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dog's bottom jaw shaking

Why is My Dog’s Bottom Jaw Shaking? Should I Be Worried?

A dog’s bottom jaw shaking is common and usually harmless, but it sometimes indicates a medical issue. We look at several causes of a shaking jaw.

Most dog owners are so familiar with their dog that when one of their behaviors changes, it is quite obvious. It can also be quite alarming, especially if the behavior suggests anxiety or discomfort — like a suddenly quivering jaw. Chances are you’re reading this because you’re wondering “why is my dog’s bottom jaw shaking?”

Your dog’s jaw could be shaking for many reasons, including excitement, boredom, the temperature, dental issues, or even anxiety. While the cause may be something harmless, it’s important to note when this jaw shaking happens in order to rule out any potential medical conditions that might need veterinary treatment.

In this article, we will explore reasons why your dog’s bottom jaw is shaking, and whether you need to seek further advice.

Reasons Your Dog’s Bottom Jaw is Shaking

It’s important to determine the root cause of why your dog’s bottom jaw is shaking.
In the majority of cases, jaw shaking (and teeth chattering) happens for a perfectly harmless and normal reason.

These reasons include:

Happiness or Excitement

There’s no denying that dogs can have a lot of energy, and a shaking jaw can often be a symptom of their excitement or happiness.

Dogs are perceptive creatures. You may notice that their bottom jaw begins to shake as soon as you walk through the door when you’re back from work, or before you take your dog on a walk, or prior to feeding time, to name a few examples.

When your dog is overwhelmed with happiness or excitement for something, this can sometimes manifest itself in their bottom jaw. However, this should be temporary and is circumstantial, so you don’t need to worry about doing anything.


Unfortunately, many dogs suffer with anxiety just like humans do. This condition can manifest in a variety of different ways and through several symptoms.

When a dog is anxious, it can lead to compulsive behaviors, including chewing, licking, and excessive barking. When you call on your dog to stop these particular behaviors, you might find them with a shaking bottom jaw.

In addition, dogs that suffer from separation anxiety might also exhibit this behavior. For example, if your dog knows the signs of when you’re gathering your possessions and putting your shoes on to leave the house at the same time everyday to go to work, they might act out of character to get your attention.

This anxiety can build over time to the point where it becomes all-consuming for your pet, resulting in physical manifestations of the anxiety, including a shivering lower jaw.

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from any form of anxiety, it’s crucial that you consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to give you advice on how to manage the condition, and what you can do to help ease their symptoms, both through medication and with behavioral modification.

The Temperature Has Dropped Outside

Another reason that your dog’s bottom jaw might be shaking is if the temperature has recently dropped outside.

During winter, your dog’s jaw might start to shake as soon as you step outside for their walk simply because they’re cold. This is particularly true of smaller sized dogs that are more susceptible to the cold. This is generally why sweaters or coats are recommended if your pooch has a short coat, as this will provide them with another layer of protection from the elements and will help to keep the jaw shaking to a minimum.

dog's lower jaw shaking

That being said, once you’ve brought your dog inside you will need to make sure that you warm them up sufficiently. If they are wet due to rain or snow, make sure that you dry them off properly and wrap them up in a blanket to help them warm up.

If you make sure to follow these steps, then their bottom jaw will soon stop shaking.

A Distraction

Dogs can also shake their bottom jaw as a means of distraction. For instance, if your dog is sensing that they are in danger, they may use displacement language by shaking their bottom jaw, to distract another dog or person if they deem themselves to be in harm’s way.

When your dog’s bottom jaw begins to shake, they are attempting to confuse his possible attacker, hoping they will begin to wonder more about their bottom jaw shaking than attacking him. Other signs of displacement might manifest in your dog licking his nose, or sniffing the ground.

Medical reasons for a dog’s bottom jaw shaking

A shaking jaw may be a sign of an underlying medical issue. It’s important that you’re aware of the medical reasons that could be why your dog’s bottom jaw is shaking.

Dental Problems

Your dog’s bottom jaw might be shaking because of dental problems. Unfortunately, dogs can’t voice when their teeth are hurting them in the same way that humans can, but they can let you know in other ways. 

In this circumstance, it is a good idea to hold their jaw to see if the shaking stops. You will also want to make sure that you take a good look at the inside of your dog’s mouth to investigate the issue.

Their bottom jaw could be shaking because they have chipped a tooth, or have a cavity, infection or sore inside their mouth that you aren’t aware of. If they’re in pain, they are likely to squirm when you try to investigate, but it’s important that you gently look.

dog's lower jaw shakes

A dog that is suffering from dental problems might also show other signs, including bad breath, difficulty eating or chewing on one side in particular, and excessive drooling.

If the jaw shaking seems to be causing them pain, you will need to make sure that you seek the medical advice of a veterinarian.


A dog’s bottom jaw might be shaking due to toxins that they have ingested, which is a serious concern for any dog owner.

When allowed to move freely around the house and garage, your dog will be able to find a variety of chemicals, poisons, and toxins if you’re not mindful of keeping them out of reach.

Ingesting these products can lead to a variety of unique signs, including causing their bottom jaw to shake and can even be fatal if veterinary attention isn’t sought quickly enough. There will nearly always be evidence left over if your dog has ingested a toxic chemical under the sink or in the garage.

Always make sure that you keep potential toxins out of your dog’s reach. If you suspect that they have ingested something that they shouldn’t have, call your vet immediately.


Another reason why your dog’s jaw might be shaking is seizures. While seizures in dogs are rare, they are more common in older dogs and can cause many different symptoms that you might not be aware of.

Seizures can vary in severity and duration, and can cause the type of jaw shaking that we’re discussing in this article. For instance, if your dog’s bottom jaw tightens before or after it shakes this could be down to a focal motor seizure.

On the other hand, if they drool after their jaw shakes, and you’re not holding out something new to smell or to taste, it could be that they are having a seizure due to epilepsy. It’s worth noting that seizures can also be accompanied by other symptoms, including fatigue and a loss of appetite. 

If your dog has experienced a seizure or you suspect that they have judging by their change in behavior, then you will need to contact your veterinarian as soon as you can.

Breed of Dog

It’s also worth noting that some dogs are more predisposed to shaking and tremors than other breeds.

For instance, Dalmatians, Labrador Retrievers, and Weimaraners are a few of the breeds that are prone to a condition known as shaker syndrome. This is a condition that causes head and body tremors in dogs, and isn’t isolated in just their jaw.

While their symptoms can come and go, certain environmental factors, such as stress can exacerbate this issue in these breeds.

If the breed of your dog is susceptible to shaker syndrome and they suddenly begin shaking, it’s crucial that you get them examined by your vet. Your vet will be able to run tests and determine the cause of the shaking, and rule out anything more sinister.

What to do if your dog’s bottom jaw is shaking?

Normally, this isn’t something to be concerned about if you can attribute it to environmental factors.

However, if you’re concerned that your dog’s jaw is shaking due to a medical reason, you should book your dog for a veterinary examination to ensure they’re in the best health possible.

How do you minimize the amount your dog’s bottom jaw shakes?

This depends on the root cause! Regular dental check ups are recommended to ensure your dog’s dental health isn’t the cause.

However, jaw shaking can be normal and natural in situations where your dog is excited or cold, and isn’t necessarily something you should always be concerned about.

In Summary

A dog’s bottom jaw will shake for a variety of reasons that usually you won’t need to worry about.

However, it’s important to stay in tune with your dog and notice when this jaw shaking takes place to determine the root cause to rule out anything more sinister.

If you suspect that your dog’s bottom jaw is shaking because of a medical issue, you will need to contact your veterinarian immediately to ensure your dog receives the appropriate care.

Superb Dog Editor

Superb Dog Editor