Disclaimer: We do our best to serve you nothing but high quality, factual, and reliable information to help you provide your pets with the best care. However, because each individual dog is unique, there are some signs, symptoms, and details in this text that may not be applicable to your furry friend.
To develop a specific understanding of why dog teeth chattering happens particularly in your canine, make sure to check other reliable sources of information. At the end of this reading, you can check out the other vetted resources we’ve listed below.
It’s also advisable to see your vet if you think there’s a need to pay them a visit. This way, you can be a hundred percent sure that your pooch’s chattering isn’t pointing to anything too serious.
Some Chitchat on Dogs Teeth Chattering
Put a dog, a cat, or even a human in a room that’s too cold, and they’re likely to start teeth chattering in no time. Yes, shivering is a very normal reaction to abnormally cold environmental temperatures. Rapid limb shaking and teeth chattering are two of the manifestations of shivering.
The question is – why do teeth chatter in the first place? Well, it’s all a matter of maintaining the right body temperature.
As warm-blooded animals, mammals – including dogs and humans – rely on our internal system to regulate our temperature. So even if it’s cold out, we can still manage to keep our body temperature warmer than our surroundings.
The opposite can be said for cold blooded animals like reptiles. These creatures adapt the temperature of their surroundings. So if they need to warm up or cool down, they have to find shade, bask in the sun, or adjust the amount of skin surface area they expose to their surroundings.
For dogs and other warm blooded animals, one of the ways heat is generated is by moving the muscles. When your brain detects that you’re body is too cold, it sends a command that makes muscles contract and relax at a very fast speed. This generates the chattering in the jaws.
Aside from temperature regulation however, teeth chattering could be indicative of other more serious problems your dog’s body is trying to show you.
What Else Could Teeth Chattering Mean?
Dog teeth chattering could mean a lot of other things. If your pooch isn’t in a cold place and he still can’t keep his jaws still, there could be an underlying issue.
Some of these problems aren’t anything too serious, so you can let go of that breath you’ve been holding on to in worry.
Sometimes, dog’s teeth just chatter because that’s how they are! This is particularly true in smaller dog breeds. Often, toy sized pups are treated much more like babies than their bigger breed counterparts. This makes them significantly more excitable, which makes them shiver and chatter if they feel they want your attention.
Fast forward to 0:25 seconds in this video and you will see and hear a dog chattering (the man in the video claims that it is due to excitement).
Other times, dog’s chatter because of underlying medical conditions. For instance, pain can make them feel unstable and weak. This could cause their teeth to chatter and their limbs to shake as they try to tolerate the discomfort.
Stress can also make dogs shiver. So you might notice your pup shaking and chattering as you drive them down the familiar road leading to the vet!
In older dogs, shivering and chattering are common signs of weakness. Be sure to give your senior pup the support and comfort he needs to prevent the chattering from continuing on.
Medical Conditions Associated with Teeth Chattering
Aside from the reasons stated above, teeth chattering could also indicate one of many different medical conditions. Some of the most common ones to look out for include:
- Seizure Disorders. Dog seizure episodes can be range from highly apparent and often frightening convulsions or very minute shivers and shaking. Sometimes, these episodes can be so discreet that pet owners end up thinking their dog is just dreaming in their sleep.
Teeth chattering can occur during a seizure episode, but is often too hard to detect if it isn’t that pronounced.
- Canine Distemper. This viral infection is highly fatal and often needs immediate professional medical treatment. Tremors are associated with the condition, which also causes dogs’ teeth to chatter uncontrollably.
- Generalized Tremor Syndrome. No one really knows that causes GTS or shaker syndrome, but it really isn’t anything to be worried about. This is most common in West Highland terriers and Maltese breeds that are specifically white in color.
Characterized by generalized tremors, shaking, and chattering, the condition can be easily managed with corticosteroids.
- Nausea. If your dog ate something that it shouldn’t have, it can develop the urge to purge. In cases of nausea, a dog may start to tremble and chatter right before it heaves.
Resolving whatever caused the stomach disturbance will relieve the nausea and stop the chattering.
- Periodontal Disease. The constant need to grind and chatter his teeth might be your dog’s way of telling you there’s something wrong with his dental health. Inspect his gums and teeth thoroughly to pinpoint any irregularities or anomalies that might need further treatment.
When to Run to the Vet
Worried that your dog’s teeth chattering is indicative of a bigger problem, but not quite sure if you should take him to the vet?
It can be confusing to tell if you really need to see a specialist or if your dog is just particularly bouncier than usual. The best way to determine the need for medical treatment would be to check your pet for other signs of illness and disease.
Here are some things you should watch out for in combination with chattering:
- Loss of appetite
- Discolored eyes
- Bodily discharge
If your dog is chattering, shivering, and showing any one or a combination of these signs, it would be best to take a visit to your trusted local veterinarian. It’s always better to get a second opinion on your dog’s health especially if your pet parent intuition is telling you there’s something wrong.
For some dogs, chattering can be nothing more than a show of excitement for your affection (which is really sweet!), but for other dogs that don’t normally chatter, you should be wary.
Dog teeth chattering can be very normal, but it can also be a sign of something a little more serious. Never neglect your dog especially if you suspect that his body is trying to tell you something they can bark out!
Learning More About Dog Body Movements
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If you want to learn more on this topic, we suggest you dive right into these vetted resources that can provide you a deeper understanding of your beloved pooch.