Other Issues -
When it comes to continuous head shaking, there are a slew of issues that may be the cause. These range from ear infections to polyps to mites. Here are some signs and symptoms that along with head shaking, will let you know that your Boxer is having a medical issue (Even one of these is a red flag to seek veterinary care):
- Pawing or scratching the ear(s)
- When you look at the inner flap, it looks red and irritated
- Your Boxer also holds his head at an odd angle
- Intolerance to touching the head/ears
Please remember that when in doubt about your Boxer and if you notice signs that something seems off, it is your signal to bring your puppy or dog to the vet. No matter the cause for the head shaking… allergies, mites, infection and so on, the sooner you obtain professional veterinarian care, the easier it is to resolve the problem and the less your Boxer dog will suffer discomfort.
Head Shaking Tremors
Now that we have already touched on attention seeking behavior and some medical issues that can usually be resolved with a vet visit, it is time to talk about a rather enigmatic and most certainly troubling issue: Boxer dog head tremors in which the head moves in a bobbing motion.
There are 2 main reasons for this: Idiopathic head tremors and Paroxysmal Dyskinesia. With Idiopathic head tremors, unfortunately the 'idiopathic' part of that means 'cause unknown'. With Paroxysmal Dyskinesia, this is a condition of involuntary movements that are NOT related to seizures… And there is no known cure.
With both of these issues, much more research needs to be done and a Boxer should have a complete physical and blood work to rule out seizures. Tests should include testing for calcium and glucose levels, checking liver enzymes, platelets counts and albumen. In addition, taking a video of your Boxer during a head tremor episode will assist the veterinarian in making a diagnosis.
With this issue, the Boxer dog's head moves very rapidly, essentially bobbing and this can be side to side or up and down. The dog has no control over this and it can come on suddenly, often leading owners to panic as they see their Boxer stuck in this sort of tremor.
With both Idiopathic head tremors and Paroxysmal Dyskinesia, the little research that has been done shows that there is no damage or harm that comes to the Boxer. Many Boxers are aware of their surroundings and even able to listen to commands
during an episode of head tremors.
They do not appear to be in pain and some do not even seem aware that their head is shaking or bobbing. With Paroxysmal Dyskinesia, there may also be visible shaking in the neck muscles.
With both conditions, the typical time that shaking lasts is 3 minutes. This sort of issue may begin at any age and affects puppies as much as it does older, adult dogs. Neither condition is necessarily chronic; with many Boxer dogs the condition may be acute, resolving on its own as suddenly as it began.
As mentioned above, do have your Boxer's veterinarian rule out Boxer dog seizures
… and it will be important to have an experienced, reputable vet for this since some vets incorrectly diagnose head tremors as seizures and put dogs on phenobarbital. The phenobarbital does not resolve the issue AND with long term use it can cause liver damage.
It is highly recommended to keep a detailed journal to log exactly when the head shaking occurs. This can be incredibly helpful as you may see a pattern develop. The range of triggers for this sort of episode varies wildly - BUT once an owner pinpoints the trigger, it can often be avoided.