • Dogs shake their heads.
  • Deformities on the ear.
  • Discoloration.
  • Blood Blood-filled blisters.
  • Seizures.

Treatment For Ear Hematomas In Dogs 

Many people are curious to know if ear hematomas in dogs can heal without any proper treatment. Well, the answer depends upon the severity of the discomfort.

In some cases, when ear hematomas in dogs were left untreated, dogs recovered within weeks. However, dogs shake their heads to convey the discomfort to you. Don’t turn blind to the pain. 

Surgery is one of the most practical solutions for ear hematomas. However, it’s always better to consult a vet before taking any step forward.

4. A Repeated Action After Bathing

Source: Pet Blog UK.

We can’t deny the fact that most dogs are not fond of taking a bath. Somehow, we drag our squishy furballs into the bathroom. Giving a proper bath to your dog can be a tedious task. However, we all can’t take our eyes off them after they are all clean.

Dogs shake their heads after a nice bath to dry themselves. Most dog experts have noticed that dogs of different breeds shake their heads to dry their water-soaked coats. You can towel-dry them. However, many experts interpret that dogs shake their heads to make their bath time more enjoyable.

There is nothing serious if dogs shake their heads after bathing. However, things can turn serious when dogs frequently shake their heads. 

5. A Way To Express Themselves

Dogs shake their heads to create a bridge of communication. Many expert professionals in dog training have suggested that dogs shake their heads to ask for help. 

Unfortunately, dogs can’t express their pain in words like humans. So, body language and behavior patterns are two of the most essential aspects of understanding your adorable canine.

Sometimes, dogs shake their heads to ask for help from their human companion. Dogs are labeled as sturdy furry friends. However, it’s heartbreaking to witness your furry friend go through tough trials.

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you take time from your busy schedule to bond with your dog. Studies have suggested dogs experience anxiety when their owners ignore them. At times, dogs shake their heads to grab your attention.

Don’t get so engrossed in your smartphone that you forget to spend time with your most loyal best friend. A smiling face with four paws is the most adorable thing to witness.

Dogs shake their heads when they feel overenthusiastic about any fun activity. When dogs feel excited, they shake their heads and jump around you. However, it is advised to get your dog regularly checked by a vet.

6. Stretching Their Body To Get More Warmth

Source: Puppy Toob.

Dogs shake their heads after they get up to move. After a prolonged sitting or sleeping session, dogs stretch their body. Dogs shake their heads to warm up their bodies, especially in the winter season. 

Dogs shake their heads and stretch their bodies, similar to people performing yoga poses. Surprisingly, dogs shake their heads when they get bored. Suppose your dog stretches and shakes his head. Sit back and relax!!!

Dogs shake their heads to get warmth to maintain their body temperature in the winter season. Dogs tend to start shaking and shivering when it gets too cold. Most of the dogs can’t tolerate extreme weather. Some dog breeds which have thick fur coats can comparatively tolerate extreme weather.

7. To Clean Themselves Up

Dogs enjoy playing in the dirt. Dogs don’t worry about their fur coats getting all wet and dirty. However, one of the most common reasons dogs shakes their heads is to clean themselves up. After enjoying and playing for a long time in the park, your dog is most likely to shake his head rapidly. 

To get rid of the dust and dirt trapped in their thick fur coat and skin, dogs shake their heads. Dogs usually keep themselves and the area they sit in clean. 

8. To Get Rid Of Annoying Mites And Parasites

Source: DogTime.

Dogs are more prone to itching caused by the presence of fleas, parasites, and mites. One of the most painful reasons dogs shake their heads is to get some relief from the itching. 

There are different types of parasites found in dogs. Dogs shake their heads when they face problems caused by the parasites living on or inside their body. 

Internal Parasites In Dogs

  • Heartworms.

Intestinal Parasites In Dogs

internal parasites in dogs
Source: Today’s Veterinary Practice.
  • Ringworm.
  • Hookworm.
  • Tapeworm.
  • Whipworm.
  • Coccidia.
  • Giardia.
  • Spirochetes.

Dogs shake their heads or scratch due to the common annoying mites. The presence of mites on their fur coat leads to many skin-related diseases. Dogs shake their heads when they feel uncomfortable.

Many dogs get infected with parasites. Dogs shake their heads as an important indicator in detecting fleas, parasites, and mites.

Sometimes, mites reside in the ears of the dogs. ‘Mange’ is an irritable skin condition caused by the presence of mites in dogs. 

There are many treatments for the removal of mites. Using an anti-parasitic wash is one of the most simple methods to get rid of mites on your dog’s skin. 

Anti-parasitic products are easily available in all dog stores. However, it is advised to make sure you consult your vet before using any product on your canine. 

Wrapping Up

Having a dog by your side is the most blissful experience ever. We can’t express in words how loving and loyal our furry companions are. A dog won’t leave you when you are at your worst. The amount of selfless love a dog can shower upon you is incomparable as well as priceless. So, make sure you do the same for your dog. 

Don’t forget to check up on your dog’s health when he frequently starts shaking his head. As listed above in this article. There is a high possibility that your dog has encountered an ear infection or other health-related issues.

To ensure your dog is healthy and happy. We highly recommend you consult a vet. Also, make sure you pamper and spoil your dog with lots of scrumptious treats. 

We hope you got the answer to your question: Why do dogs shake their heads? Don’t forget to share all the intriguing reasons with your friends and family.

In case you know a couple of reasons why dogs shake their heads? Do share them with us in the comments section.

Feature image credits: Huntsville Veterinary Specialists & Emergency.


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