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Dog Making Weird Mouth Movements: Should You Be Worried?

Dogs make weird mouth movements due to various behavioral and psychological reasons. These include teeth chattering, lip-smacking, and frequent opening and shutting of the mouth.

Seeing your dog make weird faces can be fun to watch, but such repeated behavior can be a cause for concern. 

Your dog can be making weird mouth movements for several reasons. These can be either behavioral or psychological. 

Most dogs do not exhibit weird mouth movements but can get affected by certain diseases which make them smack their lips or grind their teeth. You should find out the exact cause behind weird mouth movements and take steps to prevent them.

This article focuses on weird mouth movements by dogs and explains the major causes of this behavior.

Is Your Dog Making Weird Mouth Movements?

Dogs make weird mouths mainly due to teeth chattering. This involves frequent clicking of the teeth due to fear, cold, or anxiety.

Dogs can be clumsy sometimes. When they exhibit weird behaviors, their owners sometimes mistake thier symptoms as clumsiness. This is one of the reasons why a serious problem can aggravate when owners don’t give their dogs appropriate attention.

If your dog is making weird mouth movements, there can be an underlying issue that requires your attention. 

In most cases, dogs make weird mouth movements due to teeth chattering. This occurs when they are afraid, anxious, or cold, which results in teeth clicking.

There are other reasons why dogs make weird mouth movements. Most of them are not serious, but some require your immediate care and attention.

Is Your Dog Making Weird Mouth Movements

5 Reasons Why Dogs Make Weird Mouth Movements

Dogs make weird mouth movements for various reasons. They can either have food stuck in between their teeth or suffer from other clinical issues.

After a hard day, coming home to meet your dog can be a lovely feeling. It can be frustrating to find your dog making weird mouth movements that don’t make any sense.

There are many reasons why your dog exhibits such behavior. Some of them are given below.

1. Food Stuck Between Teeth

Repeated opening and closing of the mouth can look weird. If your dog looks like it’s chewing something, but there is nothing in its mouth, it may be trying to dislodge food bits stuck in its teeth.

Sometimes food gets stuck in their teeth which are challenging to dislodge. Dogs don’t have hands to use toothpicks. They rely on their tongue and mouth movements to remove the stuck particles.

If your dog makes weird mouth movements soon after eating, there is nothing to worry about. It is just trying to get rid of food stuck in its teeth.

Food Stuck Between Teeth of dog

2. Lip Smacking

You may have seen your dog smacking its lips when you bring out its favorite treats. Under ordinary circumstances, dogs lick their mouths when they are hungry. Lip-smacking, in this case, is almost always accompanied by drooling.

If your dog is smacking its lips quickly and frequently, it can be because of stress or feeling intimidated.

Some serious issues are also related to dogs smacking their lips:

  • Gum infections
  • Dry mouth
  • Seizure
  • Ulcer [1]
  • Gastrointestinal problems

3. Dental Issues

One of the biggest reasons why dogs make weird mouth movements are dental issues. A loose or broken tooth can make your dog constantly open and close its mouth.

Any disturbance in your dog’s mouth can cause it to make weird faces:

  • Oral ulcers
  • Bug bites
  • Salivary cysts
  • Periodontal disease
  • Gingivitis [2]
  • Abscesses

If your dog is suffering from a mouth problem, consult a veterinarian to get proper treatment.

Dental Issues on dogs

4. Choking

Dogs love chewing on whatever they can find. A ball, a stick, or even your favorite sneakers. Most commonly, they chew on bones

Bones are amazing treats for dogs. If you give your dog a bone to chew and they accidentally swallow a broken piece, it can lead to choking.

If your dog is making weird mouth movements after eating, they may be choking and making weird movements to get some air.

Take your dog straight to a doctor in case the choking gets worse or if you are unable to get the stuck piece out.

5. Bruxism

Probably the most common reason for weird mouth movement among dogs is bruxism[3] (commonly known as teeth grinding). Teeth chattering can mean a lot of different things. It can be classified into behavioral teeth chattering or psychological.

Dogs grind their teeth for many reasons:

  • Stress
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Anxiety
  • Malocclusion
  • Shivering due to cold
  • Distemper [4]
  • Epilepsy
  • Dental pain

If your dog is suffering from any of these conditions, you should try to resolve them and make your dog feel comfortable. 

If the issue is serious and requires medical attention, consider setting up an appointment with a veterinarian.

Bruxism on dogs

Is it Natural for Dogs to Make Weird Mouth Movements?

No, it is not natural for dogs to make weird mouth movements unless they are trying to dislodge food stuck in their teeth. Dogs make strange mouth movements if they are feeling stressed, cold, or have a medical condition.

Dogs are playful creatures that crave a good playtime. While being active is natural for dogs, the same cannot be said for weird mouth movements. 

If your dog is showing this behavior, you should know what they are trying to communicate so you can resolve its problem.

Dogs don’t generally make weird mouth movements, but these movements can have a deeper problem hiding behind them, which must be identified to ensure the well-being of dogs.

How to Stop Dogs from Making Weird Mouth Movements

You can make your dog stop making weird mouth movements by detecting the root cause of the problem and solving it. Try checking their oral health and identify whether they are suffering from a medical condition that can be hazardous to their life.

The first step in solving a problem is to accept there is one. If your dog is making weird mouth movements, you must identify what is stimulating their behavior.

If you recently shifted to someplace new, it can be that your dog is stressed out from the new environment. This can be evident if they are smacking their lips frequently. Try to calm your dog down and make them get used to the place by reassuring them and staying close to them.

If your dog is shivering while making weird mouth movements, there is a possibility that they are feeling cold. You must cover your dog with a blanket or blankets to make them feel warm and cozy.

If your dog has a medical condition, you must consult with a veterinarian to detect the problem and provide adequate treatment.

You should also take care of your dog’s oral hygiene by regularly brushing their teeth and checking for early signs of plaque development.


Strange mouth movements are a common sight among dogs which can mean several things. It can be as simple as having food bits stuck in their teeth which makes them look like they are chewing.

It can also be something more serious. Dogs can develop certain diseases and conditions which affect their oral health. Epilepsy, anxiety, stress, tooth pain, or even choking can result in weird mouth movements.

It is important for you to be aware of the various causes of this behavior and take the required steps to prevent it.


Why is My Dog’s Mouth Quivering and Drooling?

Dogs quiver for a variety of reasons, such as excitement, rage, pain, and even nausea. Trembling couples with drooling can be a cause of concern. It can mean that your dog has food poisoning and requires immediate medical attention.

Why Does My Dog Keep Opening and Closing Mouth Repeatedly?

Dogs open and close their mouths repeatedly because they have food stuck in between their teeth or because they are feeling cold.

Why is My Dog Making Weird Noise with Mouth?

There are several reasons why your dog is making weird noises with its mouth. It can be that they are in a lot of pain or having epileptic seizures. It can also be that your pooch is emotionally stressed or burned out. You should consult a veterinarian if your dog persists in making weird noises as it can be serious.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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