Dog keeps shaking head

My dog keeps shaking his head: What should I do?

Dogs are wonderful companions, but they can also be prone to health issues just like humans. One of the common problems that many dog owners face is when their dog keeps shaking its head. This can be alarming and indicate an underlying issue that needs attention. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why dogs shake their heads, what you should do if your dog keeps shaking its head, and when to seek veterinary help.

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5 Reasons Why Dogs Shake Their Heads

Dogs shake their heads for various reasons, and it is essential to understand the underlying cause to provide proper treatment. Here are 5 reasons why dogs shake their heads:

Ear Infections

Ear infections are the most common reason why dogs shake their heads. Ear infections can be caused by bacteria, yeast, or ear mites. The infection can cause itching, irritation, and pain in the ears, leading to the dog shaking its head to alleviate the discomfort.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in the ear canal and can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to head shaking. Ear mites are more common in outdoor dogs or dogs that come into contact with other infected animals.


Dogs can also suffer from allergies that cause itching and irritation, leading to head shaking and scratching. Allergies can be caused by food, pollen, dust mites, or other environmental factors.

Foreign Objects

Dogs may sometimes get foreign objects, such as grass seeds or small insects, in their ears, which can cause irritation and lead to head shaking. It is essential to remove any foreign objects in the ear canal to prevent further damage.


If your dog is experiencing pain or discomfort in their head or ears, they may shake their heads to try and alleviate the pain. Pain can be caused by a wide range of factors, such as injury, infection, or a foreign object.

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What Should You Do If Your Dog Keeps Shaking His Head?

If you notice that your dog keeps shaking its head, there are a few things you can do:

  • Check Their Ears: Inspect your dog’s ears for signs of redness, discharge, or a foul odor. If you notice any of these signs, your dog may have an ear infection and require veterinary attention.
  • Check for Foreign Objects: If you suspect that your dog may have a foreign object in their ear, avoid trying to remove it yourself. This can be dangerous and cause further damage to the ear. Instead, take your dog to the veterinarian for proper removal.
  • Examine for Skin Irritations: If your dog has skin irritations, such as hot spots or a rash, it may be a sign of an underlying allergy. Speak to your veterinarian for advice on how to manage your dog’s allergies.
  • Observe their behavior: If your dog continues to shake their head and shows signs of discomfort, it may be time to seek veterinary attention. Your veterinarian can diagnose and treat any underlying health issues that may be causing your dog’s head shaking.

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When Should I Seek Veterinary Help?

If your dog keeps shaking its head and exhibits the following symptoms, it is important to seek veterinary attention:

  • Bleeding or discharge from the ears
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Change in behavior or appetite
  • Swelling or redness around the ears
  • Pain or discomfort when touching the ears
  • Persistent head shaking for more than a few days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ear infections in dogs be prevented?

Yes, regular ear cleaning and maintenance can help prevent ear infections in dogs.

Can I use over-the-counter ear drops for my dog’s ear infection?

No, it is essential to seek veterinary attention for your dog’s ear infection. Over-the-counter ear drops can cause further damage to the ear.

What are some common signs of allergies in dogs?

Some common signs of allergies in dogs include itching, redness or swelling of the skin, hair loss, ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, and sneezing.

Can foreign objects in a dog’s ear cause permanent damage?

Yes, foreign objects in a dog’s ear can cause permanent damage if not removed properly. It is essential to seek veterinary attention for proper removal.

Can head shaking in dogs be a sign of a more serious health issue?

Yes, when your dog keeps shaking his head, it can be a sign of a more serious health issue, such as a brain tumor or neurological disorder. It is important to seek veterinary attention if your dog continues to shake their head despite treatment for other common causes.

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