Why Do Dogs Shake Their Fur?

A dog shaking its fur is truly a thing of wonder. It can be a weird and dramatic shake that leaves you falling over with laughter at how goofy your doggy is. Or it could be graceful and majestic enough to fool your eyes into seeing it unfold in slow motion. But why do dogs shake their fur?

For most dogs, the act of shaking their fur is done in response to some form of discomfort? It is usually physical discomfort triggered by something like skin irritation but could also be due to psychological distress.

In the upcoming sections, we shall take a deep dive into all these possible reasons and scenarios that could cause your dog to shake its fur. That way, the next time your doggy does it, you can pick up accurately on whatever message they are trying to pass.

Why Do Dogs Shake Their Fur?

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Dogs shake their fur mainly as a way to relieve some form of discomfort. This is usually physical discomfort triggered by things like physical objects in your dog’s coat. Here is a bit more on this and other situations that could trigger your dog to shake its coat.

Objects Stuck On Or In The Coat

Perhaps, the dogs rolled in a pile of dirt and wanted to shake it off. Perhaps their favorite toy is somehow stuck onto a patch of their fur, and they want to get rid of it.

In such situations, the awareness of the dirt or the stuck object causes the dogs so much discomfort that they have no choice but to shake their coat to dislodge the foreign object.

Skin Irritation

The physical discomfort that causes your dog to shake its coat could also be more worrisome, in which case, skin irritation should be your biggest concern. The most common issue, in this case, is infestation by parasites.

Fleas are particularly notorious for causing dogs to shake their coat. This is because fleas not only irritate the dog’s skin but also frequently travel up and down the fur strands.

This also causes further irritation to the already sensitive skin and prompts the dog to want to shake its fur with vigor.

An Outlet For Excess Energy

The discomfort that causes dogs to shake their fur is not always physical but can actually also be psychological.

Inadequate exercise and insufficient mental stimulation frequently cause dogs to act out in a number of weird ways. One way is through shaking their fur or their entire bodies in general.

This is done as a way to let out all the excess energy while also allowing the dog to entertain itself. Always ensure that your dog gets enough exercise according to its breed’s specific daily exercise requirements.

Why Do Dogs Shake Their Fur When They Are Wet?

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If you notice your dog shake their fur when they are wet, they are most likely doing so as a way to dry faster. The sudden and forceful shaking will dislodge most of the water droplets clinging to the surface of the dog’s fur.

This shaking of the fur when the dog is wet will not instantly dry the pooch, but it will definitely reduce the time required to dry off.

If your dog seems to be shaking its fur too much after a dip in the pool, its bath, or being rained on, it might help if you wrap your pooch up in a towel or other absorbent cloth. This is ideal, as such swaddling helps the dog warm up as it dries off.

Why Do Dogs Shake Their Fur After You Pet Them?

Typically, dogs who shake their fur after being petted or handled in any other way do so in an attempt to get rid of any unpleasant scents left on their coats.

Studies show that dogs are tens of thousands of times more sensitive to smells than we are. You may, therefore, not even realize that you have a scent that your dog doesn’t like.

However, if you leave this scent on them through the pheromone glands on your hands or clothes, dogs may shake their fur to get their respective scent back to the way they like it.

Another reason your dog may shake its fur after petting it is if you ruffled its coat uncomfortably and left some fur strands standing in awkward positions and angles.

In these scenarios, the dog will shake their fur to get the affected patch sitting right and comfortably again. Some may also follow this through with a quick scratch of that affected patch.

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Should I Be Worried If My Dog Is Shaking Their Fur?

While most of the reasons why dogs shake their fur are pretty innocent, there are times you should be concerned. This is because the shaking could be a symptom of a more serious underlying issue.

Here is a quick overview of some of these issues and a few more clues that will help you figure out that your dog is shaking its fur as a cry for help.

Ear Infections

Ear infections can be very debilitating for dogs and may even have life-threatening consequences like meningitis. If your dog is suffering from an ear infection, you may notice that they are shaking their fur very frequently.

This shaking might be limited to the head where the discomfort is felt the most.

Other signs that could point to an ear infection as the nefarious cause of the fur-shaking include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Failure to respond when called due to poor hearing
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Crusty collections around the opening of the ear
  • Scratching the ear, especially around the ear

Dental Problems

Another reason your dog may be shaking its fur a lot more than usual is due to the discomfort caused by dental problems. As with ear infections, the shaking of the fur, in this case, can be limited to the head.

Additional signs here may include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Foul breath
  • Swelling of the affected jaw
  • Weak, easily-breakable teeth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Inflamed gums
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Mental Issues

Dogs suffer from numerous mental issues, including anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress. These typically manifest with odd behavior, in which your dog may have excessive shaking of its fur as one of the major signs.

These issues usually require a combination of vet intervention and ensuring that your dog feels safe and loved in the home in order to get them to be mentally stable.

Skin Irritation

Finally, another reason you should be worried about your dog shaking its fur too much would be due to skin irritation. This could have resulted from allergic reactions, skin infections, or infestation by parasites like fleas and mites.

Here are a few more important signs to look out for with a dog shaking its fur that will help you narrow in on skin irritation as the possible cause.

  • Intense or frequent scratching
  • Visible sores or hotspots on the skin
  • Fur loss
  • The general reduction in the aesthetic quality of the coat
  • Hive breakouts on the coat, especially on the face
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Pete Decker