A dog chattering their teeth is an unusual sight, and it can be pretty alarming to some dog owners. This is especially true if you have never seen your dog chattering their teeth before. The good news is that most of the time teeth chattering in dogs is not necessarily a sign of a medical emergency.
While teeth chattering can be a sign of pain, seizures, or a neurological disorder, these are not the only causes. Sometimes dogs will also chatter their teeth simply because they are feeling cold, nervous, or excited. Smelling strong scents can sometimes bring on this response in dogs as well.
Here we will be listing all the possible causes of teeth chattering in dogs. We will also be explaining if this behavior is normal and when you should see a vet. Alright, let’s get right into it.
There are many potential causes of teeth chattering in dogs. We will be describing all these causes and how common they are. Here are the eight possible reasons why your dog is chattering their teeth.
1. The Dog is Cold
Like humans, dogs will sometimes chatter their teeth when they are feeling very cold. This will often be accompanied by shivering. This is especially common in freezing temperatures and when a dog is wet.
While this is not necessarily a sign of a medical emergency, it is a sign that a dog could have developed hypothermia or is in danger of developing hypothermia very soon. As a result, you should take a dog into a warm room and cover them in towels or blankets when they are shivering like this. It is a good idea to give your vet a call just in case as well.
2. The Dog is Excited
Some dogs will also chatter their teeth when they are very excited. While this is not an extremely common response to excitement in dogs, it can still happen. If this is a normal behavior for your dog, they will likely do it all the time. If you have determined that excitement is the cause of your dog’s teeth chattering, then you likely have nothing to worry about. However, if you notice this behavior starting when the dog had previously never chattered their teeth, a visit to the vet may be in order.
3. The Dog Smells Something Intense
Sometimes dogs will chatter their teeth right after they have smelled an extremely intense smell such as vinegar or lemons. While not extremely common, it is the most likely cause if your dog chatters their teeth after smelling things with very pungent scents.
4. The Dog’s Mouth Hurts
Pain in the mouth is unfortunately one of the more common causes of teeth chattering in dogs. Most of the time this pain is the result of periodontal disease. Some of the most common signs of periodontal disease in dogs include:
- Foul smelling breath
- Bleeding gums
- Loose or missing teeth
- Noticeable plaque and tartar buildup
- Gingerly eating or only eating on one side of the mouth
- Not chewing or playing with toys as they used to
Some other medical conditions can cause pain in the mouth as well. However, they are usually less common than dental disease. If you suspect that your dog is chattering their teeth because they are in pain, then it is best to take them to the vet immediately.
5. The Dog Has an Upset Stomach
Sometimes dogs will chatter their teeth in response to severe stomach upset. This is usually paired with severe vomiting and diarrhea. As a result, you should take your dog to the vet immediately if they are chattering their teeth and also appear to be sick.
6. The Dog is Anxious or Stressed
Extreme anxiety and stress can potentially cause teeth chattering and shaking in dogs. While this is not necessarily a medical emergency, prolonged stress or anxiety can cause medical problems, and it can also severely affect a dog’s quality of life. As a result, it is a good idea to consult with your vet if your dog has frequent bouts of anxiety like this. They may be able to prescribe your dog some anti-anxiety medication that will help.
7. The Dog Has a Joint or Muscle Issue
Joint and muscle issues in and around a dog’s jaw could potentially cause them to chatter their teeth. This is most prevalent in dogs with joint and muscle disorders. It is best to consult with your vet for advice if you suspect that your dog has something wrong with their joints or muscles.
8. The Dog Has a Neurological Disorder or is Having a Seizure
The most alarming cause of teeth chattering in dogs are seizures and neurological disorders. Luckily, these things are fairly rare for dogs to experience. Still, it may be a good idea to take note of the signs of epilepsy in dogs just in case. Here are some of the most common symptoms of epilepsy in dogs.
- Seizures (can appear differently, but most commonly involves falling down and having convulsions. Most seizures last between a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the severity.)
- Behavioral differences after and before a seizure
Other conditions can cause seizures besides epilepsy. If your dog is having a seizure, it is best to call your vet or an emergency vet immediately. This is especially true if your dog has never had a seizure before or if the seizure is lasting longer than it usually does.
Some other neurological disorders can cause both seizures and just teeth chattering as well. However, these are much rarer and the symptoms vary greatly. It is crucial that you see your vet if your dog is exhibiting other unusual symptoms along with teeth chattering.
While not all instances of teeth chattering in dogs require you to rush them to the vet, some cases definitely warrant an immediate vet visit. Here are some instances where you should take your dog to the vet for teeth chattering.
- Your dog has had a seizure (emergency)
- Your dog is showing signs of hypothermia (emergency)
- Your dog is showing signs of a severe gastrointestinal problem (emergency)
- Your dog is showing signs of a neurological disorder (urgent)
- Your dog is showing signs of a muscle or joint disorder (urgent)
- Your dog is showing signs of mouth pain (urgent)
- Your dog is showing signs of severe anxiety (urgent)
If your dog is chattering their teeth suddenly in the Little Silver, NJ area, Little Silver Animal Hospital is here to help. Our team of expert veterinarians can deduce the probable cause of your dog’s teeth chattering and discuss treatment options, if necessary. Give us a call today at (732) 842-8266, or Request an Appointment Online.