What Does It Mean When a Dog Clicks Its Teeth?

by Naomi Millburn
    "I click my teeth when something new catches my attention."

    "I click my teeth when something new catches my attention."

    Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Tooth clicking 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.

    Uneasy Clicking

    If your dog is clicking 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 clicking 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 Clicking

    Some dogs click 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.

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    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.

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