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Why do dogs shake their heads?

Updated on July 12, 2013

Foreign objects

A dog would shake its head if foreign objects are lodged on its ears. Dogs are naturally energetic and boisterous animals. Low lying thorny bushes, thick vegetation and swampy areas would not stop a hunting dog from trailing a prey. Grass seeds, burrs, grit and many other foreign objects can get lodged on the dog's ears. Dogs do not have the hands to remove these irritating foreign objects. The only way to dislodge these irritants is to vigorously shake the head.

Parasites

Fleas and ear mites causes the dog extreme itch and discomfort. A sleeping dog would suddenly feel fleas crawling on its head, face and ears. The dog would shake the head in an attempt to eliminate the fleas. Ear mites are tiny parasites that that look like black dirt. They can be seen using a microscope. These parasites live inside the ear of the dog and when they crawl the dog would feel much discomfort. The dog would shake it’s and may even use the paws trying to remove these parasites. There are even cases when the ears would bleed because the dog would intensely shake and scratch the ears.

Ear infection

Ear infection is a pretty serious condition as it can cause permanent damage if left untreated. Similar to parasite infestation the dog would feel extremely uncomfortable. An ear infection would cause the dog pain. Unlike ear mites, the ear of the dog may not have black dirt. An infected ear though would be very noticeable because it has a foul odor. The dog may also tilt its head favoring the infected ear. An ear infection must be dealt at once as too much head shaking can cause Aural Hematomas.

Other causes

The dogs head shaking behavior can stem from a medical condition. The dog may have epileptic seizures or the dog may be suffering from mange or distemper. Head shaking can also be a sign of an immune system disease.

How to help the dog

Once you see your pet shaking its head inspect the ear at once. A foreign object lodged on the ear can be easily removed. Parasites can be dealt with easily too. You only need to get a flea collar for your dog. A lot of over the counter medications would solve this problem. A regular grooming routine should include ear cleaning. This will eliminate the possible development of ear infection.

When a dog shakes it head it is apparent that the dog is in pain or extremely uncomfortable. This warrants medical attention. Consult a vet as soon as possible. Any ear trouble that is left untreated can lead to more serious problems that may cause the dog to lose its ability to hear.

Shaking her head

dog shaking

head shaking technique

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