Why Do Dogs Clack Their Teeth?

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Teeth clacking or chattering in the canine crowd can signify an array of different things, from jumpy moods to possible dental woes. If you notice your pet's teeth chattering, pay closer attention to what's going on around her. Your furry pal might just need a veterinary appointment for a tooth examination.

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Uneasy Clacking

If your dog is chattering or clacking her teeth, it could mean she's feeling somewhat on edge and uneasy. She might be a bit excited and overwhelmed, too. Perhaps she spots a couple of large Saint Bernards walking outdoors from your living room window and doesn't know what to make of it. By clicking her teeth, your dog could be expressing that she's assessing the situation and is feeling cautious about it. Teeth clicking can also even indicate pure excitement in canines, without any nervousness.


Happiness and Playtime

Teeth chattering in dogs can also sometimes denote enjoyment and fun, nothing more and nothing less. Many dogs chatter their teeth when they're in the middle of energetic play sessions. If your dog clicks her teeth during a particularly lively game of fetch in your backyard, for instance, don't agonize over it. She simply can't contain all the fun she's having.

Protective Clacking

Some dogs clack their teeth when they're in frightening or threatening situations. If your dog is engaged in a confrontation of sorts with your cat, she might choose to chatter her teeth to protect herself. She might do so to send your cat a signal to "go away or else," too. If your dog clicks her teeth and seems tense, she's probably not a happy camper at the moment.


Possible Dental Problems

Although teeth clicking in dogs is often nothing out of the ordinary, it can occasionally indicate a health problem, too. If your dog clicks her teeth excessively or the behavior seems to have started out of nowhere, it's important to have a veterinarian check it out as soon as possible. Teeth chattering can occasionally be a symptom of oral disease in canines. Pay attention for other hints of oral disease in your dog, including chipped teeth, swelling of the gums, red gums, bloody gums, foul breath and exhaustion. If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, with or without teeth clicking, schedule an appointment with the vet immediately. The quicker the vet discovers any kind of dental irregularity, the easier it typically is to minimize the acceleration of the problem.


By Naomi Millburn

AAHA HealthyPet.com: My Dog's Teeth Chatter When He Gets Excited. Should I Be Worried?
East El Paso Animal Hospital: Pet Dental Care
Lake Huron Veterinary Clinic: Pet Dental Care
Park Animal Hospital & Wellness Center: Comprehensive Dental Care for Your Pets
The Domestic Dog; James Serpell
Inside of a Dog; Alexandra Horowitz
The Power of Positive Dog Training; Pat Miller

About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.