why do dogs shake their head

Why Do Dogs Shake Their Heads? Dogs are very expressive and with different gestures they express their feelings and shaking heads is one of them. Most pet owners are confused regarding this behavior of furry friends. But don’t worry head shaking is usually normal but excess of everything is bad. But don’t worry you are at the right place because after reading articles on the internet I was not quite satisfied so I decided to share my years of experience through this blog post.

Reasons: Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking His Head?

Why Do Dogs Shake Their Heads

Dogs shake their heads for different reasons, and every time it’s not something serious. When dogs wake up they shake their head it’s just like us we stretch after sleep. Dogs also do this while playing with a toy or do a full-body shake if they are wet from a bath or swimming.  But if your dog is frequently shaking its head, this can be due to these reasons

  • Ear Irritation or Infection
  • Allergies and Sensitivities
  • Presence of Foreign Objects
  • Behavioral Expression
  • Ear Mites
  • Dental issues
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Water Residue
  • Excessive Wax Buildup

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Why Do Dogs Shake Their Heads

Here is a detailed explanation about head shaking in dogs

1. Ear Irritation or Infection

One of the most common reasons for head shaking in dogs is ear irritation or infection. Mostly bacteria and yeast ( wax and moisture) in the ear canal can cause irritation or infection. This issue is most common in dogs and causes irritation and discomfort so they start shaking their head for relief. So, it’s suggested to consult with a vet and use ear drops.


After checking your vet will prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medication depending on the type of infection. Cleaning the ears may also be necessary.

2. Allergies and Sensitivities

Dogs shaking head because of allergy treatment

Like humans, dogs can experience allergies and sensitivities to various environmental factors. Pollen, dust mites, or certain foods can cause itchiness and irritation, especially in the ears. Look for the things your dog is allergic to and minimize exposure to those. This will help to release discomfort and your furry friend will stop shaking head.


Identifying and avoiding allergic things is the best long-term solution.  Consult your vet and he will recommend allergy medications.

3. Presence of Foreign Objects

Dogs love to explore their surroundings, and sometimes small foreign objects like grass seeds can enter into the ear canal. This can irritate, so dogs shake their head to get that thing out. But if you are sure about the presence of any foreign object in your dog’s ear, seek professional assistance to safely remove it.

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A vet will need to remove the foreign object carefully.  Don’t try to do that at home as it can cause more harm.

4. Behavioral Expression

treatment for dog shaking head

Sometimes, dogs can shake their heads in excitement, happiness, or even frustration. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and try to understand its emotions. If you will be able to do so this will strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend, pet, or dog.

5. Ear Mites

Ear mites can cause irritation and itchiness in dogs’ ears. These mites are common in puppies and adult dogs are less likely to be affected by this. The cause of these common mites is when the dog is in direct contact with other dogs. These parasites can cause pain and discomfort in dogs.


Your vet will prescribe medication to eliminate the mites and can clean the ears.

6. Water Drops

After a swim or bath, water can trapped in a dog’s ears, causing discomfort. Dogs shake their heads to expel the water drops out of their ear.  It is recommended that you always make your dog dry after water-related activities to prevent it from any discomfort.

7. Excessive Wax Buildup

A buildup of wax in a dog’s ears can lead to irritation and itchiness. That’s why it is necessary to take care of the hygiene of your dog.  Never try to clean dog ears on your own if you don’t know how to do that. Always visit the Vet for proper cleaning and regular checkups.

8. Dental Issues

 why does my dog keep shaking her head at night

Sometimes, dogs may experience discomfort and pain due to dental problems, causing them to shake their heads. It’s their way of letting us know or telling us that something isn’t quite right or something is irritating them.


Your vet will do teeth cleaning, extractions, or other dental procedures.

9. Neurological Disorders

In rare cases, neurological issues can lead to abnormal head movements.


Diagnosis and treatment will depend on the type of disorder and should be determined by a veterinarian after doing tests they may prescribe medicine

In short, it’s normal in dogs if they shake their head but if they do it more frequently then it can indicate issues like these. Remember, it’s recommended to consult a vet for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. We have tried to cover every aspect of  Why Do Dogs Shake Their Heads? and will look for more and add that in the next update. How was the article or do you have any questions let us know in the comment section below.

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FAQs: Why Do Dogs Shake Their Heads?

dog keeps shaking head but ears are clean

Still not satisfied? Here are some frequently asked questions

Can head shaking indicate a severe health issue?

Occasional head shaking is normal, but if it’s frequent consulting a veterinarian is advisable because this can indicate a health issue that requires attention.

How can I clean my dog’s ears safely?

Cleaning a dog’s ears must be done carefully to avoid injury. Use your vet-recommended ear-cleaning solution and a cotton ball or pad. Gently wipe the visible parts of the ear, but avoid putting anything in the ear canal.

Should I be concerned if my dog shakes its head after swimming?

It’s common for dogs to shake their heads after water activities to remove excess moisture. However, if this behavior is frequent always consult to vet for any potential issues.

What can I do to prevent ear irritation in my dog?

Regularly inspect your dog’s ears for signs of redness, swelling, or unusual odor. Keep the ears clean and dry, especially after water-related activities. If you notice any abnormalities visit the doctor or vet.

Can allergies be a cause of head shaking in dogs?

Yes, allergies can cause itchiness and irritation in a dog’s ears, and because of that dogs shake their heads.

How can I tell if my dog’s head shaking is due to discomfort or behavioral expression?

If the dog is shaking its head and pawing at the ears, it’s likely due to discomfort. But If it’s due to excitement or playfulness this behavior is normal

By Inhamullah Khan Jadoon

Hello I am Inham, a proud pet owner, passionate pet lover, and dedicated pet enthusiast. With years of personal experience in the world of pets, I'm thrilled to share my insights and knowledge with you.

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