Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth

Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth?

Teeth chattering is normal in dogs, and it is usually nothing to worry about. If you’ve been wondering or concerned why do dogs chatter their teeth, you can relax because it is normal behavior. Below, I’ll outline some of the possible reasons why do. I’ll also discuss some of the things you can do when the teeth’s chattering becomes a cause for concern.

Causes of Teeth Chattering


Our canines can sometimes have chattering teeth when happy or excited. You’ll notice this behavior when you come home to your fur baby after a long day at work. When dogs do this, it usually means that they are happy to see you. You can also notice this show of happiness during play sessions with other pets or humans. It is simply out of pure excitement and joy from being around people they love and adore.

Cold dog teeth chatter

Cold Weather

Like humans, dogs’ teeth chatter when they’re cold. Again like us, this behavior is completely involuntary, and it’s done so humans and animal bodies can fight off the cold and stay warm.

If you notice teeth chattering in your dog, mostly in cold weather, you should consider getting him a thicker canine sweater to keep him warm. Also, consider investing in cozy beddings and move him to a more heated room, especially during cold weather. He can always be returned to the old place once the cold subsides.

Mouth Chattering From Licking 

Does your dog’s mouth chatter after licking? If it does, it is nothing to worry about. Our dogs have a strong sense of smell, which often results in chattering reactions when they taste something new or stronger than they’re probably used to.


Our dogs can’t talk, so it is therefore not surprising that they rely on so many body signs to communicate their feelings. Teeth’s chattering is one such sign.

Also, one of the several displacement languages, dogs sometimes chatter their teeth to distract or scare off other dogs that they may find threatening. This behavior also helps the chattering dog remain calm until the threat or danger passes.

Distress or Pain 

Your dog may sometimes chatter his teeth when he is in pain or suffering. If this behavior seems to be occurring out of nowhere, it may be a sign that your pooch is in great physical pain.

Also, because our canines are unable to articulate their feelings, they may chatter their teeth to show frustration and distress. This is only one of the ways they let out emotions.  If you suspect that your dog’s teeth chattering may be caused by an underlying health issue, you should consult a vet as soon as possible for proper diagnosis.

Generally, common underlying health reasons for a dog’s teeth chattering include periodontal diseases (a condition where the gums become inflamed and the teeth are overwhelmed and deteriorated by a bacteria), neurological problems, and tooth sensitivity from the loss of tooth enamel.

Things to Do about a Dog’s Teeth Chattering 

Unless, in severe cases, canines will continue to live relatively normally with pain or discomfort. If you notice your dog's teeth chattering occurs frequently, you should consider calling your vet. You want to rule out or diagnose problems that could worsen without proper treatment. Luckily, there is usually no serious underlying cause of tooth chattering in dogs, but you still want to be sure.

At the vet's clinic, your vet will carefully examine/observe your canine teeth, gums, and other physical signs of diseases and dislocations/fractures. She may suggest a scan under anesthesia for further investigation and definite diagnosis if she finds none.

Your vet may also ask questions about your canine’s behavior in recent times. To help the diagnosis, you should let the vet know of any unusual behavior or observation in your dog that may indicate pain in the mouth. This may include foul odor, foam or blood from the mouth.

If your dog’s teeth chattering is a result of mouth pain, you should consider starting and maintaining a better oral hygiene practice. You can begin by brushing your dog’s teeth several times monthly. You should also offer your dog safe chewable toys/dental chews to prevent tartar or plaque buildup. Frequent  vet visits are also essential. This helps your vet catch oral health issues at their beginning or before they worsen and overwhelm the teeth.

Suppose your pooch’s teeth chattering happens only in cold weather or when there is a drop in his body temperature. In that case, you should consider investing in a warmer blanket and other comfortable and warm beddings. Like us, our dogs can experience drops in their body temperatures and would need our help to keep warm.

Teeth Chattering in Dogs: Conclusion

There are several explanations as to why dogs’ teeth chatter, and I discussed some of the reasons in this post. As said earlier, the causes of teeth-chattering in dogs are often non-severe and can be corrected in the worst cases with proper treatment, better oral hygiene, or extra warmth in cold weather.

Teeth chattering caused by factors such as fear, excitement, and stress usually passes once the trigger is removed or ends. You can help in these areas by removing your pet from trigger areas and calming it down with a back rub when overly excited to see you. 

About the Author

Kirsten Heggarty
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Kirsten created The Pet Handbook with the aim of sharing her knowledge about pets, pet food, healthy habits, and more. All of her advice is based on years of her own experience with her pets, and feedback that she has received from grateful readers about her tips. If you want to know more please read the About Me page.