My dog snaps its teeth: what causes it and how to react?
Have you ever noticed your dog chattering his teeth and wondered why he does that? Let’s go through the different possible explanations.
Clicking teeth can be a completely harmless act for a dog, unless it becomes excessive. Let’s see for what reasons a dog can be led to click its teeth, when it is necessary to worry and especially what to do in each of these cases.
Reason No. 1: My dog snaps his teeth out of fear
It is not uncommon to see a dog that is afraid to snap its teeth, however, to be sure that this is fear-related, you will need to observe this behaviour in combination with other warning signals such as shaking, possibly growling and a general running away attitude.
What to do?
In the case where the dog snaps its teeth to signify its fear, it is unfortunately only the visible part of the iceberg. Here we must try to understand what triggers the dog’s fear and try to calm the situation rather than trying to eliminate only the symptom of this problem.
Here, more in-depth work will be required to understand and solve the problem, so don’t hesitate to seek the help of a canine behaviour specialist.
Reason #2: My dog snaps his teeth to communicate.
Tooth-clicking is part of the dog’s toolbox for communicating his emotions.
Generally speaking, in communication with others, the clattering of teeth will convey a message of discomfort, and like the clattering of teeth out of fear, this signal will be accompanied by other signals of appeasement such as licking the nose, yawning, running away or grunting.
The snapping of teeth is also a way for the dog to receive information from other dogs, which is called “Flehmen”, which in German means “to raise the upper lip”.
We will notice this attitude following the olfactory observation of an odor (trace of urine left by a female in heat for example) The dog then uses his nose to analyze the smell, but not only!
Indeed, the smell being very tempting for the dog, he will open his mouth, salivate and roll up his upper lip to send the information more quickly to the organ that will allow him to analyze it.
What’s that got to do with the teeth chattering, you ask? Well, you will notice that when your dog smells something that is particularly important to him, the action of “Flehmen” will be accompanied by the clicking of his teeth.
What to do?
The dog doesn’t speak, but these attitudes and gestures are sometimes worth a thousand words if you can understand them.
Reason #3: My dog snaps his teeth because he’s cold…
It’s possible that they might be slamming their teeth because they’re cold, even though we think they have fur to protect themselves.
Dogs are like any other animal that needs warmth to survive.
What can you do about it?
Buying clothes for your dog is the best idea, know that there are several dog clothes, sweaters, coats… if you don’t feel like busting your head for dog clothes, know that you can always opt for second-hand clothes, which in no way means that it’s clothes that have holes in them.