When adopting a pet, you should keep in mind that you take responsibility for the health and well-being of the new family member. Therefore, it is essential to observe your dog daily and ensure that all their needs are met. Like humans, dogs are prone to a variety of illnesses and to situations in everyday life that are uncomfortable and stressful for dogs. Your role as a dog parent is to support your pet in these situations and diagnose the problem appropriately. Unfortunately, most dogs are excellent at masking their discomfort because it encodes in their minds that showing their weaknesses puts them in greater danger. This article will look at why your dog is shaking their head or ears. How could it be due to health problems, and how is it expected behavior?
There can be many reasons why a dog shakes their ears. First, it can be a purely mechanical issue. The surface of the inside of a dog’s ear is very sensitive, much more so than in humans. In addition, a dog’s ear canal is much longer and more complicated, making it more prone to all sorts of discomfort. Most often, when a dog shakes their ears, they may be bothered by a foreign object, such as raindrops, insects, or pollen. If the dog shakes their ears only for a moment and then goes back to normal, there is no reason to worry. However, if the shaking happens very often, you should go to the vet for a check-up.
Otitis is one of the most common explanations for why dogs shake their ears. If you see your dog persistently shaking their head, it should not be underestimated. An ear infection is a very unpleasant condition for a dog, which causes, just like in humans, a lot of pain. An untreated ear infection or treated on its own in the wrong way can lead to irreversible changes in the auricle and even hearing loss. Additionally, ear infections can be caused by allergies in your pet. It is why it is essential to look for secondary symptoms of allergies. These symptoms can be itching, rashes, or other skin problems. If you notice that your pet is scratching a lot, has red or inflamed skin, or has eye discharge, it is recommended that you take them to the vet. The vet will perform an allergy test to determine what is causing the reaction. Once the cause is identified, they will prescribe medication or a special diet to help your pet recover. Another reason can also be scabies if the ears’ shaking is followed by persistent scratching.
For starters, take a look inside the ear. If inflamed, you will often see a dark secretion that usually sticks to the fur near the ear. It will also give off an unpleasant odor. If the dog won’t let you touch them around the ears, this is another alarm signal, as the dog is protecting the painful area.
Regardless of your guess, if the head shaking occurs very frequently, a visit to the vet will be necessary. The doctor will reduce the pain immediately and take a swab from the ear to make a diagnosis.
The most significant risk of otitis is in dogs with floppy ears. It is due to the ears’ poor ventilation and the narrow ear canals. In such dogs, it is crucial to pay special attention to ear hygiene and sift through the ears regularly to catch any symptoms as early as possible.
As a dog parent, you know that communication in dogs is very subtle. Often people fail to interpret it correctly; hence unpleasant situations arise. “Shaking off” by a dog usually occurs after a stressful situation. The dog wants to get rid of the excess stress in this way. It is similar to scratching. It is another signal sent out by the dog that they are not comfortable at the moment. You should pay attention to other body language cues that your dog is giving off, such as licking their lips, pacing, or avoiding eye contact. These are all signs that your dog is feeling stressed or anxious. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you consult with a dog behavior specialist who can help you understand your pet’s behavior and make recommendations to improve their well-being.
Of course, these signals should be considered according to the context. For example, a dog returning from a walk in the rain will shake themselves off to get rid of raindrops. Still, they may also scratch themselves because it’s itchy. It is why it is so essential to observe your dog and analyze specific situations. Unlike health grounds, stress signals only occur in particular situations, not constantly.
It is your responsibility as a pet parent to look after your pet’s well-being. Suppose you see alarming symptoms and your dog is behaving differently than before. In that case, it is always a good idea to visit a vet to diagnose the problem. The quicker the diagnosis, the more treatment options and minor discomfort for your dog.
If head-shaking occurs in stressful situations, it is up to you to recognize the problem and help your pet. However, if these situations occur regularly, you may need to consult with a behaviourist who can help work through the problem and show you how to exercise your pet.