Has your dog been shaking their head lately? Is this a cause for concern? Should you do something about it if you notice this behavior in your dog, or should you just wait and see what’s going on?
Head shaking typically indicates some type of problem for a dog. However, the severity of the problem can vary significantly, so it’s important to look for other signs and symptoms when trying to figure out what’s going on. The best course of action is to take your pet to the veterinarian to be checked out and diagnosed professionally, of course, so keep this in mind as you work to determine why your dog is shaking their head.
In the article below, you’ll find a quick list of some of the most common causes of head shaking behavior in dogs. You can use this information to choose when to see a vet. Read on to find out more.
Mild Causes of Dog Head Shaking
If your dog is shaking their head for any of these reasons, it is not a cause for concern.
Water in the Ear
If your dog gets water in their ear, they will likely shake their head to get it out. If you’ve ever accidentally gotten water in your ear while showering and tried to remove it by shaking your head, this is the same idea! If water does not remain inside the ear, your dog will be fine after shaking their head a few times.
Allergies may cause congestion and stuffiness of the ear. Your dog may shake their head frequently to try to alleviate some of the pressure and stuffy sensations associated with this problem. They may need allergy medication in more serious situations, but typically, this problem will resolve itself.
If your dog’s ear is itching, they will probably paw at it or try shaking their head to alleviate the itchiness. This is normal, and if the behavior stops after a couple of shakes, it is probably nothing to worry about. If it continues, however, talk to your vet.
Normal Dog Behavior
Finally, it is possible that your dog is simply shaking their head because this is part of normal dog behavior. Many dogs do this when they first wake up after a long nap, and if your dog does so, you don’t have to worry about it.
Moderate Causes of Dog Head Shaking
If your dog is shaking their head for any of the following reasons it is important to talk with your veterinarian.
Ear infection is the most common cause of frequent head shaking in dogs. If your dog has a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of the ear, they will likely shake their head often to try to get rid of the pressure building up from the infection. Your dog will need antibiotics and ear drops to recover from this condition.
Object in the Ear
Dogs may sometimes get objects stuck in their ears. If you look into your dog’s ear and can clearly see and reach the object, you may be able to remove it yourself. However, if you can’t see it all or you can’t reach it easily, take them to the vet to have the object removed instead.
Mites in the Ear
Mites in the ear are common in dogs who do not get groomed frequently enough, as well as dogs who spend a lot of time outside. If you look into your dog’s ear and see small black or brown specks, this is a sign that they have mites. Your dog will need medicated ear drops to treat this problem.
Severe Causes of Dog Head Shaking
If you suspect your dog is shaking their head due to any of these reasons, be sure to talk with your veterinarian.
Tumor in the Ear
Although uncommon, it is possible that dogs may sometimes develop tumors in the ear canal. These tumors may cause head shaking as well as pawing at the ear to try to relieve pain and discomfort.
Hyperthyroidism can cause a variety of symptoms, including head shaking. This condition typically presents itself in other ways before the head shaking occurs, however, so look for other signs if you think your dog may have hyperthyroidism.
It is possible that your dog could be shaking their head due to a brain tumor. However, this issue typically causes more of a permanent head tilt than a shaking behavior. Head tremors, on the other hand, may indicate a brain tumor. Always have your pet examined by the vet if you suspect a brain tumor.
Call Birch Lake Animal Hospital for Dog Head Shaking
Based on this information, you can easily see why head shaking is such a complicated symptom in dogs. Many dogs shake their heads for a variety of reasons, and it’s up to you and your vet to work together to determine why your dog may be doing this.
If you suspect your dog has some underlying health problem contributing to head shaking, contact Birch Lake Animal Hospital by calling (651) 426-2246 or booking an appointment online. This symptom typically does not indicate an emergency, but a trip to the regular vet can make a difference.
About Birch Lake Animal Hospital
The staff at Birch Lake Animal Hospital seeks to provide the best possible medical care for our highly-valued patients and clients.