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What is Jaw Chattering?

A dog may chatter his jaw for a variety of reasons, and you may first notice the signs of this behavior or symptom when you hear it. When a dog chatters his jaw, his teeth click together very rapidly and sometimes it can be quite loud and bothersome. 

A dog may chatter his jaw for a very short amount of time, like when they are excited, anxious, or cold. If a dog chatters his jaw for several days or if he has never done it before you should make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your pet may also show several different symptoms along with jaw chattering, and if so, it should not be ignored. 

A chattering jaw can be a sign of something serious, such as a neurological condition, or may be due to the temperature in the room being too cold (just as humans may do).  There are different reasons why this behavior or symptom may be taking place, and they include:

  • Neurological disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Cold
  • Dental condition

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Why Jaw Chattering Occurs in Dogs

A dog may chatter his teeth together, or his jaw, occasionally or more frequently than you would like him to. Several reasons why this could be happening are:

Neurological Disorders

Your pet may be having neurological issues, such as seizures. There are seizures that are not very noticeable, known as partial seizures. These types of seizures can make the jaw chatter. Other neurological conditions, such as the late stages of distemper, may be causing your dog to chatter his jaw.

Anxiety

Your dog may be overstressed or become nervous easily, and may chatter his teeth together or his jaw. Anxiety can occur due to a stressful home environment, a thunderstorm or fireworks, other loud noises, or when around unfamiliar dogs.

Cold

If your dog is cold, his teeth may chatter. Just as humans sometimes do in frigid temperatures, dogs that are out in the cold may have difficulty tolerating the temperature drop. If this is the case, you may not need a veterinary visit, just be sure to keep your dog warm.

Dental Condition

A dental condition may cause your dog to not want to bite down on his teeth or chew on food. He may also chatter his jaw as a response to the pain from a tooth abscess or gum infection. If your dog is a puppy, he may be teething and may also chatter his jaw.

What to do if your Dog is Jaw Chattering

If you notice your dog is chattering his jaw, make an appointment with your veterinarian. He may begin by doing an examination to check your companion’s eyes, pupil dilation, his jaw, and his gait when walking. These are preliminary neurological observations that he may choose to do. Your veterinarian may also ask questions about the jaw chattering, such as when your dog does it and when you first noticed the behavior. 

He may then perform a complete physical examination, complete with blood work, urinalysis, and biochemistry profile. These tests will check for any underlying health conditions your dog may have that may be causing his jaw to chatter. He may also perform a full dental examination and check for any teeth conditions, such as an abscess. He may also perform imaging on your pet’s jaw if he feels it is needed. 

Neurological testing may also be performed to see if your dog may be having seizures or other types of neurological issues. He may also test for distemper. Once all of the testing is complete, your veterinarian will be able to discern between something health-wise and an anxiety issue. He may also be able to conclude he is chattering due to excitement or being too cold.

Prevention of Jaw Chattering

Check and see if your dog chatters his teeth in the cold, or if he gets too excited or anxious. If this is the case, you may try to prevent situations from happening, or not worry about it at all. However, if his jaw chattering is a sign of a more serious condition, you may want to try to prevent it by making sure you seek proper treatment for your pet. Be sure to give him any medications on time, and observe his behaviors and monitor him. Your veterinarian can give you advice on how to prevent this issue from worsening. 

Regular dental check-ups are important. The veterinarian can assess any tooth or root damage before your dog suffers from too much pain, which may cause the jaw chattering. If he receives dental treatment be sure to learn how to properly care for him at home while he recovers.

Cost of Jaw Chattering

The cost of diagnosing and treating a seizure disorder in dogs may be $2500. If your veterinarian diagnoses an abscessed tooth, the expense to fix it may be approximately $1200.

Jaw Chattering Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Bandit
Husky
1 Year
Mild condition
-1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw twitch

My dog has been doing this jaw twitch, it's only one twitch and not a serious of repeated ones. Just one smack, he doesnt stick his tongue out or lip his lips. It almost seems like a dry mouth is all I thought. It has been a week or two now and been happening every day. I didnt think much of it, till recently because it has been awhile. He let me look into his mouth and his teeth for about 60 seconds, his gums look fine but there are two teeth(one on each side) in the back that have some light green on them, and his breath does smell bad. He has been cooped up a little more recently because the weather has turned bad, I had finals, and then got sick. I dont know if I should be concerned or if I'm just an over worried dog mom.

I should add that he eats normally, same amount, same times. Still wants to play tug a war.

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Zarly
Bullmastiff bullarib
1 Year
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw keeps spasming

I'm streseds out that my dog in pain I can't get a bloody vet opened today her jaw keeps spasming, she eating drinking seems okonoutsideis but something wrong I ferl it. I'm almost gougtotn take her to hospital and demand help.

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Dodger
Jack Russell Terrier
3 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Chattering jaw, licking chops

We think our boy is a little over 3 months old. He was found by a dumpster and the vet estimated him to be 7 weeks then. He's just started chattering his jaw and licking his chops. It's not all the time, and it doesn't last long or seem to be triggered by anything. He seems reluctant to eat his puppy kibble, but he does eventually eat it all. He seems fine otherwise - playing, running, barking, and doesn't seem to be feverish or upset. Is this just the start of him losing teeth, or something more serious?

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Denali
Poodle
5 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Chattering

I have a 5 year old Standard Poodle and we have recently noticed that sometimes after a big yawn her jaw will chatter/spasm and her lips curl up and she licks and this goes on for about 10- 30 seconds. This also happens after playing with a tough toy or eating something chewier. this only happens if she opens her mouth too much or uses those muscles. We took her to the vet but they couln't find anything wrong with her saw or teeth.

This is very typical of what my 3 year old Dobermann is experiencing at the moment. A big yawn causes a jaw chatter/spasm or chewing on a nylabone toy.
Went to our vet & he could find no reason or any other health issue. Advice is to remove her toys & don’t let her have things that she would be chewing on too much.
I must say I haven’t seen her do it for a few days now. I’m just trying to let her rest the jaw as vet believes she may have a strain of the mandible joints.

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Bella
American Staffordshire Terrier
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw Chattering
teeth chattering
Teeth Clicking

My dog Bella, American Staffordshire Terrier / Boxer / American Bulldog chatters her teeth especially when I have guests over. The only people she doesn’t seem to do this with is my mom and dad. She also chatters her teeth after she attacks my leaf blower, lawnmower, weed wacker and vacuum. I feel like this is more a sign of stress and nervousness, but I don’t understand why. She was raised in an apartment complex with lots of people around and lots of dogs and a mini dog park. I took her to a big dog park 2-3 times a week and she went to day care 2-3 times a week to play with other dogs. Now she doesn’t act right at daycare, I’m afraid to take her to a dog park and can no longer have guests over because I’m afraid she’s going to harm them.

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Harley
Staffie / Wire Terrier mix
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Chattering / Vibrating jaw

We have two rescue dogs. The older, Harley, was abused and neglected prior to our getting her. At the shelter the only continuous comfort she got was from tennis balls. So they've become her security blanket. If one gets stuck under a chair, my desk, etc, or if I take "too long" to throw it, she will often start chattering her teeth. It's the only time she does it. Definitely watch your dog closely to find the pattern associated with the chattering.

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Shadow
Dachshund
12 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

none

Shadow is a 12-year old Mini Doxie with mild hip dysplasia. Recently, he has started chattering his jaw for 10 secinds or so several times throughout the day. He is behaving normally and eating just fine. He has had a few surgeries due to intestinal issues (several years back) but has been very healthy since. He receives vaccines/parasite treatments on time and lives in the house.

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Naku
Golden Labrador
5 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Tooth falling off one by one
chattering jaw
Bobs head

Our dog Naku, a Cross breed of a Golden Retriever and Labrador always chatter her jaw like it's an everyday routine for her. I'm afraid that it's a neurological disorder because her tooth came falling off one by one since years ago.

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Blanca
Olde English Bulldogge
4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw Chattering

So about 3 months ago, we noticed our dog Blanca make a very disturbing noise... when she’s done eating, or simply just laying on the couch/bed - and also now it’s come to the point where she does it just randomly when walking etc. She’ll smack her mouth a few times and when she smacks it, she makes an awful loud crunching sound ... it sounds like her teeth are shattering every time she does it! At first, we thought maybe there was food stuck in her teeth/gums that were bothering her but that wasn’t it. Then I thought maybe her teeth were bothering her but her teeth are perfect. It started exactly 3 months ago and it had stopped for almost a month and now it’s back. I’ve had her since she was 10 weeks old; anything she does, I can tell if it’s normal or abnormal as she’s my baby and with me at all times. She’s still eating 100% fine (also on a very expensive diet due to allergies) she drinks, plays, uses the bathroom regularly. Today the crunching was a bit more than usual and she doesn’t seem to have much energy, I’ll definitely be making an appointment tomorrow but I figured I would write my story here to see if someone maybe had an answer :( thank you!

Hi how are you ? Did you ever find out what was causing this ? I have a dog named bianca too and she just started doing this after she eats or drinks ???

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Zeus
American Pit Bull Terrier
1 Year
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw Chattering

When my dog smells something (outside for instance, like a spot on a tree or a spot in the grass that a dog has probably peed on) he will sniff INTENTLY start drooling and his jaw will do this small open and shut motion and his teeth click together. Almost like a nursing motion but clearly he has teeth now. Im wondering if its a reaction to the smells but ive never seen a dog click its mouth because it sniffed something

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Wyatt
Mixed breed
14 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw Chattering

Hello! My dog, Wyatt, is a 14 years old Cattle Dog/Border Collie mix. A few years ago, about 2016, he was diagnosed with early signs of CKD, loss of protein in his urine to be exact. So vet started him on Enalapril. Around that time he also had about 5 teeth removed. Wyatt has always had bad breath & dental issues since I rescued him in 2006. In early 2018, it was then noticed his RBC was low, mildly anemic, so we started him Sucrlafate & Omeprazole. Again, he had another 5 teeth removed. Now in 2019, in spring Wyatt was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease & now battles severe anemia in which he just recently had a blood transfusion. So, that is Wyatt's recent medical history, just to give you some background. About the time his disc disease become more noticeable, so did the shaking/trembling & chatter of his teeth. Wyatt seems to do mostly around meal time for himself or when we're eating dinner. So it seems related to when he's hungry, but here recently he seems to be doing whenever, couple times a day when it doesn't appear food related. I was told the disc disease is neurological & wondered if that made him hyper/sensitive to his emotions/reactions to things.

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Guinea
Shih Tzu
10 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw Chattering

My dog will occasionally tremble and shake his chin/jaw repeatedly for a few minuets. We often get quite scared when he does this because we know it is early stages of seizures or disorders. Last night he started chattering his jaw, looking confused. The last time I saw him do this was a few months ago. My dog is a shih tzu, and is nearly ten years old. Is there any way we can get more information or help for this?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
There is no single cause (or treatment) for jaw chattering and without examining Guinea I cannot say whether this would be considered ‘normal’ behaviour or if it is due to some disease or other condition (dental disorders, stress, neurological conditions among others). This would be something to see your Veterinarian about to see if they are able to narrow in on a specific cause or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you. I am sure to take this into consideration.

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Chica
Bichon Frise
12 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Watery stool

I'm not 100% sure how old my dog is but she is at least 12 years old. She recently started having trouble closing her jaw. It's trembles as she tries to close it. We have two dogs so I never really know if they're both eating, but the older one has recently started having watery poop so I'm afraid she might not be eating properly. I don't know if the two are connected but I'm just concerned that she isn't eating.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
If Chica has pain in her jaw, you may be right, and she may not be eating enough. As dogs age, things sometimes happen, and it would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian, and probably have x-rays of that jaw, to see what is going on with her and get treatment for her.

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Zeus
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
4 Years
Serious condition
-1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Tooth pain

My dog Zeus, a Staffordshire bull terrier, is grinding his teeth. He does this with his face pressed on people's legs. He is also being sick often after he drinks water

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Typically teeth grinding or bruxism is caused by stress, pain, jaw anomalies or stomach pain; without examining Zeus I cannot say what the specific cause is, but you should visit your Veterinarian if there is teeth grinding and is vomiting after drinking water. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/symptom/why-is-my-dog-grinding-his-teeth

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Milo
Golden Retriever
7 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw Chattering

My dog recently has had his jaw quiver for a few seconds and then it stops. I’ve only noticed it a few times but I don’t know if he’s doing it while he is alone. He is only 7 months old so I’m a bit worried.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
The behavior that you describe may or may not be normal for Milo, especially if he is not neutered. There are behaviors that develop from hormonal stimulation that are somewhat normal. He may also have a neurologic problem that needs attention. It would be best to have him examined to try and determine what is going on with him, and it may help to video an episode so that your veterinarian can see the behavior.

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chance
Dutch Shepherd
4 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw Chattering

Hi I just noticed my puppies jaw/mouth clicking today. I checked the inside of his mouth and everything seems normal. It is not affecting him or his eating habits. And he doesn't seem to be in pain.he was diagnosed with megaE about a month ago could this be part of the problem. He is also

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Jaw chattering maybe caused by a variety of issues including dental disorders, anxiety, focal seizures, pain among other disorders; are you able to interrupt the chattering? If you can interrupt the chattering it may be pain or anxiety related. Speak to your Veterinarian about it at your next checkup. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Mine has started to do it it dosent last long she’s a malamute so can’t be because she’s cold she doesn’t seem to be in pain it only lasts a few seconds bit happens every day for last few days.

I just noticed my dog doing this. She is 14 years old, and her teeth are not the greatest. Could age cause this?

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Chinook
Siberian Husky
1 Year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Jaw Chattering

My dog has never done this. He's very healthy. About a month ago we brought him a friend. The just yesterday he started doing this. He only does it for a few seconds then stops. He eats fine. Walks fine. Nothing bothers him. Any idea why he is doing this?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Jaw chattering can be due to a dental disorder (broken tooth) or may be due to stress and other external factors; if the chattering isn’t affecting him and he doesn’t seem in pain I would keep a close eye on things for now but look out for other symptoms and check inside his mouth to look for any broken or misaligned teeth. A visit to your Veterinarian would be useful to look out for other symptoms which may be related to the chattering. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

I noticed my dog doing this. Not all the time, but enough to wonder. She's 14 and does have bad teeth could this be why, her age?

I looked in his mouth and seen what could be a cavity. Could this be a cause

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Delfina
Doberman Pinscher
1 1/2 yrs old
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

My dog feels warm and tired. She has been having on and off teeth chattering for a day- it happens when she is going to bark. Also this not not happened before. She has been eating soft foods but not her dry kibble. She won't let me look in her mouth. Could this be an oral issue or a focal motor seizure?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Generally teeth chattering is caused by one of the following: neurological disorders (may include focal or partial seizures), dental disorders, stress or environmental factors. If Delfina is eating soft food but not kibbles I would highly recommend getting her teeth checked since it is highly suggestive that this may be a dental issue given the symptoms. Without examining Delfina I cannot say, but have a look yourself inside the mouth and look for any anomalies from one side to the other; but please visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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