As winter approaches, the familiar sound of chattering teeth can be heard at bus stops, train stations, and on every street corner. It’s often a harmless, natural bodily reaction to try and retain some heat. But what does it mean when your dog’s teeth chatter? Could it be a sign of something more sinister? Plus, what can you do as an owner to try and remedy the problem? This article will outline common causes of chattering teeth in dogs, and then it will cover several practical steps you can take to tackle the issue.
While that repetitive and often short-lived sound may appear mildly irritating, it could be a sign of a serious problem. One such common problem is periodontal disease. That is a nasty gum disease that can lead to serious pain and discomfort. Your dog’s immune system will react to bacteria in the mouth as foreign invaders and a whole host of responses will begin, one of which could be teeth chattering.
Another well-known cause of teeth chattering in dogs is epilepsy. This is seen more in dogs than it is in humans and it can be caused by any number of things, from allergies to tumors. So keeping a close eye on what your dog eats and seeking medical attention if your dog starts to have seizures is imperative, as a seizure could be life-threatening.
While your dog’s teeth could be chattering for medical reasons, it could also be totally harmless. Does that familiar sound begin just before a walk, or before food? If so, it could well be a natural bodily response to when your dog feels excited.
Alternatively, does the chattering sound start when they are around dogs they do not know, or when they are in an unfamiliar place? If yes, then chattering could be a sign your dog is feeling unsafe and threatened.
It is also worth noting, chattering could simply be a sign your dog is cold, just like it often is in humans! All of these behavioral reasons hold weight because they were investigated and proposed in the widely regarded book, ‘The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals’.
The first thing to do is to monitor your dog to ascertain what triggers that unmistakable sound. If it occurs when it is unusually cold, then invest in a doggie jumper or something that will keep your pup warm and toasty.
If the chattering sound starts when they come into close contact with dogs they do not know or unfamiliar places, then you need to try and comfort them and make them feel safe. Putting yourself between your dog and the unknown dog may make them feel more at ease, as will showering them with cuddles and attention.
However, if you suspect your dog’s teeth are chattering as a result of an underlying medical condition, then advice from your local vet should be sought promptly.
Chattering teeth in your dog is often harmless and simply be a sign your canine friend is chilly. But, it could also be as a result of your dog being extremely excited, or scared and intimidated. However, there is also the chance that it is an indicator of a more serious condition, such as an oral disease. If you suspect it is the latter, swift advice and treatment should be sought from your local vet.