Dog Teeth Chattering: 3 Surprising Causes (& What To Do!) | Herepup
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Dog Teeth Chattering: 3 Surprising Causes (& What To Do!)

When our teeth chatter, it’s a tell-tale sign that we’re cold and we need to bundle up or crank the thermostat. For our four-legged friends, however, there are numerous reasons why such rapid chomper movements may be occurring. It’s important to know why the behavior may be happening.

How Does a Dog’s Teeth Sound When They Chatter?

If you’re a novice dog owner, you should now that a dog’s chattering teeth don't sound quite as pronounced as your teeth do. It more or less registers as a low, rattling hum emanating from his mouth. This teeth chattering could be accompanied by a quivering jaw.

Behavioral Reasons Behind a Dog’s Chattering Teeth

One of the reasons why a dog may start chattering his teeth is because he’s excited. The source of this excitement could be something as simple as you coming home from work, or it could be due to him being overcome by exuberance in the middle of playtime or quality time. If your doggie starts involuntary clacking his teeth while you are giving him affection or playing fetch, don't worry - he’s enjoying your company! 

On the other side of the coin, a dog’s chattering teeth may be a sign that he’s prepping for a threatening situation. This could be interpreted as a means of self-protection, or it could be because he senses you or another person that he has a strong relationship with is in danger. This behavior might manifest itself most readily when there is another dog or a cat nearby.

The scent of other dogs may also cause a dog’s teeth to chatter. This reaction could be especially prevalent amongst male dogs that are near a female dog in heat. Chattering teeth could also happen when a dog sniff’s another dog’s urine, but that has more to do with the acrid odor of pee than anything else.

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Yes, it Could Mean that Your Pooch is Cold

Just because there are multiple behavioral reasons behind chattering canine teeth, let’s not automatically overlook the obvious. A dog may start involuntarily shaking his chompers because he’s cold. This may especially be the case if you live in a cold climate, and you own a dog that wasn't bred for such heartiness, such as a short-haired breed.

Obviously, if you suspect your pooch is freezing, get him to a warmer spot. If this behavior repeats itself, and you have pinpointed its cause to the temperature, consider purchasing a dog sweater to help your little buddy ward off the chills. If he likes to spend a lot of time outdoors, make sure you have a comfortable place inside your home where he can hang out when the weather gets too rough.

It Could Be a Sign of a Serious Medical Issue

Dog Teeth Chattering 2

In some cases, a dog chattering his teeth could be an indicator of one of many different ailments that demand your attention. Some of these conditions could be directly related to dental issues, like periodontal disease. You should check for signs of these ailments whenever you clean his teeth as part of his overall grooming process.

Some of the medical conditions that may be linked to a dog’s teeth chattering may be related to heredity and breed. For instance, Cocker Spaniels, Bichon Frises, and Malteses are presupposed to suffer a multisystem degeneration. Chattering teeth may be a symptom of this condition, along with muscle tremors and balance issues.

Chattering teeth could also be a sign that your pooch has epilepsy. This condition is more common amongst the canine set than it is for humans, and it could be caused by one of several different reasons, from food allergies to tumors. Paying attention to what you dog eats is very important. It’s also wise to take your pooch to the vet if he starts having seizures to ensure the cause isn’t symptomatic of a life-threatening issue.

Pay Close Attention to This Behavior!

Chattering dog teeth is a behavior that may be a bit more subtle compared to other things your dog may do. However, because it is somewhat of a layered behavior that could carry several different implications, it's important that you keep a watchful eye on your pooch when his teeth start quickly rattling, particularly if it starts occurring in usual situations. Doing so may help your dog, in the long run, more than you may realize.


Laura Harris

Dr. Laura Harris is our resident dog health expert. She started to fact-check dog health-related information for HerePup during her internship and contributes since then. Her expertise is in dog nutrition, senior dog care, especially critical care medicine and internal medicine.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments
Judy Doyle - May 9, 2017

Beau, our Tweeny Daschund began chattering his teeth about six o’clock last night. This morning he continued to chatter and he refused to eat. He acted like he had a stroke. He hung his head and his tail dragged across the floor. This is NOT Beau!

I am a Christian. I believe God can do anything. So I held Beau this morning and prayed this prayer:

Oh, heavenly Father, trouble has entered my life uninvited, unwelcomed. I am bothered and burdened and today I feel fearful for Beau. You know the problem plaguing me just now. Satan desires to sift me like wheat.

Lord, I pray for the strength to trust You with every situation, to cast my care on You, knowing You care for me.

Lord, strengthen my faith and help trust You with all my heart. Grant me the needed patience, peace and wisdom for this hour.

Show me how to act, what to say and when to remain silent. Turn this burden into a blessing in Your timing and in Your way. How this can happen I know not. But this I know: You at the God of Providence and Peace. You are Sovereign King over all my hours and days. Finally, Lord may this trial become a testimony. Help me to point others to you at every point as you speed Beau’s deliverance. I pray these things in the name of Him who gives me the victory. My Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

After I prayed, Beau jumped down off my lap, turned around bright eyed, sat up on his haunches the way he always does when he wants a treat and barked that wonderful little bark of his. He has completely stopped chattering and is back to his old self. God answered my prayer. God created all of us and our wonderful pets. He healed my Beau. Praise HIS NAME!!!!!

    Linda - June 1, 2017

    Beautiful prayer and awesome testimonial!! I am so glad to here Your Beau is doing better!

    Beth - July 21, 2017

    Amen. ☺
    How is Beau doing now?
    God can work miracles everywhere. We only have to ask Him and have faith.
    God Bless you both.

petpatiler - June 2, 2017

Very good article. Thank you.


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