Dog Head Tilt Causes

A interesting problem that can occur in dogs is known as a head tilt. This condition is very noticeable in a dog. The animal will be almost constantly holding its head at an angle, as if trying to flush something out of the ear. You may also find that your dog has some redness around one of the ears. It could also be vomiting and falling over due to a severe case of vertigo. There also will be a lack of appetite and some pain when the dog attempts to open its mouth to chew. This condition is extremely dangerous to the dog's health and should be dealt with immediately. The first thing is to figure out what exactly is causing your dog to experience such an odd condition.

Common Causes

The most common cause of head tilt is an ear infection, often caused by mites or bacteria. There could also have been some trauma to the head that has recently happened. If the head trauma was severe enough, there could be a punctured ear drum. All of these are basic problems that do happen regularly. Depending on when the condition is noticed, they can range from mild to severe. You should immediately investigate further if you find your dog is suffering from head tilt.

Uncommon Causes

Head tilt in a dog is not always associated with simple problems. There are occasional times where the tilt is caused by a tumor in the ear. The tumor may be benign or malignant, so the onset of cancer is a risk at this point. It could also be that cancer has already set in and the ear drum is infected with cancerous tissue.

The dog could have some inflammation of the brain, which is an extremely dangerous situation. Medical complications such as an under-active thyroid can come into play.

There is no clear way to visibly determine which one of these causes are creating the head tilt in the dog. Various tests taken on the dog are the most accurate way to figure out what is wrong.


You will want to gather up the complete medical history of the dog and have a physical examination performed. Blood and urine tests should be taken to rule out any infections or diseases. A neurological scan is highly recommended to determine if your dog is suffering from any damage to the brain. X-rays of the skull should be scheduled to clearly rule out any head trauma that could be causing vertigo. In some cases, a spinal tap may be needed to evaluate the spinal fluid.

Head tilt does not seem like a serious condition, but the causes of it can be extremely life threatening to the dog. You must approach the situation seriously and swiftly determine what is wrong with the animal.