If you’ve ever noticed a strange chattering sound coming from your dog’s mouth, you’ve no doubt wondered what on earth is going on. Dog teeth chattering can be a harmless case of over excitement, or it can signal a medical condition. Here’s the full low down on why your pooch might be chattering those gnashers and when it’s a cause for concern.
Why my dog’s teeth are chattering
Since there are a wide range of reasons for dog teeth chattering, it’s a good idea to take note of your dog’s behaviour while it’s happening. This can give you a clue as to whether it’s simply an emotional response, or a symptom of pain.
Emotional response – Some dogs chatter their teeth out of excitement or nervousness. The anticipation of a treat, a ball being thrown, or playing with a favourite toy can all trigger dog jaw chattering.
On the other hand, chattering can be a sign of anxiety or stress. If your dog is naturally nervous, you may have noticed their teeth chatter while around new people or in new environments. The chattering can become a coping mechanism to help them stay calm.
Medical condition – While some dog teeth chattering is relatively harmless, it can also signal a problem with your dog’s gums or teeth. One of the most common causes of dog teeth chattering is periodontal disease. This is a painful condition where the gums become inflamed and bacteria eventually deteriorates the teeth, bones and tissue. Chattering can also be caused by sensitive teeth due to a loss of tooth enamel.
Dogs do their best to hide their pain or show any signs of weakness, but the chattering can often be an instinctual response to the oral pain. So if you’ve found yourself wondering why does my dog chatter his teeth, and it’s persistent and out of the blue, it’s always best to seek advice from a professional.
Related blog: Your dog’s dental health
What to do about persistent dog teeth chattering
If your dog’s teeth chattering happens regularly, a vet appointment should always be your first port of call. Your vet will help you uncover and rule out any potential health problems.
During your visit, your vet will thoroughly examine your dog’s teeth and gums to look for any signs of fractures or disease. If there are no obvious signs of a problem, your vet may suggest your pooch be anesthetised for an X-ray to explore further.
Your vet will likely ask you questions about your dog’s behaviour over the last few weeks. Any unusual behaviour like excessive drooling, avoiding eating or playing with toys can signal mouth pain. Equally, a foul odour or blood coming from the mouth can also signify a problem.
Since dog teeth chattering is often caused by tooth or gum pain, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your dog’s teeth a few times a week and offer dental chews to help keep plaque and tartar build up at bay. You should also take your dog to your vets for regular check-ups at least once a year, so they can identify any potential oral health issues before they take hold.