Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking His Head

It’s pretty normal for a dog to shake his head once in a while but if he is doing it consistently, it may be something that you should pay attention to.

Persistently shaking his head could be an indication that your dog is not feeling well and in pain.

You need to find out what is causing him so much discomfort. And, it might very well be that you will have to seek help from a vet if it is related to some medical issues.

When your dog keeps shaking his head, he could be suffering from an allergic reaction, having an ear infection or there are irritants trapped in his ears. Excessive earwax buildup in his ear or medical issues such as brain tumors, epilepsy or other neurological disorders can also lead to his shaking action.

Allergic Reaction

When your dog is having an allergic reaction, you may find him constantly shaking his head as he tries to relieve the discomfort. 

Allergies are caused by the immune system overreacting to certain substances. 

These substances are called antigens, and can be pollen, dust, mold, insects, food, or chemicals.

The first thing that you should do if you suspect your dog is suffering from an allergic reaction is to do a visual inspection on his coat, face and ears for any allergic itchy, red or rash-like areas. 

The next sign to look out for will be persistent sneezing and a runny or itchy nose along with red eyes.

If the allergy is really bad, his tongue might also get swollen. 

If you find any of these signs, it’s best to take your furry friend to see a vet immediately.  

You should also work on identifying what is triggering your dog’s allergy and remove all possible allergens from his environment.

If his allergy is the result of pollen or dust, you can use an air purifier in your home to help reduce the amount of airborne particles he is exposed to. 

If he is allergic to fleas or ticks, you should shampoo the carpets once a month and vacuum them more often than usual. Also, give your dog a flea bath every month and make him wear a flea collar.

Another possibility is that your dog has food allergies. Many dogs are allergic to chicken, beef, wheat and dairy products.

It is very important to know what your dog is allergic to, because you will need to eliminate those foods from his diet.

If he is allergic to chemicals, you should make sure there are no chemical scented products such as perfumes in your home. 

Also, check with your vet if he is having an allergic reaction to some medications, especially over-the-counter drugs.

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Ear Infection

If your dog has skin problems, he is much more likely to get an ear infection. 

There are many causes of ear infection in dogs. The most common cause is a yeast (fungus) infection.

A yeast infection in dogs is caused by a type of fungus called “Candida Albicans”. 

This particular type of fungus typically lives on the skin of most dogs and causes no harm. 

BUT, when their immune system is weakened, as it is in pets with skin problems such as eczema, the yeast will start to multiply and invade the tissues.

Soon, it will cause very uncomfortable symptoms like excessive itching, redness, swelling and even painful sores around your dog’s skin, ears or paws.

Your dog will then keep shaking his head and scratching his body in an attempt to relieve his discomfort. 

You will also find one or both of his ears will be red, swollen and hot to the touch along with some discharge from his ear. 

In severe cases, he might have a fever. This is because his body is trying to fight off the infection.

In this case, you should bring your dog to see a vet asap. Don’t try to treat the infection yourself. It could be very serious and may danger your pet.

Give your vet a full description of your dog’s symptoms that you are aware of.

Your vet will likely put your dog on an antibiotic injection and possibly perform other further tests.

Irritant in His Ear

There are some irritants trapped in your dog’s ear, and he is attempting to get them out through shaking his head. This is often the case when there are grass seeds, small insects or water trapped in his ear canal.

This “shaking” action often works well, but at times, if a particular irritant is stuck deep in his ear, this action might not be effective at getting rid of the irritant.

You will then have to use a tweezer to remove the irritant. Do this with care because you do not want to frighten your dog by pulling things out of his ears.

After you remove the irritant, wipe the area with an alcohol swab. This will sterilize the area and prevent infection.

You should also do a routine check on his ear canal for debris or anything that may have gotten stuck in there. 

It’s a good idea to do a check at least once a month. You can do this by running your fingers around the inside of his ear canal. 

If you find anything, you should remove it using the same technique described above.

As a preventive measure, try keeping your dog away from any grass or particles that could potentially get stuck in his ear. This will prevent any future irritation. 

Also, make sure that you dry up his ear canal whenever he has a swim. This is especially important as the water that gets trapped in his ear could cause an infection.

Excessive Earwax

Wax buildup is very common in dogs and that can cause great discomfort for them. 

Unlike humans, where we can use cleansers or other products to remove the excessive wax, it is virtually impossible for dogs to perform this action by himself besides shaking his head as an attempt to get the wax off his ears.

What you can do is to apply a few drops of vet approved ear cleaning solution to your dog’s ear and massage gently. 

Continue this procedure until the wax becomes loosened and remove it using a tweezer.

Do this with care to avoid any injury to your dog’s ear canal. 

When the wax is fully removed, use a cotton swab to wipe away any excess cleaning solution from the ear canal.

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Medical Problem

If you find your dog keeps shaking his head for no obvious reason, it could be a symptom of a more serious medical problem. 

It could be a sign of a brain tumor, epilepsy or other neurological disorder. Your vet will have to examine your dog to determine the cause of the shaking.

A healthy dog with no signs of medical problems will usually shake his head back and forth after grooming for only about 10-seconds, but if your dog has a neurological disorder, you will find him continuing shaking his head.

It is important to get this checked out as soon as possible. Don’t put off going to the vet because your dog may already be suffering from a condition that can only be treated with surgery or medicine.

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