Why Do Dogs Shake Their Fur?

Most canines have a dense coat of fur that keeps them warm, protects them from the elements, and helps them avoid getting sunburnt in hot climates. 

Often, dogs shake their fur to remove debris such as leaves, small sticks, or water accumulated on their coat. 

Yet, there are a couple of medical reasons for this as well as social ones. Fortunately, dogs shaking their fur signals nothing more than a dog’s natural tendency to shake its tail. 

A great illustration of this would be when dogs lose their fur after the snow has been compacted onto it; it is a sight to behold, to be honest. 

Let’s get into why this occurs and what you can do to prevent it from happening again for medical reasons.


5 Reasons Dogs Shake Their Fur

1: To Shake of Debris

It’s well recognized that dogs have a penchant for getting into things they shouldn’t and playing in places where they become filthy. 

Mild exercises such as digging in the dirt or running through sprinklers or rain could accomplish this goal. 

It is instinctive for dogs to shake their fur and get the substance into their coats to remove it from their bodies when this occurs. 

If your dog gets wet due to rain or snow, it is prevalent for him to lick himself dry because he is instinctively trying to keep himself clean and warm while trying to keep himself dry.

2: Fleas

A common problem for dogs is fleas, which can be extremely irritating to have around the house. This results in dogs developing a severe itch that spreads to all areas of their bodies. 

As a result, they shake their fur in order to dislodge flees and ruffle their fur in an attempt to itch their skin in order to combat the situation. 

Felines can suffer from skin irritation caused by fleas in severe flea infestations, which can result in fur loss in some cases. 

In severe flea infestations, cats can suffer from skin irritation that can result in fur loss. If this is the predicament, contemplate giving them a bath or provide a flea treatment. 

3: To Fix Their Fur

I play with my dog, who has one inch of fur on his back, on a daily basis. As a result of our rough play, his fur becomes a little tangled. 

In order to resolve this, he shakes his fur in order to restore order to his coat. 

When a dog’s fur is tangled, it can irritate hair follicles, which can result in itching and other symptoms. 

Consider it as if you were combing your hair in the opposite direction of the direction it has been combed for years. This is not at all comfortable, and I don’t blame them for feeling that way.

4: To Relieve Anxiety

Dogs, like humans, are susceptible to stress and anxiety in the same way. 

Dogs will shake their fur from time to time in order to help relieve the stress they are experiencing. 

Even though we have not been able to determine why they do this, I can only speculate that it is similar to the feeling humans have when they put on a new outfit. 

This is a common occurrence following the completion of a stressful activity such as driving or engaging in vigorous exercise.

5: They’re Sick

Ruffling of the coat can be caused by a variety of illnesses, each of which is distinct from the others. It frequently occurs in dogs because it provides them with a sense of relief. 

Furthermore, shaking may be effective in alleviating symptoms such as itching or pain in specific areas of the body. 

If your dog is shaking uncontrollably, I strongly advise you to take him to the veterinarian as soon as you can to have him looked over.

Ticks may also be another reason, as can other types of skin diseases and infections. If you suspect this, it’s important to treat it as soon as feasible to limit more skin damage. 

How You Can Help

1: Check Their Fur

The first matter you should do is to check your dog’s coat. It may have a rash, fleas, or some sort of infection when you examine it. 

Another point is to maintain an eye for any swelling. The most important areas to check are those near the upper back, the groin, and the neck. 

Shaking can also indicate an issue with the ears, such as allergies or ear infections, or the presence of fleas in the ears.

2: Give Them a Bath

If you do not see anything that could irritate your dog, you might want to consider bathing him. 

All types of mites, which are invisible to the human eye, irritate the skin and cause irritation. 

Furthermore, taking a bath may help remove any dirt accumulated on the skin over time. 

In the wild, dogs bathe in the water to keep themselves clean; bathing your domestic dog should be no different.

3: Journal When It Happens

It’s essential to keep track of how often your dog shakes if it happens a lot. It could be a particular perfume, an environment, or something else that is causing the shaking. 

Some dogs, for example, are allergic to certain ingredients used in carpet cleaning. 

If your dog only shakes around the carpeted areas, keep a journal of his behavior to see if there is a pattern.

If you notice any patterns, take the journal to your vet and see if he can determine if this pattern is worth investigating. 


There is a mixture of reasons why your dog may be shaking. However, it is very likely that this is simply an instinctual reaction. 

Shaking is common in order to restore the fur to its natural position, remove debris such as water and dirt, and relieve stress and anxiety in the animal. 

Make sure you inspect the area for fleas. Fleas can be tricky to detect, especially when young and have not yet reached full maturity.

Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has been a dog lover since childhood. He has had his Lab Mix with Hound for over 10+ years now! They enjoy playing outdoors together. Brian loves sharing his knowledge about all things dog on this website. Read more of Brian's articles.