Why Are My Dog’s Teeth Chattering?

Why Are My Dog’s Teeth Chattering?

Is your dog chattering their teeth like they are in an animated movie? As funny as it may look, there might be an underlying cause for it.

In most cases, a dog chattering its teeth can be harmless. They often do it when they are excited, nervous, or playful. They even chatter their teeth when they taste or smell something unfamiliar.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about a dog chattering its teeth. We will also guide you through what you should do when it happens. So, let’s dive in!

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth?

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth?
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Many factors cause chattering teeth in dogs. While most of these reasons are harmless, some may signal that something serious is happening with them.

Teeth-chattering is not breed-specific. Dogs of almost every breed have been known to chatter their teeth now and then. Some may chatter their teeth when they are excited or nervous. They may even do it when you are about to engage them in their favorite game.

Want to know some more common reasons behind the chattering of a dog’s teeth? We have listed them below for you to read.

1. Excitement And Joy

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? Excitement And Joy
Image by Andrés Carlo from Pixabay

Many people do not know this, but teeth chattering is typical behavior for dogs when they are excited. That is why you might notice that they start doing so when you play a game with them. They might also begin to chatter when you bring out their favorite toy.

Moreover, your dog might chatter its teeth when you come back home. This is their way of showing love and joy. They are trying to tell you how happy and excited they are to see you back. So, if your dog chatters their teeth when they are in a good mood, there is nothing to worry about.

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2. Stress Or Anxiety

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? Stress Or Anxiety
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On the other hand, a potential cause of chattering teeth in dogs is stress and anxiety. If your dog is feeling anxious, you might notice them constantly chattering their teeth. However, it will become more evident during a stressful event.

There can be many reasons that cause stress or anxiety to a dog. The most common one is their owner leaving the house or getting ready to go out. Also, If your dog is not a fan of fireworks, you may notice them chattering their teeth when they hear them.

While it can be highly alarming to watch, it is the only thing that helps the dog overcome its fear.

3. Low Body Temperature

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? Low Body Temperature
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Just like humans, dogs can also shiver and chatter their teeth when they are feeling cold. That’s because when your dog’s body temperature drops, the muscles in their body start twitching.

When your dog starts shivering, they will use all the muscles in their body, including their jaw and neck muscles. The twitching causes their teeth to rattle and make a chattering sound.

The dogs who live in cold climates and have shorter hair are more likely to chatter their teeth than those who live in warm climates. So, if you live in a colder area, it is best to keep your dog indoors.

4. To Remain Calm

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? To Remain Calm
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A dog may feel threatened or scared when interacting with other dogs. In such situations, it may use chattering as a form of displacement.

This helps the dog stay calm and composed. Moreover, the chattering will also distract the other dog, giving your pup more time to figure out what to do.

Although it is prevalent among dogs, you should still keep an eye on your furry friend while they are with other dogs. The best thing to do in such cases is to stop the interaction.

5. Smelling New Scents

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? Smelling New Scents
Image by Nicholas Demetriades from Pixabay

Unlike humans, dogs rely heavily on scents. The scents help them navigate the world, which is why it is essential for them.

That is also why dogs have a secondary scent detection system located near the nasal system. In addition, they have a duct on the top of their mouths, which helps them taste the smells.

Therefore, to bring new smells to their system, dogs move their jaws. As a result, they chatter their teeth when exposed to unknown scents.

6. Dental Problems

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? Dental Problems
Image by Dirk (Beeki®) Schumacher from Pixabay

Sometimes dogs can develop dental problems that may cause their teeth to chatter. Examples include broken teeth, gum diseases, and cavities that can be extremely painful for them.

When dogs are experiencing problems with their teeth, they often have trouble chewing as well. As a result, they eat less. Some may even eat in unusual ways.

The good news is that the majority of these dental problems can be treated. So, if you notice any symptoms, you should take your dog to the vet immediately.

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7. Epilepsy

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? Epilepsy
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Epilepsy is another prevalent cause of teeth chattering in dogs. In addition, a dog with epilepsy may experience frequent seizures and jaw clenching. Aside from that, your dog may slobber and foam at the mouth from time to time. Epilepsy is a serious condition that necessitates the dog owner’s close attention.

Epilepsy is a chronic disease that needs long-term therapy. So, if your dog shows signs of epilepsy, you should take them to the doctor right away.

8. Idiopathic Steroid-responsive Shaker Syndrome

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? Idiopathic Steroid-responsive Shaker Syndrome
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Also known as ‘White Dog Shaker Syndrome,’ it is a severe condition that requires your full attention. It usually occurs in smaller breeds, and the condition causes the dogs to shake, which also leads to chattering teeth.

While the reason behind the condition is unknown, it is most commonly seen in poodles and bichons. Other symptoms include difficulty walking, seizures, and constant blinking. It can be an extremely grave situation and requires treatment right away.

9. Pain

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? Pain
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Sometimes when a dog is in pain, he might chatter his teeth. It is their way of showing their owners that something is bothering them. However, most dogs try to avoid chattering their teeth while they are in pain. That is because they do not want to show that they are weak or suffering.

So, if you notice your dog chattering its teeth, it is likely because the pain has become unbearable for them. Some other symptoms of physical pain include anxiety and stress.

If you notice these signs of distress, take them to the vet at once.

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10. Old age

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth? Old age
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A dog’s teeth might clatter as it gets older. The cause for this, however, is yet unknown. Teeth chattering is more common in older dogs than it is in younger puppies.

If nothing appears to be wrong with your dog, it might just be due to their age. As a result, there is no need to be alarmed.

Why Does A Dog’s Mouth Chatter After Licking?

Why Does A Dog’s Mouth Chatter After Licking?
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You may notice that your dog’s mouth sometimes chatters after they have licked something. Are you wondering why that is? Is it something to be concerned about?

Well, the good news is that there is no need to worry. Sometimes, a dog’s mouth chatters as a reflex after it has licked something because its senses of smell and taste are much stronger than ours.

In addition, they are likely using their above-mentioned secondary scent detection system, which can cause their teeth to chatter. 

How Can You Prevent Teeth Chattering?

How Can You Prevent Teeth Chattering?
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If you are not comfortable with your dog’s teeth chattering, you can try to prevent it. If the cause behind the chattering is anxiety or stress, aim to avoid situations that frighten or stress them out.

However, if the cause is somewhat more severe, we recommend that you consult a professional veterinarian who will tell you how to treat it. Finally, make sure that you take your dog for regular dental check-ups to prevent problems with their teeth.

When Should You Take Your Dog To A Veterinarian?

When Should You Take Your Dog To A Veterinarian?
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Focus on how frequently your dog chatters their teeth. In some cases, chattering can be harmless and out of joy, while in others, it could be a reason for an underlying medical condition.

Some of these include neurological degenerations and periodontal diseases. Similarly, if the chattering comes out of nowhere, then it may also be a sign that your dog is distressed or in pain.

In case the chattering doesn’t stop or starts happening too frequently, do not ignore it. Instead, visit a vet to eliminate the possibility of a serious health issue. A vet will also help you identify the actual cause of the chattering and whether it is something to be concerned about.


It’s a strange-looking noise, isn’t it? There is nothing worse than hearing your dog’s teeth chattering or its jaw clicking. The sound is unsettling, and you might begin to wonder what this sound means. Does it mean your dog is feeling pain?

While it regularly happens without any underlying issue, some occasions need particular consideration and the attention of a professional. As a result, make sure to keep an eye out for such problems and not hesitate to take steps as soon as possible.

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