Why Do Dogs Shake When They’re Not Wet?

why do dogs shake when not wet

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Everyone knows that when a dog gets wet, they’ll be shaking soon and it’s one of the most “exciting” parts of bathing your pooch.

But what’s going on when dogs shake without being wet?

Except for the case of prolonged shaking which is likely related to a medical issue, dogs usually shake as a way to “shake off” stress after a tense or anxiety-inducing moment. In other cases, dogs may shake to get off extra dirt or they could be having a problem with their ears. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these possible reasons!

Reason 1: It Could Be A Stress Response

Often called a “shake off” by trainers, dogs will shake in order to “reset” after almost any kind of stressful situation. You may see your dog shake it out as soon as they leave the veterinarian or you could see it after meeting a new dog at the park.

The situation doesn’t have to be extreme and anything that increases your dog’s stress, even a little, can warrant a shake off.

The shake off is a way for dogs to get out excessive energy and release tension that had been building up.

Humans will sometimes show the same behavior but most people have some way of releasing tension after a stressful situation. It could be a shake or it could be a deep sigh but our dogs are certainly not the only ones who have a physical de-stressing behavior.

Shake offs are a positive and appropriate for dogs to manage stress so when you see your pup doing this make sure to give them some positive reinforcement! It could be a treat but even just some quick petting or vocal encouragement will work too!

Reason 2: To Get Clean

Shaking is an extremely efficient way to remove water, but it also does a great job removing excess dirt, debris and even small bugs!

Many dogs will shake after they’re done laying down which will help them stay clean. Even though our dogs can count on us to help them stay clean, this behavior is still alive and well!

Reason 3: Ear Problems Could Be At Play

If you’ve ever had to treat your dogs ears, you’ve probably seen them vigorously shake afterward.

But ear-related shaking isn’t just limited to treatment time. Dogs with ear infections or other ear problems will shake to try and get some relief. This shake is a little different as your dog will usually shake their head a lot more than in other scenarios. You’ll often see your dog scratching at their ears between shakes, too. You may also see other dogs take a sudden interest in the other dog’s ears too as some pups can be attracted to the smell of infection.

If you’re seeing this kind of behavior you should have your dog examined by your veterinarian to look for any ear-related issues.

Closing Thoughts

That’s the quick answer and gives you some of the basics to look for but if you’re still not sure it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian.