4 min read


Why Do Dogs Teeth Chatter



4 min read


Why Do Dogs Teeth Chatter




Teeth chattering is often associated with the sensation of feeling cold, but does that apply to your pup as well? Well, in some cases the answer is yes. On the other hand, teeth chattering in dogs can also be associated with numerous other reasons that may require your immediate attention. If you’ve ever heard your dog’s teeth chattering, you know it doesn’t sound quite like yours do.

Vets recommend checking your dog’s teeth and mouth on a regular basis to determine and prevent any potential risks. Normally, the chattering of teeth is not dangerous and can actually be the sign of happiness and excitement, so let’s find out more about why dogs’ teeth chatter.

The Root of the Behavior

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of chattering teeth? Usually, humans do it when they experience coldness or anxiety, so could that be that case for dogs as well? Obviously, when temperatures go down, your dog’s body will begin to shiver involuntarily, especially if your pooch is a short-haired breed or a small dog like a Chihuahua, Jack Russell, MinPin, or Yorkie.

In some cases, a dog chattering his teeth could be the sign of a serious medical issue, in strong correlation with your dog’s dental health. If he’s suffering from oral pain, as a direct cause of a previous injury, you will start to notice his teeth rapidly clicking against each other, involuntarily. It could also be a sign of enamel loss, which makes the teeth more sensitive. 

Heredity and breed also play a big part in your dog’s teeth chattering. You will more likely get to see this in the Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frise, and Maltese, which are more prone to suffer from this condition. On the other hand, teeth chattering is certainly not a breed-specific tendency. It all depends on the cause of this symptom, so vets recommend you pay close attention to when this happens and in what context.

Dogs who are extremely happy or excited could also be displaying such behavior. If it occurs during playtime, the moment you arrive home from work, or when he is about to go out for a walk, it’s probably because he simply cannot contain his excitement. So there’s nothing to worry about it here. At the same time, your furry friend might also be chattering his teeth when he experiences stress, pain, or frustration.

Some of the underlying health issues that can affect dogs, in this case, are epilepsy, multisystem neuronal degeneration, focal motor seizures, white dog shaker syndrome, and old age. A trip to the vet will easily rule out all other dangers and address the real issue. In some occasions, dogs will chatter their teeth when they perceive a threat, when they smell or taste something interesting or simply because…they’re in the mood for love.

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Encouraging the Behavior

What’s important is that you keep an eye on your pooch and pay attention to the situation in which he starts chattering his teeth. This is important because it will help your vet establish a correct diagnosis and provide proper treatment. Obviously, if you think your dog is too cold, make sure you find him a warmer spot in the house or get him a cute winter sweater when the weather gets…ruff.

Make sure you examine his teeth on a regular basis, as part of a grooming routine, take him to regular physical checkups and encourage him to be happy. Let him have his share of playtime and outdoor activity every day, and notice if he’s displaying this behavior when he’s around other dogs or cats. Usually, dogs will involuntarily start to chatter their teeth when they’re getting ready to tackle a threatening situation.

He will also start to chatter his teeth when he senses you are in potential danger or sniffs another dog’s urine. So no need to worry…it usually comes as a natural behavior for them, which can sometimes go unnoticed. It can be alarming at first, but if you take good care of him and make sure he gets his regular checkup, you will help him in the long run.

Other Solutions and Considerations

On rare occasions, teeth chattering can be the sign of a more serious neurological condition, causing the teeth to chatter impulsively. Which is why, seeing a veterinarian as soon as possible is the best way to deal with the issue. Before you start to get too worried, consider the fact that vets have a variety of treating methods available and can control and manage their condition in the long run.

To make sure your dog has good dental hygiene, use toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specially for dogs. You can also provide him with chew toys that are safe. This will help establish a healthy routine and help clean their teeth naturally by chewing.


So next time you hear that teeth chattering noise from your dog, make sure you pay attention to when and where it’s happening. As long as you rule out the most common causes of the behavior, you don’t have anything to worry about. If you notice anything suspicious, a visit to the vet will help ease your worries and bring back your doggie’s glistening smile back in no time.

Written by a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 02/12/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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