dachshunds shake their head

Why Do Dachshunds Shake Their Head?

Last Updated on July 24, 2020 by Ava Jaine

Dachshunds Shake Their Head if they have Dirty Ears, an Ear Infection, Mites, Allergies, or it may even be a Serious Health Condition.

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Table of Contents

Dachshund’s Ear Shape

Dachshund’s ears hang down low, this is called the Drop Ear.

Dogs with low hanging, floppy ears are more likely to have ear infections. 

Air flow to the inner ear is very poor compared to other Ear Types in Dogs.  This makes them more prone to holding warm moisture, causing an infection. 

Low hanging dog ears also make a cozy home for nasty fleas, mites, and ticks who will breed and defecate inside the dog’s ear, causing more problems.

dachshunds shake their head

Symptoms of Ear Issues:

Dachshunds with ear problems will likely exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Ear Scratching

  • Head Shaking

  • Stinky Ear Odor

  • Ear Discharge

  • Head Tilting to the Side

  • Painful to Touch

Why Do Dachshunds Shake Their Head?

Lets look at the 5 Main Reasons your Dachshund may be shaking their head in more detail.

1. Dirty Ears:

Doxies will shake their head and scratch at their ears if they need to be cleaned.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Ears?

I find that my dog’s ears usually need cleaning every two weeks.  If your dog is prone to nasty ear infections, you may find it more efficient to clean them out every week.  If you are not comfortable cleaning your own dog’s ears, you can have a dog groomer or your vet do the task for you.

How To Properly Clean A Dog’s Ears:

This is a super easy 4-step process that my vet recommended to me.  I use this method to clean all of my dog’s ears with ease.

  1. Squeeze a good amount of high quality dog ear cleaner onto a couple of small cotton balls.  I like to use VetWELL Dog Ear Cleaner (from Amazon).  It is all-natural, smells nice, and my dog’s don’t mind it.
  2. Take the saturated cotton ball and put it inside your dog’s ear.
  3. Gently massage the outside of the ear to move that wet cotton ball around the inside of the ear for a couple of minutes.
  4. Use the remaining wet cotton balls to wipe the outer ear canal clean.  Use dry cotton balls to clean up any excess moisture.

It is normal for your pup to shake their ears during this process.

2. Ear Infection:

What if your dog keeps shaking their ears after they are clean?

If your dog continues to act like their ears are bothering them and cleaning doesn’t do the job…it is time to make them an appointment at the vet.  Your vet has some powerful antibiotics that can help clear up the infection in no time.

Note: If your dachshund’s ear infection isn’t cleared up soon, it could become worse and cause hearing loss.

How to Prevent Future Ear Infections:

Clean your Dog’s Ears more often to prevent future ear infections.  Make it a routine to clean them at least every two weeks.  If your dog goes swimming, make sure to clean them out and thoroughly dry their ears to prevent bacteria or fungus from growing inside.

why do dachshunds shake their head

3. Ear Mites:

Taking your dachshund to the vet for an ear exam may also reveal nasty dog ear mites!

What is an Ear Mite?

An Ear mite is a small parasite that lives in an animal’s ears.  They eat the skin cells, earwax, and blood of their host.  They leave their waste and lay their eggs in the host’s ear canal, causing infections.

How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has Ear Mites?

Here are some of the common Symptoms of Dog Ear Mites

  • Shaking their head
  • Constantly Scratching their ears
  • Reddish-Brown crust forming on outer ear.
  • Brown chunks in the ears (like dirt or coffee grounds)
  • Hearing Loss

Can Humans Get Ear Mites From Dogs?

Yes, Ear Mites can be spread to humans, but it is rare.  Ear Mites are very contagious to other animals in the household though.  If you have other pets in your home, they will ALL need treatment to get rid of the whole Ear Mite Tribe.

why do dachshunds shake their head

Can Ear Mites Live on Furniture?

Yup!  Make sure to clean all carpet, blankets, and bedding to eradicate the mites.

What Kills Ear Mites in Dogs?

You can try to treat your pup at home if you notice any ear mites wreaking havoc in your dog’s ears.  The Spruce Pets Website has some methods that can help get rid of those pesky bugs.

4. Allergies:

Your Dachshund may have itchy ears because they are allergic to something.  You may notice more inflammation and itching in their ears after they eat their dog food or a certain doggie treat.  In that case, learning how to properly change your dog’s food can help reduce food allergies.

An allergic response can occur when the allergen is eaten, absorbed in the skin, or inhaled.  Your doxie’s ears will then produce a heavy amount of ear wax, which can lead to an ear infection.  Find out more about Dachshund Allergies.

If your dog has to visit the vet often for ear infections, ask your vet for an allergy test.  They do have effective treatments that will help your dog.

why do dachshunds shake their head

5. Serious Health Conditions:

There are some Health Issues that can cause your Dachshund to excessively shake their heads including neurological disorders, inflammatory diseases, or hypothyroidism.  It is important to get your dog checked out by their veterinarian to diagnose any of these more serious health conditions.

Ear Vasculitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the vessels in the ear flap.  This disease mostly affects small breeds like Dachshunds and Jack Russell Terriers.  This condition can be caused by fly bites or immune disorders.

Don’t Wait, if your doxie is constantly digging at their ears or shaking their head, they could actually cause more damage, like rupturing blood vessels or causing a hematoma.


If your dog is constantly digging at their ears and making a moaning or whimpering sound when you rub their ears, first try to clean out their ears gently.  If that doesn’t seem to work, take them to the vet.

Your vet can rule out if it is an infection that needs a medication or ear mites that need to be extracted.

If your dog is constantly going in and out of the vet office for the same ear infections, it is likely that your dog has an allergy.  Have your dog tested for allergies to help narrow down the problem and help your pup feel comfortable again.

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