A dog shaking water off its body.

Why Do Dogs Shake Water off Their Bodies?

Every pet owner has suffered a tragic after-bath shakedown. More often than not, we are in the line of fire and end up drenched. Is your dog doing this to punish you, or is it trying to show off its newly cleaned fur?  In other words, why do dogs shake water off their bodies? 

Most times, dogs shake water off their bodies to dry off. They also do it to keep themselves warm, because the water weighs them down and in rare cases because they might be injured or suffering from shampoo poisoning. In that case, they’ll keep shaking even after the water is gone.

The Science Of Dogs Shaking Water Off Their Bodies

A dog shaking water off its body outside.
Shake, shake, shake!

Dogs can shake their bodies with incredible speed and force. This ability is due in part to the unique anatomy of a dog’s skin and fur, which is both water-repellent and breathable. 

The shaking action also triggers the release of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are chemicals that help to relieve stress and anxiety in dogs. Overall, the science of dogs shaking water off their bodies is a testament to their remarkable capabilities.

Other Reasons Why Dogs Shake Water Off Their Bodies

Dogs shake the water off their bodies for various reasons. The major reason is to prevent hypothermia (low body temperature) and keep themselves warm. If your dog doesn’t like bath time, this shakedown could also be a way of relieving tension after the unpleasant event. Also, shaking is sometimes a sign of excitement in most dogs. 

Dogs also shake the water off their bodies because the water weighs them down. Shaking off the excess water makes your dog feel lighter and freer.

In rare cases, shaking after a bath could also be a sign of shampoo poisoning or injury. Note that in such cases, the shaking will persist even after the water has dried off your dog’s fur. You should always get your dog’s shampoo approved by the vet before using it. Also, read the instructions and use it appropriately.

Do Samoyeds Love To Shake Water Off Their Bodies?

Yes! Samoyeds are usually not too fond of water. Like other dog breeds, they do this to dry off and relieve bath tension. Based on how they tend to run off in excitement after, I’d say they enjoy doing this!

Should My Dog Always Shake the Water Off Its Body?

Yes. Most, if not all, dogs shake the water off their bodies after a bath, a swim, or rolling around in the mud. As we noted earlier, this is an energy-efficient way for them to get warm and get rid themselves of debris on their fur. 

In breeds with heavy coats, like the Samoyed, the water might even be heavy enough to cause them pain. The weight pulls at their fur and makes them uncomfortable. Hence, they shake off the water to relieve themselves of the pulling pressure.

How Often Do Dogs Shake Water Off Their Bodies? 

Dogs do this as often as needed. The frequency of shaking can vary based on the thickness of your dog’s coat and the amount of water on its fur. So, whenever you bathe your dog or take it for a swim, get prepared for the much-needed shake. 

Why Would Dogs Shake Themselves When They Are Not Wet?

Here’s why.


Ever gotten a shiver before a speaking event? It’s almost the same thing with dogs. According to Medical News Today, more than 70% of our loved fur buds display some form of anxiety. Unfortunately, shaking is one of the most common signs of anxiety and stress in dogs. 

If you suspect your dog is anxious or stressed, find and remove the stress-causing agent. Other common signs of anxiety include shaking, pacing, and lip-licking. 

If anxiety is a constant thing with your pooch, consult your veterinarian.

Skin Conditions

When dogs have skin conditions such as itching and irritation, they usually shake to relieve the discomfort. It’s important to take your pet to the vet if you notice any excessive shaking.

Many things can cause skin infections in dogs. Some common causes include allergies, fleas, ticks, mites, and other parasites. Fungi or bacteria, poor hygiene, and even stress can also cause skin infections. According to PetMD, Spaniels, American Bulldogs, and Labradors are a few breeds that are prone to skin infections.

Ear Infections 

Ear infections can be a real pain for our furry friends, causing discomfort and pain. This often leads to constant head shaking. Ear infections in dogs can occur for many reasons, but they are mostly caused by allergies, bacteria, or yeast.

When the ear canal becomes inflamed, it can be uncomfortable for your dog. Itching, redness, discharge, and odor often go with this discomfort. Shaking their head is a natural response to try and ease this discomfort.

If your dog is shaking its head, it’s important to take it to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. In the meantime, try to keep your dog’s ears dry and clean to prevent any further discomfort. You can also try home remedies for ear infections as well, although we recommend speaking with a vet first before doing so.

Other Ways To Help Your Dog Dry Off 

While dogs do a good job of drying themselves off with their fur-shaking, they can’t get rid of all the moisture that way. Using pet-specific drying tools like a grooming dryer or a water-absorbent towel will help to remove moisture. Make sure to keep the dryer at a safe distance from your pet’s skin to prevent burns, though.

Remember to always be patient and gentle with your dog during the grooming process as well. The grooming process should be a time of bonding for you and your pet.

Conclusion: Why Do Dogs Shake Water Off Their Bodies?

Dogs have a fascinating way of drying off! It’s an instinct that helps them maintain their body temperature and avoid infection. Understanding why dogs shake the water off their bodies can help you take better care of your furry friend. This way, they stay happy and healthy. 

So, were you surprised by this answer? Have you noticed anything else when dogs shake the water off their bodies? Let us know in the comments below!

Toluwalase Soneye
Toluwalase Soneye
Toluwalase Soneye is a 4th-year veterinary medical student at the University of Ibadan. She is a pet writer who enjoys creating content that promotes animal welfare and educates pet owners. In her free time, she enjoys watching sitcoms and anime and cuddling her 2-year-old Rottweiler, Chester.