What Causes Dog Jaw Spasms? Outside of barking, man’s best friend is known for making some of the strangest sounds at times. The chances are good that you may have noticed a chattering noise that occasionally appears, but if not below zero temperature, you may be wondering the cause.
Unlike humans, teeth chattering or dog jaw spasms can mean many different things.
What Causes Dog Jaw Spasms?
This could be harmless when playful or excited or try an unfamiliar taste, or smelt an unwanted thing. However, it may be surprising to discover that it signals particular medical conditions. Before worrying about what causes dog jaw spasms, it helps to ask several questions.
- What is the dog’s behavior (are they socializing, sniffing, or eating)?
- How do they act when their teeth are chattering?
- Is the dog grinding or clicking its teeth?
- What is the state of health for the teeth?
Such behavior provides a clue as to whether this is a pain symptom or just an emotional response to the cause of the jaw spasms.
Pain Symptom or an Emotional Response
If an emotional response, dogs will often chatter teeth out of nervousness or excitement. Anticipating a ball about to be thrown, a treat, or play with a favorite toy triggers jaw clicking.
If stress or anxiety, it helps to ask if the dog is naturally scared. They may find that teeth chatter while in new environments or around new people. This is often a coping mechanism to remain calm.
If a medical condition, it may signal an issue with the teeth or gums despite the chattering appearing harmless on the surface. The most common medical issue facing chattering is referred to as a periodontal disease. Such a condition happens when bacteria inflame the gums, and the tissue, bones, and teeth all deteriorate. Chattering is additionally caused by sensitiveness due to a loss of enamel.
If oral pain, dogs do best to hide pain and show signs of weakness, but chattering is often an instinctual reaction to pain. If an owner wonders where this persistency comes from, it helps to consult a veterinarian.
The mouth of a dog will often chatter after licking something.
This is, in fact, a common impulse and nothing to be concerned with. Keep in mind that a dog’s sense of smell and taste is much stronger and often results in chattering.
If chattering is a regular occurrence, it is important to make an appointment with a veterinarian. These qualified professionals will help you rule out and uncover potential problems. A veterinarian will thoroughly examine the gums and teeth to find any signs of disease or fractures.
If there aren’t any signs of a potential problem, the vet may suggest X-rays before proceeding further. The vet will also ask many questions regarding the behavior of the dog over the past few weeks.
Any unusual behavior such as drooling, avoiding toys and food all serve as signals of mouth pain. Equally, foul blood or odors coming from the mouth signify problems.
Given that chattering is often the result of pain in the gums or teeth, it’s critical to maintain proper oral hygiene. Brush the teeth several times a week or provide the dog with dental bones to keep the plaque and tartar at bay.
In addition to chattering as an example of what causes jaw spasms, there is another form of jaw spasm known as teeth grinding or bruxism. This is often a symptom of stress or an underlying health issue, yet always related to some form of pain.
Due to the fact that persistent teeth grinding results in even more issues like worn down enamels, fractures, and infections, it is yet another reason to consult a veterinarian.
The three primary causes of teeth grinding are as follows
Pain – dogs often grind teeth as a natural response to displeasure. As this is the most common catalyst, it is critical to identify the root cause by a licensed professional.
Jaw abnormality – a dog’s jaw can often be misaligned at birth resulting in an over or underbite, making it difficult to close their mouth correctly and lead to grinding.
Stress – similar to humans, dogs grind teeth when feeling stressed or anxious. Working with a behaviorist and a vet allows you to identify the root cause and put in measures to manage these stress levels.
If you find that after visiting the vet that the grinding is not the result of stress or pain, further tests may be implemented to help identify the cause, along with a temporary prescription to lessen the symptoms.
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