Why Does My Golden Retriever Chatter his Teeth? (and How to Stop It)


It’s not that the teeth chattering itself is concerning, but it’s also the way that their whole body tends to tremble when they do it. This is why I was really concerned the first time I noticed it, and if you’re reading this, chances are you’re in my shoes right now.

So, why does it happen?

Why does my golden retriever chatter his teeth? Golden retrievers usually chatter their teeth because of gum or tooth pain, they can also chatter their teeth when they are too happy or excited, or if they do it after sniffing something then it means they are sending large scent molecules to their incisive papilla.

That was the short answer if you want to know more about why does your golden retriever chatter his teeth and how to stop it, just keep on reading.

7 Reasons Why Your Dog’s Teeth Chatter 

golden retriever yawning to illustrate the reasons to why does my golden retriever chatter his teeth

There are so many reasons why dogs would do that, but here are the 7 most common reasons golden retrievers chatter their teeth;

  • Stress or anxiety 
  • Oral pain
  • Medical condition  
  • Emotional response 
  • Periodontal disease 
  • Form of communication 
  • Warning sign  

Let’s break them down into a bit more detail;

Stress or anxiety 

Stress and anxiety are some of the most common reasons why dogs chatter their teeth whether they are anxious – whether it’s separation anxiety or it’s triggered by something else.

You should look for signs when they do it, for example, if they do it when they are around new people, someone they don’t like, when you leave them alone, or when they are around something they don’t like.

Dogs use chattering their teeth as a coping mechanism to help them relax and stay calm, if your dog chatters their teeth regularly then you should take them to the vet.

Oral pain 

When dogs chatter their teeth, it usually means that they are experiencing some kind of pain and that’s their instinctual response to being in pain, so you can check for signs in their mouth that can cause them any pain.

If you do notice any of these signs, you will need to take your dog to the vet. 

Here are some signs to help you figure out if your dog is suffering from some oral pain.

  • Whimpering 
  • Red gums 
  • Drooling 
  • Decrease in appetite 
  • Resisting head pets 
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Swollen gums
  • Change in activity level
  • Displaying protective behavior 
  • Eating slower 
  • Resisting head pets 
  • Change in their behavior 
  • Dropping food

Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth can go a long way in preventing such problems, so make sure to check out my full step-by-step guide on cleaning golden retriever teeth at home here.

Medical condition 

Usually, the teeth chattering is pretty harmless but it can be a sign of a problem with their teeth or gums.

Also, if they have sensitive teeth, it can be the reason why they chatter their teeth due to a loss of tooth enamel.

Here are the most common signs to know if your dogs have dental disease.

  • Bad breath 
  • Bleeding from mouth
  • Teeth covered in tartar 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • They look uncomfortable whenever you come close to their mouth
  • Loss of weight 
  • Dropping food from their mouth 
  • Drooling 

Emotional response 

Dogs can chatter their teeth if they are extremely happy or excited and it’s most likely the reason why if they do it when they come back home, you grab their leash for a walk, seeing a treat, playing with their favorite toy, or you playing with them.

Periodontal disease 

Periodontal disease is a painful condition that dogs chatter their teeth to help them feel less pain.

This condition leads to their gums become inflamed and the bacteria deteriorates their teeth eventually and their tissue and bones as well.

Here are some symptoms to help you out.

  • Loose teeth 
  • Bumps or lumps in their mouth
  • Problems picking up food
  • Bad breath 
  • Ropey or bloody saliva 
  • Making noises while eating or yawning
  • Bleeding into their bowl of water 
  • Bleeding or red gums
  • Bleeding on their chew toys 

Periodontal disease is one of the very common reasons why some golden retrievers stink, so if your dog’s breath or overall smell has been worse than usual lately, this should be your prime suspect.

Form of communication 

Just like sniffing each other’s tails, chattering their teeth could be a form of communication with other dogs.

They can also do it when they are sniffing a spot in the street because the spot they are sniffing is urine marked by dogs.

So they do the teeth chattering thing to help them analyze the smell and male dogs usually do it to determine if the female dog is in heat or not.

Warning sign  

Dogs can also chatter their teeth as a sign of being scared or trying to give you signs that they are feeling threatened or they feel that something is off.

They may be also giving you a sign that they are feeling pain and they need help.

No matter what the reason is if they tend to do it regularly, you should take them to the vet so they won’t have to experience any pain.

When to Worry About Your Dog’s Teeth Chattering? 

You should worry if the teeth chattering is a symptom of one of these health conditions.

Epilepsy 

Signs:

  • Loss of voluntary control 
  • Irregular attacks (starts and ends suddenly)
  • Muscle twitching 
  • Attacks that appear similar each time 
  • Often seen with convulsions 

Neurological degeneration 

Signs: 

  • Problems with urination 
  • Inability to blink 
  • Complete paralysis of hind or front limbs 
  • Loss of sense of pain in the affected limbs 
  • Facial paralysis 
  • Loss of their tongue function 

Periodontal disease 

Signs: 

  • Bleeding gums 
  • Bloody saliva 
  • Making noises while eating 
  • Problems picking up their food
  • Loose teeth 
  • Bad breath 
  • Yawning while eating 
  • Bleeding on their chew toys 
  • Ropey saliva 
  • Lumps in their mouth 
  • Red gums 
  • Bleeding into their food or water bowl 

What to Do About Your Dog’s Teeth Chattering? 

If they do it regularly then you need to make an appointment with their vet, it’s the best solution because even if your dog doesn’t have any other signs, the vet can tell if they have an underlying issue.

The vet will be able to examine their teeth and gums to notice any signs of disease.

You can get them a dental chew that helps with any teeth problem and will help with the chattering as well as there is no harm in making their teeth whiter.

Below are the best dental chews that I tried with my golden retrievers and actually made a difference, so give them a try.

Also, you can try to give them a soft plush toy in their mouth to stop them from chattering their teeth, it can be very useful as a distraction and it can calm them down a bit. Here are some of my favorites;

If this article was useful to you, you can share it with your friends and family, they might be experiencing the same thing with their dogs and it can be useful to them as well and I will certainly appreciate it.

Related Questions 

What is teeth chattering a symptom of? 

Teeth chattering is a symptom of many things, it could be a symptom of anxiety and stress or it might be a dental problem, they are experiencing some kind of oral pain, also, it might be bruxism, it’s a common symptom of panic and anxiety.

Is teeth chattering in a dog a seizure? 

Yes, it could be and you will need to watch their behavior closely, however teeth chattering can be caused by many things such as anxiety, dental issues, stress, warning sign, a sign of communication, or periodontal disease.

Why Do Dogs Mouth shake after licking? 

Dogs’ mouths shake after licking often because of an impulsive reaction, dogs’ sense of smell and taste is way stronger than ours which can lead to them chattering their teeth and if it happens regularly you should take them to the vet.

Helpful Resources 

Reasons your dog is chattering his teeth

What you need to know about dog teeth chattering

Why Does My Dog’s Teeth Chatter?

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