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Why is my dog drooling?

Saint Bernard dog drooling advice
© Pixabay

Dogs do lots of cute things. They also do some not so cute things. Drooling is definitely not cute! Let's find out why they drool, and how to manage excessive drooling in dogs.

By Ashley Murphy

Why is my dog drooling?

A certain amount of drooling is perfectly normal. In fact, it’s healthy - drooling helps dogs digest their food. But excessive drooling (otherwise know as hypersalivation) could be a sign of illness. It also looks pretty unpleasant!

Do some dogs drool more than others?

Yes, and it's related to the shape of their mouths. Breeds like the Mastiff and St Bernard have thick, loose lips that struggle to control the flow of saliva and drool. Other dogs with the same problem include bloodhounds and Newfoundlands. There's nothing you can really to do stop it; you'll just have to stock on tissues or paper towels!

Excessive drooling in dogs

It's difficult to define excessive drooling. For example, some dogs drool a lot when they're hungry. Others drool when they're excited or nervous. In cases like these, the drolling is directly related to a stimulus. Once that's removed, or satisfied, the drooling will usually stop.

But if you notice a big change in their drooling habits, or if they appear to be drooling for no obvious reason, then there's probably an underlying cause. Excessive drooling can be related to any of the following:

1#Foreign objects

The first thing you should do is check your dog's mouth. They may have ingested a foreign object, and you might see some traces in or around the mouth. Only remove these if you feel comfortable in doing so, or if you're sure it's safe. In all other instances, contact a local vet.

2#Dental problems

Without proper dental care, plaque and tartar can build up inside your dog's mouth. This can rub against the inside of their lips, causing them to drool more than usual. Poor dental hygiene can also lead to gingivitis, mouth ulcers, and even tumours, all of which can cause excessive drooling. So check your dog's teeth for any discolouration or damage. A dog's breath will never smell particularly nice, but dental problems can make it smell much worse.  Any dental issues will need the attention of a local vet. In the meantime, focus on prevention. You should be brushing your dog's teeth at least three times a week, and preferably every day.

3#Infection 

A salivating dog might have a throat or sinus infection. Other symptoms would include very bad breath, plus, a loss of appetite. Dogs are pretty sturdy creatures. Most infections will clear up after a few days. If not, take them to a vet. They'll normally prescribe a short course of antibiotics to kill off the infection.

More reasons for excessive drooling in dogs

4#Heat stroke

Your dog has a coat fur attached to its back. They can't just take it off when it gets warm. Certain short-faced breeds, like the pug, can also suffer from breathing difficulties. Add in some very hot weather and the dog is at risk of overheating. Excessive drooling is just one of many symptoms. Others include heavy panting, erratic pulse, vomiting, and they may even collapse. Heatstroke is serious. The dog will need immediate medical assistance.

5#Poisonous plants

Dogs will eat almost anything. They're natural scavengers who are always on the lookout for new food sources. Although this helped them survive in the wild for thousands of years, it’s also a bit risky. They never quite know what they putting into their bodies, and certain plants and shrubs are poisonous to dogs. Common plants that are bad for your dog include tulips, azaleas, and chrysanthemums. Any dog who eats these is likely to start drooling very heavily.

6#Liver or kidney disease 

Excessive salivation is also a sign of liver or kidney disease. Both can be extremely very serious and heavy drooling won't be the only symptom. Other things to look out for include loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, and increased urination.

Liver and kidney disease are treatable, but early diagnosis and treatment are super important. Take your dog to a vet if you notice any worrying symptoms.

7#Anxiety

Many dogs drool when they're anxious. Luckily, it's fairly easy to manage. You just need to identify what's making your dog anxious. For instance, many dogs suffer from motion sickness, and so car journeys can often be an anxiety trigger. Other examples include separation anxiety, a fear of loud noises, or a nervousness around new people. But remove or manage the trigger, and the excessive drooling will stop.

For some dogs, excessive drolling is completely normal. Unfortunately, you'll just have to get used to it! For other dogs, a little bit of drooling is completely harmless and even necessary. But keep your eyes peeled for any significant changes in your dogs behaviour. If they're drooling more than usual, or drooling for no apparent reason, then you'll need to identify an underlying cause. Look out for any associated symptoms; think about any recent changes in your dogs routine or environment, and never be afraid to ask a vet for more advice.