Most of us have seen our dogs shake their head vigorously when we bathe them, or they have just rolled on the grass or sand and come back. Dogs shake their heads mainly to remove any foreign object like grass, water, insects etc. from their ear canal. But if there is incessant shaking of the head then you might want to have a quick look to check what’s wrong and do a quick vet visit.


Allergies are a very common cause of dogs shaking their heads. Dogs could be allergic to certain food items (please check with your vet the list of food items you most definitely should NOT give your dog), dust mites, storage mites, pollen, mold etc. There is a possibility that it could be a skin allergy as well as the ear canal is lined with skin. If you see redness and your dog is itching as well as shaking their head incessantly, then a vet visit and some swabs should tell you what the issue is. If it isn’t skin related the vet would in all probability, ask you to consult a nutritionist to figure what food items isn’t suiting your pooch

Bacterial/Yeast infections

Another common reason for your dog shaking their head is ear infection. In most cases its either bacterial or yeast infection, but do not discount mites either. The shape of the ear canal and the flap (pinna) tends to trap moisture and germs causing infections. If your dog was vigorously shaking his head and itching his ears you are most likely to see redness, discharge which would be foul smelling if you pick the ear flap. If you have a dog with the big floppy ears, what might have been very cute will be the reason for the germs to breed because they have what is called a closed lid. If the infection is limited to the ear, then antibacterial drops and ointments should relieve your pooch of the situation. Please do not use medicines off the shelf. Always consult your vet.

Water in the ear canal

If you are one of those pet parents who likes to bathe your own dogs, you must be careful that water doesn’t go into the ears. The easiest and fuss free way of doing that is to put an e-collar. It works like a charm and you won’t have your dog shaking his head to get the water that may go into his ears out! If your dog loves to go for a splash in the pool or the sea, the e-collar won’t work! In that case you might want to check with your vet for an ear band or a drying powder.

Other issues

A lot of times your dog could also be scratching his ears because of an underlying medical issue

  • Injury to the ear canal
  • A foreign body could be stuck in the ear canal
  • Excessive wax buildup
  • Diseases involving excess or deficiency in hormones such as hyperthyroidism, cushing disease or diabetes mellitus
    In such cases a vet visit is imperative

Can you prevent an ear infection?

They say prevention is better than cure, and in this case it holds true also. As we’ve seen, moisture is the most common cause of irritation in your pooch’s ears, so be sure to dry them properly. Please don’t rub the ears vigorously with a towel. You might want to check with your vet or groomer about how to correctly dry your dog’s ears. If there is an underlying medical condition, then a vet visit followed by the diagnosis and further treatment should sort the issue out. Keep your dog’s ears clean. Make sure your groomer cleans your dog’s ears after their bath and in case you are a hands-on parent then do consult with a groomer or a vet about the correct way to clean their ears.

First Aid Kit

Consult with your vet and groomer and always keep a first aid kit prepared at home.

Your kit could contain (Add what it should contain)
Please consult with a vet before purchasing any product.

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