Top 3 Reasons Why Dogs Scratch and Shake their Head at Night

Disclaimer: The content on is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

It might be time to visit the vet if your dog is suddenly scratching and shaking their head at night. Health reasons tend to be the main cause although other reasons such as behavioral issues shouldn’t also be ruled out.

1. Dog has food allergies

Head shaking and scratching is a common response from dogs that suffer from allergies. Has your dog eaten anything new recently? A switch in dog food might explain the sudden development of head scratching and shaking at night. Switching to grain-free dog food might be one way to fix this problem.

2. Dog has an ear infection

Ear infections can also cause a lot of discomfort. The dog might try to relieve the discomfort by scratching and shaking his head. In addition to food allergies, ear infections can be caused by other factors such as a lack of ear cleaning and participation in water-based activities such as swimming. You may notice something unusual discharge coming out from your dog’s ear if an infection has developed.

Dogs affected by ear infection may also growl or pull away when you try and touch their head. Dogs generally don’t want to be touched when they feel vulnerable.

3. Affected by parasites

What might explain a situation when the head scratching and shaking primarily happens at night? Parasites could be the reason, especially those that are frequently found on bedding materials. The dog could be affected by parasites such as ear mites, bed bugs, and fleas. These parasites may have latched onto your dog’s head while they laid down on the bed.

We strongly recommend taking your dog to the vet. Head shaking and scratching can become violent if the cause isn’t properly diagnosed and treated. Certain dog breeds are known to exhibit this behavior more than others, especially those with long floppy ears.


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