Does Your Dog Shake His Head Often?

Does your dog shake his head often?

If a dog shakes its head frequently, it could be due to a number of factors,  from particular traits to any other condition or disease. When situations that are out of the ordinary are observed, it is time to seek the opinion of the veterinarian.

Smooth and harmonious movements: Normal

It’s normal for a dog to shake its head frequently, even a little forcefully, when its owners talk to them. This gesture indicates that they are paying attention to what is said.

dog with head tilted

Some races can turn their faces from side to side  (with some pauses, not continuous actions) between sentences. This may be their way of saying that they have not understood anything that is being said.

In other cases, it may be the other way around: they identify the words with gestures and respond.

There is nothing unusual about this. Owners often end up “melted” by the sweetness shown by their pets.

Frantic movements: you have to pay attention

If a dog shakes its head violently, an assessment is needed. Furthermore, if the condition is accompanied by other symptoms, such as scratching the ears with the paws, care is even more urgent.

The reasons why a dog shakes its head are many. In almost all cases, the problem is located in the ears or ears. Often, care is needed to urgently consult a veterinarian.

Possible causes

Wet ears after a shower

It’s not strange that dogs rock hard after a bath, trying to get the water out of their bodies. The same is true with the head.

To prevent water from entering the ear canals, you can put cotton plugs in them.  In any case, owners should always remember to dry the area as best as possible.

When the dog goes to the beach, this is an even more common situation.

A foreign object inside an ear

It doesn’t have to be very big. A small object is enough to generate the feeling of discomfort that causes the dog to shake its head.

You must be especially careful when there are children in the house and dogs that are very tolerant of them. There are dogs so docile that they let children insert small objects or food into their ears.


These annoying pests often choose the dog’s ear canals to install themselves. Insatiable bloodsuckers, in addition to being painful, ticks can transmit potentially deadly diseases to pets.


Extreme dryness inside the ears can cause itchiness to desperate levels in dogs.

Seborrhea can similarly generate the opposite effect: excess sebum.

The cocker spaniel, labrador, golden retriever, german shepherd and doberman breeds are the most affected.


If a dog shakes its head a lot, it can become the very cause of the problem. The hard blows of the ears against the skull leave some blood vessels damaged inside the ear. This will generate bruises, which in turn produce new problems, causing more head shake. This vicious cycle must be stopped immediately as soon as it is detected.

cutaneous vasculitis

The action of ticks can also cause this skin disease. In some cases, it affects ears and the inside of the ears.

The blood vessels in the pinna become inflamed and sores and crusts appear on the outer edges, causing a lot of pain.

Although all breeds are susceptible to this disease, sausage, collies and German shepherd, among others, are at greater risk.

Does your dog shake his head? Find out if it is otitis

Violent shaking of the head in dogs is a classic symptom of otitis. This infection of the hearing aid must be treated with extreme care. Negative effects on the eardrum can become irreversible. In some cases, the infection can spread to the brain, putting the animal’s life at risk.

German shepherd with head bowed

Some breeds are more likely to develop this disease, due to their own physical constitution.

Dogs with long, droopy ears that impede adequate oxygen circulation: basset hounds, beagles, cocker spaniels, bloodhounds and poodles are commonly affected by this disease.

dogs with a lot of fur

In addition to preventing the free passage of air to the ears, this also makes them prone to over-producing wax. In this category are: São Bernardo, Border Collie, Maltese, among others.

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