The Root of the Behavior
The Bulldog is also the chosen status symbol for the U.S. Marine Corps and Mack Trucks. The Bulldog gets his name from the practice he was originally bred to do. He was intended to be a dog who fought bulls. Thankfully, today, he takes pride of place beside family hearths and is much renowned for his gentle, low key spirit, and comical manner. Bulldogs are predisposed to a number of health conditions including what is known as idiopathic head tremors. Though it is unknown what causes this illness in Bulldogs, it is an ailment reputedly seen often in the breed. Idiopathic head tremors are particularly concerning because the shaking of the head appears randomly yet without the necessary control to stop the behavior. This serious health issue is first evidenced by what appears to be an unexplained bobbing of the head. This motion may occur in different directions, with up and down being the most common movement, but side to side seen in Bulldogs as well. Dogs suffering with this condition generally see an onset of symptoms as early as 6 months of age with 3 years typically being the "cutoff" age during which signs occur.
Encouraging the Behavior
Many dogs shake their heads as a sign that they are experiencing some sort of irritation. There are many different problems that could be causing your dog to attempt to shake off his pain. Among the leading culprits are ear injuries or infections, a fall that causes a blow to the head, or balance issues affected by inner ear malfunctioning. If you suspect your Bulldog is suffering from an ear infection, there are several clues that will help you discern if this is indeed the case. Dogs with ear infections generally exhibit a black, waxy buildup within the outer ear. This wax is extremely noxious and depending on the source of the bacteria, can be strongly reminiscent of fermenting yeast. Not only does the wax invade the outer ear, but it also lies deep within the ear canal. Treatment involves antibiotics and proper ear cleaning on a daily basis until the infection is properly resolved. If you feel your Bulldog's head shaking might be due to an ear infection, it is important that you take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. It is critical that you never insert an instrument into your dog's ear canal. It is deeper and more curved than you might think. If you were to puncture the eardrum, it is incredibly painful for your dog. It is best to leave any treatment until your veterinarian can properly assess the condition and teach you the proper method for ear cleaning.
Other Solutions and Considerations
A lesser concern in dogs who engage in hearty head shaking is the possibility of developing aural hematomas. Aural hematomas occur when the blood vessels in the ear leather burst and flood the ear flap with fluid. While this condition is not life-threatening, it is both unsightly and uncomfortable for your dog. Treatment includes waiting for the fluid to drain on its own or surgery. Both methods are equally effective; however, they also leave your dog's ear gnarled in a fashion reminiscent of the cauliflower ears often seen in boxing professionals. Of course, your dog may simply be shaking his head to remove something he finds irritating within it. If you most frequently see him heartily shaking away after a bath, it is highly possible that your dog is simply trying to flush water out from his ears.
Does your Bulldog like to give his head a good shake every once in a while? If your Bulldog frequently engages in this behavior, it is important to seek veterinary assistance to help him find relief. In most cases, it is a simple problem to treat; however, if a larger problem is at work, you will be glad that you sought professional advice swiftly.