Dogs love to shake, even when they’re not wet. While many humans are familiar with the “shake off” that dogs do, they might not know why they do it or what it means. Despite popular belief, this action isn’t completely random either. So, why do dogs randomly shake off and is it a normal, healthy behavior?
Why Do Dogs Shake Off?
Dogs love to shake off more than seems necessary. They shake when they stand up, after you pet them, and especially after a bath. To us, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but we usually don’t question it. However, understanding your dog’s behaviors and body language can help you better communicate with them. So, here are a few common reasons that dogs shake off.
As most people know, the most common reason dogs shake is to dry off. After a bath or a walk in the rain, it can be uncomfortable for a dog to have a damp coat. So, dogs will sometimes shake off to remove some of that moisture. It’s not just a silly habit, but it’s also a part of their natural instincts!
Shaking off when wet is a survival instinct because in the wild, being wet could be dangerous or deadly for dogs. A soaking wet coat can be heavy for dogs, making it harder for them to run away from predators. This is especially true for dogs with longer or thicker coats. In the winter, moisture could make them extra cold and cause them to lose calories while waiting to dry for long periods of time. Shaking can help a dog remove up to 70% of the moisture, so it’s essential for dogs in the wild who don’t have humans and towels for assistance.
Dogs often shake off when they’re dry though too. This type of shaking off has a totally different explanation. In some cases, it could be their way of shaking off an intense emotion as a way to calm down. Most commonly, dogs do this when they’re overly scared or excited. For example, if your dog is leaving the vet, they may shake off as a sign of relief for making it out alive. Most dogs are scared of the vet, so it’s common that they’ll shake off after their vet appointments or after other stressful situations.
On the other hand, your dog might also shake off after a burst of energy or excitement. If they were just running around at the dog park or getting lots of attention, they might shake afterwards. It’s sort of their way of calming down or “walking it off” after a big event in their day. Dogs tend to get excited or anxious more easily than humans do, so even little events throughout the day could cause them to shake off.
It’s also common for dogs to shake after they wake up from a long nap or stand up after laying down for a while. Believe it or not, this is another example of a natural instinct. In the wild, dogs would commonly get bugs and dirt in their coats after a long nap. So, when wild dogs wake up, they shake off to clean their coats a bit. Even though your dog is now sleeping in a clean and comfortable space, they still have those instincts, which will cause them to shake off nearly every time they get up and go somewhere else.
Fluffing Out Their Fur
Not all reasons for shaking are deep and instinctual. Sometimes, dogs just want their fur to be fluffy and comfortable. Thus, you might notice your dog shake after being touched, brushed, or groomed. It doesn’t always mean they dislike the extra attention, but instead, it’s their way of resetting their coats to how they’re supposed to be.
Any extensive touching or grooming will likely cause your dog to shake. After all, if someone was messing with your hair, you’d probably fix it afterwards too. It’s common for dogs to shake after you clean their ears, brush out their tangles, or trim their hair. Shaking off is simply a way for your dog to feel more comfortable after continuous contact.
Shaking Off is Normal!
There are many different reasons as to why dogs shake off, and luckily, all of them are normal! So, if your dog shakes off frequently, there’s no need to panic. But now, at least you’ll know the reasoning behind your dog’s random shakes. Being a dog parent is always much easier when you understand why your dog behaves in certain ways like this.