Jaw Chattering in Dogs: What Causes It and How to Treat It

Husky Dog smiling with bottom teeth and jaw showing

Have you ever noticed your dog's jaw chattering as if they are shivering and wondered what is causing it? As humans, we immediately associate jaw chattering with being cold, however, in our canine friends, there are actually many reasons that this could be happening with your pup, and some may actually surprise you. Keep reading to learn more about what causes jaw chattering in dogs and how to handle it.

What Causes Jaw Chattering in Dogs?

First things first, it is important to rule out any potential medical causes for your dog's jaw chattering. If your dog has never done this before and suddenly starts chattering his teeth or jaw, it could be a sign of pain or discomfort. This is especially true if your dog is also showing other signs of illness, such as lethargy or loss of appetite. In these cases, a trip to the vet is definitely in order to rule out any underlying health issues.

Assuming there are no medical concerns, jaw chattering in dogs is most commonly caused by two things: excitement or anxiety. If your dog chatters his teeth when you come home from work or when you pull out his leash for a walk, he is probably just really happy and excited. This is normal behavior and nothing to be concerned about.

Anxiety is another common reason dogs might start chattering their jaws. Dogs can experience anxiety for all sorts of reasons, including loud noises, new environments, or being left alone. However, if the jaw chattering is accompanied by other signs of anxiety, such as panting, pacing, or whining, it could be a sign that your dog is feeling stressed. If you think your dog's jaw chattering might be caused by anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about treatment options, such as anti-anxiety medication or behavior modification training.

Other Causes of Jaw Chattering

Being Cold

Dogs can get cold and have this reaction. You will know right away if being cold is your pup’s issue. If your dog’s jaw chattering is due to being cold, simply take them out of the frigid conditions and wrap them in a warm blanket to increase their temperature until it stops.

Being Happy or Excited

Dogs lack the verbal communication that we humans have, so when they get excited that you came home from work or are getting ready to take them outside for a walk, they may express their joy by chattering their jaws and their tail may also be wagging out of control with sheer glee. This usually dissipates once they calm down and there is no harm done.

Old Age

It may be hard to understand, but dogs can also display this behavior when they age. This is pretty rare, however, if this is the case you will want to have the vet examine them and provide treatment if needed.

Dental Issues

One common cause of jaw chattering is dental issues. Dental abscess, a broken tooth, gingival inflammation, can manifest jaw chattering in your dog. Dogs with dental issues can also display excessive drooling, bad breath, trouble picking up kibble, or stops eating kibble. A visit to the vet can determine dental issues and treatment.

Treating Jaw Chattering in Dogs

Once any medical conditions have been ruled out, there are a few things you can do to help treat your dog's jaw chattering, including:

Managing Stress and Anxiety Levels

If excitement or excess energy triggers your dog's jaw chattering episodes, try to reduce his overall stimulation levels by reducing the number of people or animals he comes into contact with on a daily basis and/or providing more calm environments for him.

Adjusting their Diet

If your dog is overweight, losing weight can help reduce the amount of tension on his jaws and decrease the likelihood of teeth chattering. Health Extension® Lite Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe is a great option.


Supplements such as Health Extension® Hip + Joint Mobility Supplements can help decrease inflammation and pain in the joints, which may help reduce jaw chattering and will support joint health.


Exercise can help relax your dog's mind and body, which may help reduce stress and anxiety levels (and consequently, jaw chattering). Health Extension® Energy + Stress Relief is another great option.

If your dog's jaw trembles or chatters, do not panic! In most cases, this strange phenomenon is harmless and caused by excitement or anxiety. However, if the jaw chattering is accompanied by other signs of distress, such as panting or whining, it could be a sign of a more severe problem. If you are concerned about your dog's jaw chattering, the best thing to do is take them to the vet so they can be examined and treated accordingly.

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