Dog Teeth Chattering: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

Dog Teeth Chattering: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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What is Dog Teeth Chattering?

What is Dog teeth chattering

Dog teeth chattering happens when the top teeth rub against the bottom teeth in a repetitive motion (side-to-side or up and down).

This constant teeth grinding and chattering can lead to dental wear (attrition) and can also lead to discomfort of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in your dog’s mouth.

Why is My Dog Chattering Its Teeth?

There are several health problems and dental issues that can result in dog teeth chattering. Here are some causes dog owners should be familiar with:

  • Gum Disease. If your dog has some form of gum disease or other related medical conditions, it might manifest itself in the form of teeth chattering.
  • Dental Diseases/Oral Pain. Dental problems, oral pain, and other related medical problems can impact your pet’s health and thus lead to teeth chattering.
  • Periodontal Disease. This is inflammation of the gums that are surrounding the teeth. It is an uncomfortable experience for your dog and can lead to teeth chattering.
  • Stress or Anxiety. It is a common symptom of dogs undergoing stress and anxiety to show signs of teeth chattering. It can also become more common with old age.
  • Separation Anxiety. Some dogs cannot deal with separation and can end up with chattering teeth as a coping mechanism. While this is not indicative of any health issues, it can have a psychological impact on your doggy.
  • Pheromones. Pheromones impact the dog’s health and can cause a wide range of symptoms, including teeth chattering. Additionally, some male dogs can chatter their teeth when they see/smell a female dog.
  • Low Body Temperature. This is among the most common reasons why your dog is chattering their teeth. A drop in body temperature, especially after a bath, can lead to teeth chattering.
  • Gastrointestinal Problems. This is another common reason that leads to the manifestation of teeth chattering in your furry friend. It is more common in small dogs and older dogs.
  • Seizure Disorders. Neurological conditions such as focal seizures can impact your dog’s body and lead to teeth chattering as a symptom. This is a problem with your dog’s brain and can show up as chattering or fly-biting behavior.
  • Neurological Issues. While there are several causes of teeth chattering, neurological problems can also be one. This is more common in smaller dogs like Maltese or Chihuahuas, led by the dog’s behavior or personality. A neurological condition called White Dog Shaker Syndrome is also a potential culprit.
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Does Anxiety Cause Teeth Chattering in Dogs?

Yes, anxiety can be a major cause of teeth chattering.

This is often followed by drooling, bad breath, and poor oral health. Your dog might face body tremors also along with the chattering. As a result, your veterinarian might suggest blood work to understand the cause of the chattering.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Chatter Their Teeth When It’s Cold?

Yes, after a bath, your dog’s body temperature often drops down.

Just like humans, dogs will chatter their teeth to try and regulate their temperature. It is suggested that you keep your dog warm after a bath or when it is cold to avoid any type of problems that could otherwise crop up.

Is Teeth Chattering Life-Threatening to Dogs?

No, dog teeth chattering is not life-threatening.

However, they can be indicative of other underlying conditions that can cause harm to your dog’s way of life.

For instance, teeth abscess can be painful and needs to be treated immediately. A major sign of this problem is dog teeth chattering. Therefore, if you notice any strange behavior from your dog, it is best to take them to a vet for further examination.

How do I Stop My Dog’s Teeth From Chattering?

How do I Stop My Dog's Teeth From Chattering

There are some simple dog teeth chattering solutions. Here is a closer look at them:

  • Oral Hygiene. It is crucial that you maintain good oral hygiene for your dog. Regular brushing can soothe problems such as gum disease, which could otherwise lead to teeth chattering.
  • Dental Chews. These chews not only supplement oral health but also prevent the buildup of tartar and plaque, which can cause problems in your dog’s mouth.
  • Dog Jumpers/Warm Clothes. A common reason why your dog might be chattering about their teeth is that they are feeling cold. It is best to pack them with warm clothes and snuggles to keep them warm and comfortable. However, if this does not stop your dog’s chattering, you might need to visit a vet.
  • Spend Time With The Dog. Finally, spending more time with your dog can reduce separation anxiety and reduce teeth chattering.

How Long Does Teeth Chattering in Dogs Last?

This completely depends on the main cause of the dog teeth chattering.

If your dog is feeling anxious, the dog teeth chattering might stop when the trigger for the anxiety is removed. However, if your dog has underlying gum disease, the chattering might not stop till the problem is cured.

Additionally, dog teeth chattering is also dependent on external factors such as climate, eating habits, dog breed, and age and sex of the dog. If you see your dog chattering their teeth for more than a couple of days, it is best to take them to a vet for further examination.

When Should I Go to the Vet for Teeth Chattering in Dogs?

You should go to the vet for dog teeth chattering if the issue persists or is accompanied by other signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Bad breath
  • Swelling around/in the mouth
  • Drooling
  • Bleeding
  • Decreased or no appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of muscle tissue 

If you notice any of the above symptoms, along with teeth chattering, it is best to take your dog to the vet immediately.