What Does it Mean When a Dog Chatters Their Teeth?

dog teeth chattering - chihuahua in blanket

What Does it Mean When a Dog Chatters Their Teeth?

Of course, seeing your dog’s teeth “clickety-clack” can be funny. Your first instinct may be to grab a blanket and wrap your furry friend in warmth, because our human teeth chatter when we’re cold. While a low body temperature may also be the cause of your dog’s teeth chattering, there are several reasons this can happen. It’s humorous and adorable, but could it be cause for concern?

There are a variety of reasons why dogs chatter their teeth, most of which are harmless. Occasionally, however, this type of behavior may signal something more serious. Our team at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery in Loveland care about the overall health of your furry friend, and we want to stay on top of any possible concerns in your dog’s oral health. Keep reading for more 5 reasons why your dog’s teeth may chatter.

Shivering From Cold Temperatures

This is something humans understand. When we’re cold, we shiver and our teeth chatter. A dog’s body will shiver and her teeth will chatter involuntarily when she’s cold, too. This is one way human and animal bodies attempt to create warmth. Keep your furry friend (especially short-haired dogs!) warmer by investing in a cozy sweater or dog-coat for colder months, and bringing them inside when they appear cold.

Feeling Threatened 

Dogs sometimes use a form of communication called displacement language to ward off potential threats. Teeth chattering is a subtle way of communicating with other dogs who feel threatening to them. The sound of clicking teeth can distract a threatening dog, turning its attention to figuring out the sound. It also helps the threatened dog to stay calm. Other forms of displacement language are licking the face and spinning in circles. This is one of many amazing survival instincts in dogs!

Experiencing Pain or Distress

Chattering can be one way your dog expresses that she’s in pain. If it comes out of nowhere and your dog seems stressed out, it is often an indication that she is experiencing pain somewhere in her body. She may also chatter as a way of communicating frustration or distress. This is one way she can vent unpleasant emotions.

Feeling Excited and Happy

Sometimes dogs will have chattering teeth when they’re experiencing pure joy. You may notice your dog chattering when you walk in the door after a long day. This means she’s super excited to see you! Chattering can also happen in the middle of an epic play session, and this is indicative of sheer happiness and excitement. She may also chatter after licking or smelling something amazing, like a smashed slice of pepperoni pizza on the sidewalk!

Underlying Health Issues

It’s important to pay attention to the frequency of your dog’s teeth chattering, and the various situations in which this behavior occurs. In some cases, teeth chattering can point to a health issue that requires medical attention. Teeth chattering can surface as a symptom of a number of different health conditions, including periodontal disease, epilepsy, and neurological degeneration. If you are concerned your dog is experiencing any of these health issues, it is important to see your vet.

Dog Dentist in Loveland

Keep your eye on the frequency of your dog’s teeth chattering, and the situation in which it happens. If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s teeth chattering, call Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery in Loveland at (970) 800-1106 or contact us online today.

Image by Ebowalker from Pixabay (3/5/2020)