Commonly called the “Gentle Giant” or the “Apollo of Dogs,” the Great Dane is a large and noble dog. Although he looks terribly imposing and sometimes even scary, the Great Dane is affectionate, sweet, and is gentle with children. Originally bred to hunt wild boar, the dog’s ferociousness to track down large and wild animals has eventually bred out of the Dane. Today, he is a gentle creature that gets along well with other humans, dogs, and pets. Gifted with an athletic and muscular body, he has a long and narrow head, a graceful neck, and ears which are commonly cropped. If you have a Great Dane in your home, one of the things you will notice is that he will chatter his teeth. Why so?
The Root of the Behavior
A lot of people are curious about the Great Dane’s habit of chattering his teeth. The noise produced when the Dane does this is similar to the sound produced when somebody is cold. The teeth rapidly click against each other repeatedly for a few hours. This should not be confused with snapping because snapping only happens when the dog’s mouth deliberately bites the air when he is feeling threatened, irritated, or if he is feeling protective. This is a way for the dog to tell the other dog or the person that he has teeth and he is not afraid to use them if need be. Cold is one of the reasons for your Great Dane’s chattering teeth. Although this is most commonly seen in smaller breeds that lose body heat more rapidly compared to larger dogs, Great Danes are no exception. With their thin hair coat, they can get cold too.
Your Great Dane may also chatter his teeth when he is excited. You see this manifested when you get home from work and your dog excitedly jumps around and chatters his teeth. When your dog is anticipating a treat or enjoys car rides with you, you may see him chattering his teeth before boarding the car. Anxiety can cause teeth chattering too. People experience a similar feeling of what is sometimes described as shivers or butterflies which cause them to shake or tremble. If your Great Dane is displaying teeth chattering because of anxiety, you will see a few other symptoms such as nervousness, pacing, and panting. Pain or discomfort is another likely cause of your dog chattering his teeth. As with anxiety, there are other symptoms which your dog may exhibit such as panting, limping, flinching, and having his tail tucked between his legs. It is important that you take note of the other symptoms so as to know the possible causes.
Encouraging the Behavior
If you see obvious reasons that your dog is cold and is chattering his teeth, warm him up right away by taking him indoors. You can also invest in a good sweater so that you can him toasty and warm whenever he is cold. Your Great Dane can be revealing his emotions by chattering his teeth. The behavior can be an indication of good or bad stress. Your dog may chatter his teeth when you are about to take him out for a walk or when you are preparing his meal. It just means that he is excited and is anticipating something good to follow.
This is something similar to a young child who cannot stay still in anticipation of something great and there is really nothing you cannot do with this but just let it be. If you believe that the reason is anxiety or stress, you must take a look at the situation which are causing undue stress on your dog and make sure to avoid these situations. For example, if your Great Dane starts chattering his teeth when he sees a stranger approaching, remove him from the situation as soon as possible and get him socialization training so he won’t be anxious with strangers.
Other Solutions and Considerations
An advanced periodontal disease is also something which can result in teeth chattering in your Great Dane. This health issue causes a lot of anguish and pain to dogs in general and sometimes the pain can be unbearable. You should take a good look at your dog's mouth and be on the lookout for inflamed gums and broken teeth. Give especially close attention to the lower gums because this is where most problems will occur. Seek medical attention immediately from a veterinary professional if you see any oral concerns. Once your dog is relieved, you will notice that the teeth chattering will stop.
Teeth chattering, although not life-threatening, is a cause for concern. The reasons can be as simple as a drop in body temperature but can also be as serious as various medical issues. It is vital that you take note of the other symptoms accompanying teeth chattering so you at least have a good idea of what is going on and proceed to a solution.
By a Chow Chow lover Jhoana Carla de Toro
Published: 04/14/2018, edited: 01/30/2020