Have you ever noticed your dog shaking their head after being groomed? There could be a few different reasons for this, so let’s check out why!

dog shaking water off

Why is my dog shaking after a bath?

If you’re grooming and bathing your pup at home, you may have seen them instantly shake their head, or even their whole body after a bath. The main reason why your dog would be shaking their body after a bath is to dry themselves off.

Psychology Today says that “a dog can shake nearly 70 percent of the water from its fur in about 4 seconds.” Although dogs can only move their backbone 30° one way or the other, shaking works so well because of their loose skin. They can actually swing their skin around 90° in either direction when they are shaking off the water. Crazy, right?!

So if your pup is doing their normal shaking after a bath, it’s just because they are trying to get the excess water off. It’s part of their instincts to do so.

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But some of you are noticing a different problem with your pup. Let’s talk about the possible issues that are going on if your dog is specifically shaking their ears after a trip to the groomer.

dog being groomed

Understanding Why Your Dog Shakes Their Head After Grooming

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Is it normal for dogs to shake their ears after a grooming?

Have you noticed that your dog is acting strangely after coming home from the pet groomer? Are they shaking their ears over and over? Maybe they’re even scratching at their ears. And you know something is wrong, but you can’t figure out what.

The first question is… Did your groomer clean your dog’s ears, trim or pluck their ear hair, or notice any infections in their ears? If you’re not sure, make sure to contact your groomer and ask right away. These are all factors that will help you figure out what’s wrong.

dog being groomed

Can a dog get an ear infection after grooming?

Grooming on its own won’t cause your dog to get an ear infection. But if your pup is prone to ear infections, there may be certain things the groomer is doing that are irritating your pup’s ears, and causing their ear infection to return.

1. Water in your dog’s ear

“Most outer ear canal infections are caused by overgrowth of bacteria and yeast.” This can happen from your dog getting water in their ears during bathing.

2. Debris stuck in your dog’s earwax

If dirt and debris get stuck in your dog’s earwax, that can cause some “irritation, inflammation and infection.”

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3. Warm, floppy ear trapping in the moisture

If your dog has floppy ears, and they get wet during bathing or other water playtimes, their ear could actually trap the warm moisture inside. And this would create a scenario for bacteria to grow.

4. Trimmed hair in the ear canal

When your dog gets their hair cut, some of those loose hairs could fall into their ear, causing irritation and inflammation. Then leading to an ear infection.

dog getting a bath

How can I help prevent my dog’s ear infections?

If your dog did get an ear infection from one of the above causes, a good way to help prevent that from happening again is to put cotton balls in your dog’s ears while they are being bathed, groomed, and dried.

Also, doing regular ear cleanings at home can help prevent future ear infections. There are many different brands you can choose from. But it’s always helpful to ask your veterinarian which dog ear cleaners they recommend.

Is it safe to pluck hair from a dog’s ears?

This is such a controversial matter in the dog grooming world. Some groomers say that you should pluck the hair from certain dog breeds’ ear canals—like Poodles, Shih Tzus, and Bichon Frises—who grow extra hair in their ears. These groomers say that the extra hair blocks proper air flow from the ear canal, and traps in extra ear wax, dirt, and debris.

However, others think that plucking those hairs will cause more damage than it does good. More recently, they have discovered that plucking those ear hairs actually causes “microscopic tears in the ear canal. If bacteria are present it’s possible for it to cause an ear infection in an injured ear.” Which is why a lot of veterinarians have recommended against doing this anymore.

But if your dog does have extra hair in their ears, and they already suffer from “chronic ear infections, plucking inside their ears can help with air circulation which helps keep moisture in the ear at bay.” And having less hair in their ears can make it easier to put medication in their ear canal.

The moral of the story here is that if your dog doesn’t suffer from chronic ear infections, and doesn’t have excess hair in their ears—there is no reason to pluck their ear hairs. But if they do, I would highly recommend asking your veterinarian for their professional opinion and advice.

What can I put in my dog's ears to soothe them?

Anytime you suspect your dog might have an ear infection—or an infection of any kind—please contact your veterinarian right away. Your vet will be able to prescribe medications to heal the infection. And they may be able to give you some extra to keep on hand for future flare ups.

For more helpful articles about pet-parenting tips, check out the Off Leash blog at TryFi.com.

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