This is why Great Danes chatter their teeth

Great Danes are known as gentle giants, but the sight of one chattering their teeth might be enough to scare someone! While teeth chattering is virtually never a sign of aggression, it could be for a different reason than you might expect.

Why do Great Danes chatter their teeth? Great Danes chatter their teeth for many reasons. Some of the reasons include:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Excitement
  • To smell
  • Medical issues 
    • Dental problems
    • Pain or distress
    • Neurological conditions
  • Old age

Rather than leave it at that, let’s take a look at some additional details behind each of these possible reasons for Great Dane teeth chattering!

Why Do Great Danes Chatter Their Teeth?

According to the American Kennel Club, Great Danes are sweet, large dogs, but they are also guardians. Their size alone is enough to cause an intruder to pause, but Danes are known for their patient and easy-going natures. 

Great Danes are easy to train and socialize, and training is necessary to ensure they grow to be well-adjusted adult dogs. Since the Dane is sensitive and eager to please, its teeth chattering is likely a way to communicate with its owner.

A Great Dane chattering its teeth sounds more the clicking you hear when someone is cold. The teeth rapidly click against one another when the mouth is quickly opened and closed repeatedly. The owner’s first thought might be that their Great Dane is cold, but that may not be the case.

In case you’re not exactly sure what a teeth chatter sounds like, here’s a short YouTube video of a Great Dane chattering their teeth.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons below that may explain why your Great Dane chatters their teeth.

Reason #1 – Teeth Chattering Due to Stress or Anxiety

Sometimes the teeth chattering in a Dane is caused by stress or anxiety. Owners might notice this behavior occurs during a time of stress, such as when they can tell you are about to leave, and they have a hard time coping with separation. 

If the teeth are chattering as a response to a new person or dog, remove your dog from the situation. Training and socialization may help the Dane cope with some difficult situations, curbing the need to chatter their teeth is a response to a stressor.

Also, a dog might be anticipating an upcoming event. If the Dane is suspicious that a car ride will result in a trip to the vet or that he is getting an unwanted bath, the chattering may take on a different meaning. There might be other indications your Dane is under stress. Frequently, shaking happens at the same time as teeth chattering.

Reason #2 – Your Great Dane May Be Excited

When dogs get excited, they tend to exhibit many mannerisms. A dog may jump around and shake, and their teeth may chatter. The anticipation of a treat, car ride, or a walk is often enough to get any dog in a chattering mood. 

Dogs experience and express joy, just like humans do, but they express it differently. If you notice your Dane chattering their teeth when you first come home after being gone, you need not worry. Your dog is very excited to see you and wants to let you know.

Reason #3 – Sense of Smell

According to research conducted by Eileen K. Jenkins, et al., titled “When the Nose Doesn’t Know: Canine Olfactory Function Associated With Health, Management, and Potential Links to Microbiota,” dogs use their mouths to smell the air, as well.

Dogs have an organ at the roof of their mouth called the vomeronasal organ. Also, dogs have a duct known as the incisive papilla behind their top incisor.

Your Dane may be chattering their teeth to help smell the air!

Reason #4 – Teeth Chattering as a Sign of Medical Problems

Since a dog cannot talk and tell humans how they are feeling, they exhibit behaviors that tell us they are in pain.

One of the ways your Dane may be communicating pain is through chattering their teeth. This behavior could be a sign of several different problems.

Dental Problems

One of the more frequent reasons a dog’s teeth are chattering is oral pain. Advanced periodontal disease is one of the most common medical issues that cause suffering in dogs that result in teeth chattering. Periodontal disease happens when bacteria grow in the areas between the teeth and the gums. It impacts the bones, teeth, and gum tissue in the mouth and is very painful. 

If you suspect the teeth chattering is caused by dental pain, look for other symptoms. If your Dane has a hard time hearing, is drooling more than usual, or has unusually bad breath, this may all point to dental issues. Also, a dog with dental problems may have red or bleeding gums. Look for signs of blood on their favorite toy or in their mouths.

Sign of Pain and Distress

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, in their guidelines for “Addressing pain,” dogs communicate pain in many ways. One common way a dog expresses pain is by chattering their teeth.

If you suspect that pain is the reason your Dane is chattering its teeth, it is essential to let a vet determine if there is an underlying and treatable condition causing the behavior.

Neurological Conditions

According to Adrienne F., in her article “Why Do Dogs Chatter Their Teeth?” the chattering might be a sign of a neurological condition.

Frequently, we think of seizures as impacting the whole body, but it is possible for the seizure to only manifest in one part of the body. This is referred to as focal seizures. 

An owner can tell the difference by gaining your dog’s attention by voice or touch when the chattering happens. If the dog stops chattering the teeth because of the distraction, this will indicate they can control the chattering, and it is unlikely to be a sign of a disorder.

If the teeth chattering continues, it is essential to see a vet.

Reason #5 – Old Age

As dogs age, they lose control over some aspects of their bodies. This includes control over limbs and jaws.

As a dog ages, teeth chattering might become more frequent.

Also, older dogs are more likely to become hurt or in more pain overall. This leads to teeth chattering as a response to the pain their aging bodies experience.

If you feel this is the case for your Great Dane, a vet can rule out treatable reasons for your dog to be in pain or help find a way to address the pain.

Chattering Is Not to Be Confused with Snapping or Play Fighting

Two Great Danes play fighting

Dogs might snap their teeth in the air or at people or other dogs when they feel threatened or irritated. This type of behavior is a warning for others to stay away, but the chattering of the teeth is different.

Snapping might come along with other warning signs such as baring of the teeth and growling. Also, there might be other body signals such as raised hair along the spine and the position of the tail. If a dog exhibits this behavior, be careful.

Sometimes dogs clack their teeth when playing with each other.

This clacking is called jaw sparring, and it is used when playing and practicing fighting. It is a soft bite and causes no harm.

However, if one dog is jaw sparring and the other is not, be cautious because the play can escalate. 

To Put The Wrap On Teeth Chattering

If you notice your Great Dane’s teeth chattering, the first step is to see what is happening that could be causing it.

Gathering insight from the environment and what happened just before the chattering started will help you better determine the cause. 

The chattering might be because your Dane is excited to go for a walk or get a treat, but it might be caused by anxiety, as well. Lastly, it is crucial to determine if the chattering is a response to pain, which could indicate some underlying medical condition. A trip to the vet will clear up that mystery.

Zach Reed

Hi everyone, I'm the founder of GreatDaneCare.com! As a Great Dane owner and advocate, I want to help spread my love and knowledge about these wonderful giants around to others through my writing!

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