If your dog keeps shaking his head does it mean there is anything wrong?

April 13, 2012

Dogs are wonderful animals but let’s face it – these animals also have some very annoying habits. Dogs bark, chew, jump at people, dig, scratch and shake – EXCESSIVELY! We love these animals but there are instances when these habits of the pet would test an owner’s patience to the limits. Fortunately, these annoying habits can be effectively resolved with appropriate training. Every dog owner would dream of having the perfect dog – one that is so well behaved and a joy to live with. However, it is highly possible that this irksome habit of the pet is a cry for help. The dog may be scratching, chewing or barking excessively because something is making it uncomfortable. The incessant shaking of the head of the pet can certainly be irritating but have you ever considered the fact that the dog is not doing the action simply to annoy you? It is possible that the dog is calling your attention as all is not well. Something must be making the dog uncomfortable.

There are several reasons why a dog would continuously shake. Any minor itch or irritation would make the dog shake to alleviate the discomfort it is feeling. As soon as relief is attained, the dog would stop shaking. However a dog that keeps on shaking one part of the body warrants closer inspection. Incessant head shaking especially when accompanied by ear scratching can be a sign that the pet may have an ear infection. As with any other kind of ailment, early detection and treatment would be necessary. Inspect the ears of the pet by lifting the ear flaps and observing the external ears thoroughly. Infected ears would be inflamed and hot to the touch. There may be an excessive amount of ear wax. The ears would have an unpleasant odor. Discharge would make the hair inside the ears wet and sticky.

The unique L shape of a dog’s ears makes Fido prone to ear infections and other ear problems. Ear infections are most common in dogs with hairy and floppy ears as the external ears that remain moist would be an ideal breeding area for infection-causing bacteria and microorganisms. One of the most common reasons for the head shaking is parasite infestation. A dog that constantly shakes the head or if an unpleasant odor emanates from the ears. It is possible that the pet’s ears harbor tiny crab-like parasites. Ear mites live on the surface of the ear canal and feed on skin debris causing severe itching. To alleviate the discomfort, the dog would keep on shaking the head and rubbing the ears against surfaces until the ears are inflamed and infected.

Excessive head shaking can be due to a foreign object in the ears. Dogs are very active animals that have the propensity to wander. Seeds, grains of sand, a small leaf and little stones can get lodge inside the ears and cause itching and discomfort. A dog that has mites inside the ears would keep in shaking the head in an effort to dislodge the parasite that is causing discomfort. Allergies from dog foods are another reason why the dog would scratch the head. Some dogs are allergic to the cereal filler contents of cheap and low quality dog foods. Head traumas, medications and toxins the dog has ingested can have an effect on the dog’s nervous system so that the pet would show abnormal neurological behaviors.

If the scratching and the incessant head shaking of the pet annoy you, consider how it is making the pet uncomfortable. Healthy ears should have a pinkish color. There should be no excessive earwax buildup and no unpleasant odor should emanate from the ears. Excessive head shaking that will have an adverse effect on the wellbeing of the pet can be prevented by checking the dog’s ears regularly.

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