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Category: Dog Veterinary
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Why Is My Dog's Jaw Shaking?

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Why is my dog's jaw shaking? He is acting totally normal otherwise, eating and drinking, but every once in awhile he moves his tongue around and his jaw shakes like something is bothering him. I have looked in his mouth and can't see anything. Any idea what this could be? I am really worried  Thanks for your help.

Take a look in his mouth to see if there are any teeth that look dark or might be cracked as you are right a dental problem can be one cause of this.

Look under his tongue to see if there are any lumps there too if you can.

If you happen to have a female in heat nearby he may be vibrating his jaw in response to the pheromones. Dogs have an organ on the roof of the mouth that helps them 'taste' pheromones and will chatter their jaws to get the scent up to the organ.

The nerves that work the muscles in the head including the jaw are run from the neck around the head. Any pinching of those nerves can cause muscle tremoring and may lead to a problem such as mascitory myositis which you can read about here

A splinter from the mouth that is driven up into the roof of the mouth or the eye area can lead to infection behind the eye and tremoring like you see.

And there is also the possibility that this is a seizure as focal or partial seizures, unlike the grand mal type episode, can show as a twitching in the face area and the dog stays totally alert as it happens.

You can read about seizures here

I'd plan a vet visit for an exam and if you can get a video of the episodes to show to your vet this may help in diagnosis.

NHolmes and 4 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you so much. What do you think the chances are of this being a seizure and if it is, can I wait to take him to the vet until tomorrow? Would seizures happen for hours?

Small seizures can repeat for hours. Its the grand mal seizures repeating that are particularly dangerous for dogs.

Sometimes this can be a side effect of low blood sugar too so you might consider giving him a spoonful of vanilla icecream or yogurt or some Karo or pancake syrup on his tongue to see if that stops the motions. If it does then feed him a small meal to keep the blood sugar up.

I do think seeing your vet is a good idea as there is such a wide variety of possible issues.

If he gets worse you can always choose to see an emergency vet at that time.

This site may help you locate an emergency vet if you need one

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you. Also, he stops if I say who's here or cookie. He stops and looks at me with his ears perked up. Hopefully that is a sign this isn't a seizure?

Yes hopefully you will find the whole thing is something as simple as a broken tooth causing some pain!

But it will take an in person vet exam to see.