The Mystery Behind Dog Teeth Chattering (Surprising Causes And What To Do About it!)

Dog Teeth Chattering
Written by Graeme Hall

We as humans tend to associate teeth chattering as a sign of being cold, but for your dog it can be a sign of something completely different, and sometimes, the cause can be serious. There are many reasons behind dog teeth chattering from something as simple as a mood swing, periodontal deformities, being protective, and yes if they're cold.

So if you're worried about your pooch keep on reading, because in this article we will take a closer look at the causes and what you can do about this disturbing, strange behavior.

Why Do Dog's Teeth Chatter?

Chattering teeth in dogs in pretty common and some breeds are more prone to this condition than others. Your dog may show no signs until one day you'll notice their teeth clicking together very rapidly and sometimes it can be quite loud. In most cases, it isn't a sign of anything serious so don't get alarmed if you notice your dog acting in this manner.

Over Excitement

It’s not uncommon for dog teeth chattering and shaking to occur when they're overexcited. If your pooch is only chattering their teeth the minute you step through the door, the chances are they are just happy to see you, they might even pee a little! As they calm down, you'll notice that the teeth chattering will surpass.

Your pooch might enjoy their playtime so much that they can't contain their joy, you might even notice they shake too. There's nothing to worry about, your furry buddy is having a great time, and this uncontrollable behavior is coming from something positive.

Reactions to Smell And Taste

Dogs can become overcome with smell and taste, their little brains go into meltdown (not literally). Many dogs will display chattering teeth as a reaction to a strong smell or taste, it's often associated with something they like and might even be followed with foaming or drooling from the mouth.

Even a female dog in heat passing by can cause your male dog to chatter their teeth uncontrollably. Either way, dog teeth chattering or even shaking in these situations should not be a reason for concern and is something impulsive and not something they can control.

Extreme Anxiety or Distress

We all know dogs don't talk (apart from Brian the Martini drinking dog from the Family Guy), so one way they can express how they're feeling is to chatter their teeth. If your pooch is in pain, chattering teeth is one way they express their discomfort. Something as simple as an upset stomach or somewhere else not visible could cause your dog's discomfort, it's a good telltale sign to look out for which can give you an insight on your dog's health.

Sometimes dog teeth chattering can be a sign that your pooch is going through a tough time and they’re simply upset and distressed. They might be in a bad mood, and this loud and bothersome behavior might just be a way for them to get rid of their frustrations. In these situations, it’s best to let your dog vent out their frustration.

A Warning To Other Dogs

Many dogs use their chattering teeth as a way of communicating with other dogs. This typically happens when they come across another dog entering their territory. This behavior has a name, and it’s called displacement language. If left, the chattering teeth can escalate to where your dog will show their teeth and then possibly attack the intruding dog.

If you notice that your dog is showing these signs when they're near another dog stay calm and try to distract their focus. You can also slowly pull them away if they're on a leash.

Your Dog Might Be Cold

Even though there could be a long list of reasons why your dog is jabbering their teeth let’s not automatically overlook the obvious. Your dog might have rapid chomper movements because they're cold, this can especially be the case if you live in a cold climate and your breed of dog isn't the best breed for cooler environments.

If you suspect that this could be the cause for your canine buddies chattering teeth, try moving his bed closer to a warmer spot, or even buy a dog sweater to give him an extra layer against the cold.

dog showing teeth

It Could Be a Sign of Something More Serious

Most of the time you shouldn't be concerned with this strange behavior but dog teeth chattering and shaking can be the sign of something more serious, and there are a number of different conditions that can cause the teeth to chatter impulsively, let's take a closer look.

Dental problems are pretty common in dogs especially if they're regularly given human treats which are high in sugar. If left untreated periodontal disease can cause your dog’s teeth the chatter due to the discomfort your pooch is experiencing. You should always pay particular attention to the teeth - why not include a brief check as part of their overall grooming routine?

Certain breeds are more prone to this strange chattering behavior than others. For example, Bichon Frises, Cocker Spaniels, and Maltese are known to suffer from multisystem degeneration. Chattering teeth might be a symptom of this condition along with balance issues and muscle tremors.

Chattering teeth could also be a sign that your pooch has epilepsy. Epilepsy isn't just limited to humans, and many dogs suffer from this condition, in fact, it’s more prevalent in dogs than humans. If your dog is suffering from seizures, take your K9 buddy to the veterinarian where they will run some tests and hopefully rule out any causes that could be life-threatening.

Always Pay Close Attention

Chattering dog teeth, although strange, is pretty common. However, with so many causes it's important that you try to determine what might cause the continuous clicking of teeth, particularly if it occurs out of the blue in everyday, ordinary situations.

Ultimately, understanding why your dog chatters their teeth can help them in the long run. If you think the cause could be something more serious, it doesn't hurt to book an appointment with your vet where they can rule out anything else that could cause this loud and sometimes bothersome jaw chattering.

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About the author

Graeme Hall

Graeme is the founder of Doggytastic! which is where he blogs about dog training, health, nutrition and anything else related to keeping a dog happy and healthy. Want to know a little bit more? Make sure to check out his full bio.

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