Recently you’ve begun to notice that your dog is making a weird sound. After paying some close attention, you realize that your dog is chattering its teeth. Does it chatter its teeth after licking something? Did you start bringing in a new type of dog food, or have you started walking him to a new park and have noticed this behavior?
As a dog dad or mom, you may be concerned and even annoyed if this act becomes too constant, but there is no need to worry in most cases. If your dog is young and healthy, it is most likely feeling a burst of emotions that urges him to act in this particular way. This article will help give you an insight, so keep reading.
Why do dogs chatter their teeth after licking?
There are many reasons why a dog may be chattering its teeth. The reasons can be innocent enough not to require intervention like the urge to mate, feeling excitement or joy, being over-stimulated, etc. However, the chattering of teeth can be a symptom of other severe conditions that shouldn’t be ignored if you want your dog to stay fit and healthy.
On many occasions, dog chattering their teeth is triggered by some behavioral factors, in which they experience something or react to something. A few of those are:
Tasting something delicious
Did you just treat your dog with his favorite snack after he behaved well in front of the guests? If you hear your dog chattering its teeth, it is to show that he finds his food delicious. Dog’s senses are more robust than humans, so if they find something tasty, they tend to chatter their teeth in response. Whenever you hear the peculiar noise from your dog, look around for its favorite snack nearby, and there’s nothing to worry about.
Reaction to pleasant scents
Dogs have millions of scent receptors, almost 300 million; humans don’t even have half of that amount. According to a study, smelling delicious scents or aromas tends to activate the pleasure centers in a dog’s brain. Their strong sense of smell helps them to determine things the most than any other means.
Hence, when a dog smells something that it likes, its favorite food, human companion, or another dog, it reacts by chattering its teeth.
They want to mate
In dogs, the relationship between pheromones and mating is straightforward. Female dogs release these pheromones through urine in an environment that urges male dogs to eject their sex cells. If your male dog is chattering its teeth, it has likely picked up on the scent of a potential female canine nearby.
Just like humans, dogs feel various kinds of emotions that make them chatter their teeth. Most of the time, this reaction is harmless. However, it should not be wholly ignored. When your dog is emotionally overwhelmed, you may observe them chattering their teeth; here are a few situations that are likely to happen:
Just like we may get jumpy when we’re feeling excited, excitement can cause dogs to chatter their teeth. They can get excited about many things, such as seeing their favorite food, reuniting with their owner, seeing someone familiar, meeting a partner, or playing. These canines chatter their teeth because they can’t handle the excitement.
Dogs often chatter their teeth when they are in a joyous mood. You may be taking them out to a park where they can play and socialize with their other canine friends.
They are happy, and chattering of teeth is an impulsive behavior, so there is nothing to worry about.
One of the most common causes of teeth chattering in dogs is when they are distressed. It may be because of a loud hostile home environment, loud noises like fireworks and vacuums, or even another pet’s inclusion in the house. They chatter their teeth to show their frustration.
Fear of another dog
When a dog is surrounded by a large number of other dogs or even a single large dog, it gets scared and chatters its teeth. Chattering teeth is also a source of communication for the dogs, so they may do it to tell the other canine that they aren’t looking for trouble. Chattering teeth due to fear can be seen when you take your dog to a new place like a park, and it gets surrounded by dogs it isn’t familiar to.
Arousal in dogs is how your dog responds to the events occurring from the environment and you. Negative and positive triggers of arousal may include:
Seeing a dog that they are not fond of
Sensing a potential female around them, and more
During such instances, dogs may start chattering their teeth.
What are the health issues that might cause chattering of teeth?
Sometimes, however, dogs chattering their teeth can be a reaction to something a lot more grave than excitement or distress. And that is some underlying medical condition. Several different medical conditions can cause the teeth to chatter impulsively or involuntarily. Nevertheless, even if you’re uncertain about the situation, it is best to plan a visit to the vet just to make sure everything is alright before the problem may get worse.
Advanced Periodontal Disease
One of the most common medical condition that causes the dog to chatter their teeth is “Advanced Periodontal Disease.” It is a gum infection where bacteria grow in the small gaps between the gum and teeth. If not given serious medical treatment, the disease can increase, affecting the dog’s bones, teeth, and tissues. It is excruciatingly painful for the dogs, and urgent treatment is required.
Often dogs try to mask this condition in front of their owners to appear healthy, but once the pain surfaces and are unbearable, the chattering of teeth is inevitable. Inflated gums might be an indication of the disease. Regular dental checkups are essential for time-to-time inspection so that the specific treatment can be started when necessary.
Neurological disorders in dogs affect the three main areas – the brain, nerves, and the spinal cord. Dods chattering their teeth might as well be due to some neurological condition. Some of the neurological disorders that stimulate this behavior include:
Epilepsy is a common neurological condition among dogs. It can be a symptom of various things like allergies or tumors. Dogs having epilepsy have to suffer from intense shaking in the whole body. Chattering teeth is typical behavior in this condition. It may also be accompanied by foaming in the mouth. If anything like this happens, rush your dog to the nearest clinic and get it checked.
Multisystem Neuronal Degeneration/ Shaker Syndrome
Multisystem Neuronal Degeneration, also known as the Shaker Syndrome, causes your dog’s whole body to shake, and it may result in your dog chattering its teeth. This condition affects balance. Primarily, it is a hereditary issue that affects breeds, including Maltese, Bichon Frise, and Cocker Spaniel.
This condition has no cure, but the vet can treat it. They’ll use a variety of methods that help manage convulsions and teeth chattering.
Focal Motor Seizure
This condition affects the jaws. If you aren’t watching your dog closely, it’ll probably slip past your eyes. It causes the jaws to tighten up for a short period which results in involuntary chattering.
Fortunately, it doesn’t last long and is nothing to worry about. However, a checkup by the vet would be advisable to see if it isn’t the symptom of anything else.
Old age comes along with many drawbacks, even in dogs. The chattering of teeth is often witnessed in older dogs. If they don’t show any symptoms that suggest otherwise, it might be just because of old age. This behavior can affect any dog breed after it has reached a particular age.
You must pay close attention to their behavior and understand what is stimulating it. You can also consult the vet to recognize your dog’s health situation better and get the necessary treatment promptly.
Much like humans who start shicering and chatterin their teeth when they’re cold, animals use the same actions in similar situations. If your dog is chattering teeth in cold weather, it may be because it’s feeling cold. It’s best to take him somewhere inside and make sure to keep them warm and cozy.
Other FAQs related to dog chattering:
Do dogs chatter after licking something bitter?
Dogs can taste every type of food, salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. So if the taste or texture of the food is not corresponding to the dog’s liking, it may chatter its teeth. If your dog finds the taste of food or anything, it might succumb to this behavior as an impulse.
Do dogs chatter due to any allergy?
Allergies can trigger teeth chattering in dogs. If your dog is allergic to any food(s), scents or weather, it can cause distress in them, leading to teeth chattering.
Along with teeth chatters, the formation of excessive drool or foam around the mouth can occur due to an allergic reaction.
Such a condition should not be ignored, and you must plan a quick trip to the veterinarian to see if the matter is serious. If yes, then the relative treatment should be started. We recommend that you order an allergy test for your dog if the root cause of teeth chattering is still unknown.
How to stop teeth chattering after licking?
Suppose your dog is chattering teeth due to health conditions like neurological disorders, periodontal disease, or allergy. In that case, your dog requires medical attention, and it is wise to take it to a vet for a proper checkup and, ultimately, treatment. It is better to treat the condition before it worsens and affects your dog’s health. As discussed earlier, teeth chattering is mainly caused due to distress.
On the other hand, if your dog is teeth-chattering for no reason, you can start training your dog. Put a muzzle around his face, and every time he chatters his teeth, you can pull the muzzle. This will help trigger your dog’s brain that his actions are unacceptable, and being the intelligent creatures that dogs are, he’ll ultimately let go of the habit.
Moreover, your dog needs a lot of exercise so that all his excitement remains content. Last but not least, if your dog has reached the mating age, ensuring that he finds a suitable mate is essential. This will prevent your dog from getting over-stimulated and over-excited, and you’ll notice a significant decrease in this habit.
Now that you’re aware of all the possible reasons why your dog may be chattering his teeth after licking, it is time to put that information into practical use.
To ensure that your dog stays healthy, you must keep a close eye on his routine. By being aware of these reasons, you can identify whether the dog is teeth-chattering due to behavioral and emotional factors. If yes, then there is no need to worry.
However, keeping in mind all the relative symptoms, if you see a decline in your dog’s health accompanied by the chattering of teeth, you now know it is time for some professional advice.
Take your dog, and drive to the nearest vet to rectify the situation as fast as possible.