Most people are familiar with the concept of teeth chattering. As humans, our teeth tend to chatter when we are cold. But there are several reasons why a dog’s teeth might chatter.
1. Your dog is probably cold.
The first and most obvious reason a dog’s teeth might chatter is the same reason a person’s chatter. Your dog might be cold. Pay attention to see if your dog is also shivering, or if he is more prone to crawl in your lap or seeks out unusual ways to get warm.
2. Your dog may be excited or nervous.
When a dog’s teeth chatter, it can be an involuntary expression of nerves or emotion. Some dogs’ teeth chatter when they are anticipated something fun-like going for a walk or something delicious, like the crusts from the pizza you just had delivered.
Pay attention to when your dog’s teeth chatter. If there seems to be a pattern like one of the above examples, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. This is simply your dog’s way of expressing himself.
3. Your dog may be having seizures.
Focal motor seizures, also known as partial seizures, which can cause the teeth to chatter, occur when a dog has experienced an injury to the head or has an underlining undiagnosed condition.
Partial seizures usually only effect one part of the body. This is why you will notice your dog’s teeth chattering. Your dog may also appear to be snapping the air as if trying to catch flies.
Other signs of seizures may include: hiding for no apparent reason, erratically running around, behavioral or routine changes, confusion or stress, sight problems and muscle contractions.
4. Your dog may be in distress.
Your dog’s teeth may chatter if he is experiencing distress or anxiety. This can be caused by a new person in the home, loud noises like fireworks or any number of other factors.
5. Your dog may be experiencing nerve pain.
Some other symptoms to watch for that can indicate a serious nerve problem: uncontrolled shaking, facial paralysis, drooping eyelids, muscle weakness in the neck and eyes rolling.
Solutions And Treatments
1. If the cause is body temperature.
If your dog is cold, try giving him a warmer bed, sleep with him for body warmth or turn up your thermostat. If he continues to be cold, you should take him to a vet to see if he is ill.
2. If the cause is excitement.
If the cause of your dog’s teeth chattering is excitement or anticipation, there’s not really any need to do anything unless the excitement also causes other problems. Sometimes dogs get so excited that they won’t stop jumping or barking. Sometimes they can be destructive too.
The best solution is not to punish your dog. Your dog is simply expressing emotions and may not know how to do so in a more tempered manner. Usually you can train your own dog to calm down by giving him a treat or a pat on the head for good behavior.
Remember that rewarding good behavior is more effective than punishing bad behavior. If you can’t train your dog to remain calm on such occasions, obedience school may be the best option.
3. If the cause is seizures.
If the cause of your dog’s teeth chattering is a seizure, seek medical treatment immediately. There are many things that cause seizures in dogs including: ingesting poison, trauma to the head, kidney disease, stroke, liver disease and cancer.
Some conditions that cause seizures can be treated with medications. Corticosteroid medications, anti-epileptic and anti-convulsant drugs may reduce the number of seizures your dog experiences. Sometimes surgery may be required to remove tumors that may be causing the seizures.
4. If the cause is distress.
Try to remove the cause of stress from your dog’s environment. If you cannot remove the cause, try to gradually acclimate your dog. You may also consider treating your dog for anxiety. A vet may recommend a medication or CBD oil.
5. If the cause is nerve pain.
If the cause of your dog’s teeth chattering is nerve pain you should seek medical attention immediately. Nerve pain can be a sign of serious neurological problems related to brain atrophy, brain hemorrhaging, Parkinson’s disease, increased beta amyloid plaques or toxic poisoning.
Breeds Prone To Seizures
There are many conditions that may cause seizures and some dogs are more prone than others to the conditions.
The following breeds are statistically more likely to be born with or to develop conditions that cause seizures, however this is not an all inclusive list: beagles, greyhounds, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Belgian Tervuren, Shetland sheepdogs, Irish wolf hounds and Irish springer spaniels.
A Good Rule To Live By
Because there are many reasons why your dog’s teeth may be chattering, if you are at all unsure of the cause it is always best to seek an expert’s opinion. Make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.