Why Does My Golden Retriever Keep Shaking His Head?

Are you a golden retriever parent who is dealing with the constant head shaking of your furry friend? It can be confusing and concerning when you see your doggo shaking their head repeatedly, and you’re not sure what’s happening. As a dog parent myself, I can tell you firsthand how worrisome it can be when our pets act out of the ordinary.

However, don’t worry, because this is a common problem that has many potential causes. One of the most common reasons for a Golden Retriever to keep shaking its head is related to ear infections. But, there are also several other lesser-known causes that could be the cause.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about why your Golden Retriever is shaking its head. We will talk about the common causes, early signs, and symptoms, and ways to manage this problem effectively. So, if you’re concerned about your furry friend and want to help them soothe their head-shaking, keep reading!

SymptomPossible Causes
Excessive Head Shaking
  • Ear Infections
  • Ear Mites
  • Foreign Objects Stuck in Ear Canal
  • Allergies
  • Inflammation or Irritation in the Ear Canal
Tilting Head to One Side
  • Vestibular Disease
  • Brain Tumors
  • Injury or Trauma
  • Ear Infections (in Advanced Cases)
Rubbing Ears on the Ground or Furniture
  • Ear Infections
  • Ear Mites
  • Allergies
  • Other Ear Problems

Potential Ear Infections: Common Causes of Head Shaking in Golden Retrievers

Ear infections are a common reason why your Golden Retriever keeps shaking their head. The ears of Golden Retrievers can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms. This can cause inflammation and infection, leading to a lot of discomfort and pain for your furry friend.

Some common causes of ear infections in Golden Retrievers include allergies, excessive earwax buildup, and water trapped in the ear canal after swimming or bathing. The shaking is your Golden Retriever’s way of trying to remove the irritation or discomfort they’re feeling in their ears.

If you notice your Golden Retriever shaking their head more often than usual, or if they’re scratching their ears a lot, it’s time to check for an ear infection. Remember, catching the infection early will make it easier to treat and avoid long-lasting damage.

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Diagnosing Ear Infections: Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For in Your Golden Retriever

As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to keep an eye out for any signs of ear infections in your Golden Retriever. Here are some diagnoses to look out for:

  • Scratching and rubbing of the ear
  • Pungent odor from the ear
  • Swelling and redness around the ear
  • Tilted head or walking in circles
  • Discharge or crustiness around the ear
  • Loss of balance or coordination

If your Golden Retriever is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to schedule a visit with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can prevent the infection from spreading and causing more significant discomfort for your furry friend.

Treating Ear Infections: Tips for Managing and Preventing Head Shaking in Your Golden Retriever

If your Golden Retriever is shaking his head excessively, it could be a sign of an ear infection. These infections are common in dogs and can be painful, uncomfortable, and lead to more severe conditions if left untreated. Here are some tips for managing and preventing ear infections and head shaking in your furry friend:

  • Keep your Golden Retriever’s ears clean and dry. Regularly wipe the inside of their ears with a soft cloth and use an ear cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian to keep their ears clean and dry.
  • Keep your Golden Retriever’s ears free of excess hair. Too much hair in the ear canal can trap moisture and contribute to infections. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to safely trim excess hair around your dog’s ears.
  • Watch out for signs of infection. The signs may include redness, discharge, swelling, or foul odor. If you notice any of these signs, consult your veterinarian immediately.
  • Prevent moisture from entering the ears. For example, when bathing your dog, make sure you don’t get water into their ears. After a swim, dry your dog’s ears thoroughly.
  • Supplement their diet with omega-3 fatty acids. These supplements can reduce inflammation and potentially reduce the risk of ear infections.
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By following these tips, you can help manage and prevent ear infections in your Golden Retriever and keep them happy and healthy. If your Golden Retriever is prone to ear infections, it’s important to consult your veterinarian for further advice and treatment options.

Beyond Ear Infections: Other Reasons Why Your Golden Retriever Might Be Shaking Their Head

While ear infections are a common reason for a Golden Retriever to shake its head, there are other possible causes to consider. Here are a few additional factors that may be contributing to your dog’s head shaking:

  • Allergies: Golden Retrievers can be prone to allergies, and if your pet is allergic to something in their environment, such as pollens, dust, or certain foods, they may shake their head as a result of itchy or irritated skin.
  • Foreign Objects: Sometimes, foreign objects like grass seeds or small insects can get into a dog’s ears, causing itching, irritation, and head shaking. Be sure to check your dog’s ears regularly for signs of foreign debris.
  • Ear Mites: These tiny parasites can cause significant discomfort for pets and are easily spread between animals. Along with head shaking, look out for signs of ear redness, itching, and discharge.
  • Dental Issues: Pain or discomfort in the teeth or gums can cause a dog to shake its head, similar to how humans might rub their jaw if experiencing toothache.

It’s essential to pay attention to your Golden Retriever’s overall behavior and any unusual symptoms you observe. If the head shaking persists beyond a few days or is accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or distress, be sure to consult your veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment.

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Golden Retriever shaking its head.
Shaking Dog Head.

When to See a Veterinarian: Understanding When Your Golden Retriever’s Head Shaking Requires Medical Attention

As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to understand when your golden retriever’s head shaking requires medical attention. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s time to see a veterinarian:

  • Persistent head shaking that lasts for an extended period
  • Discharge or foul smell coming from your dog’s ears
  • Redness, swelling, or irritation in or around the ears
  • Loss of appetite or a decrease in activity level
  • Unusual behavior, such as whimpering, scratching excessively, or tilting the head to one side

If your golden retriever exhibits any of these symptoms, it’s vital to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Delaying medical attention can lead to more severe health issues for your furry friend.

Remember, the earlier you take action, the better the chances of treating your golden retriever’s head shaking effectively. Your veterinarian will diagnose the underlying cause of the head shaking and provide you with the appropriate treatment plan.


In conclusion, head shaking is a common behavior in Golden Retrievers and is often a sign of an ear infection. However, it’s important to keep in mind that head shaking can be caused by a variety of other factors as well. As a pet owner, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of ear infections and other health problems that could be causing your dog’s discomfort.

Treating and managing ear infections can be done with the help of a veterinarian, who may prescribe medication or suggest preventative measures to keep future infections at bay. It’s important to follow their advice and monitor your dog’s behavior closely to ensure that they are on the road to recovery.

If the head shaking persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical attention from a veterinarian. They can diagnose the underlying cause of your dog’s discomfort and provide the necessary care and treatment to help them feel better.

By staying informed about your dog’s health and wellbeing, you can help them live a happy and healthy life. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a vet if you have any concerns about your furry friend’s health and behavior.

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