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Why is my dog drooling?

It is perfectly normal for dogs to drool occasionally, it is an expected part of dog ownership! Naturally, some breeds with prominent jowls such as Saint Bernards and English Bulldogs tend to drool more than others. Dog parents often worry about their dogs’ drooling behaviour, and if you are concerned, you are not alone.

Thankfully, drooling is often normal or a sign of a mild problem. However, there are certain situations in which your dog’s drooling may signify a more serious problem. In this article, we’ll help you understand more about some of the most common causes of dog drooling and when it is necessary for veterinary intervention.

Hunger and Excitement
Occasional drooling in dogs due to hunger and excitement are harmless. Some dogs drool more compared to others due to the formation of their lips whereby they tend to droop and are unable to hold their saliva inside the mouth effectively.

As long as your dog’s drool is clear, and stops fairly quickly with no signs of distress, this drooling is harmless and there is nothing to be worried about. However, if your dog starts drooling excessively out of the blue, or does it more than usual, this shouldn’t be ignored.

Dental Issues
Tooth infections, a fractured tooth, tartar build up and gum diseases can cause excessive drooling. Excessive tartar and gingivitis (inflamed, sore gums) are commonly found in dogs due to their diet, genetic predisposition and a lack of teeth brushing. When a tooth gets infected, an abscess (pocket of pus) can occur around the roots, causing swelling and pain. All of these can cause drooling in dogs.

For dogs that drool due to dental problems, their drool may be blood-tinged, smell bad or contain some brown discharge. You may also notice your dog pawing at their mouth, dropping food, or observe a reduction in their appetite. This is a cause of concern and requires veterinary attention.

Cleaning your dog’s teeth regularly can help prevent dental problems. This can be done via various methods such as using dog-safe toothpaste, giving them dental chews, or taking them for regular dental checks at your usual veterinary clinic. You could also add dental additives in your dog’s food or water to help prevent plaque from forming.

Heat Stroke
Dogs are particularly susceptible to heat stroke, especially older dogs and those with thicker coats or flat faces (brachycephalic). Is your dog drooling and panting on a hot day? They could be panting and drooling more in an attempt to cool down. To prevent your dogs from getting a heat stroke, always ensure that they has access to cool, shady areas. Make sure they are drinking enough water, and if your dog enjoys sunbathing, monitor him and don’t let him stay outside for too long.

When a dog has a heat stroke, you may notice heavy panting, agitation, red gums, vomiting, lack of coordination, or if severe cases, your dog may collapse. Your dog would require veterinary treatment as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can use wet towels or fans to cool them down while heading to the veterinary clinic. It is crucial to treat this as a life-threating emergency and seek veterinary care immediately.

Just like humans, dogs experiences nausea as well. When we feel nauseous, we experience a build up of saliva in our mouths, and this is exaggerated in dogs whereby they tend to drool a lot. It could be due to motion sickness, anxiety, tummy issues, vestibular syndrome, and kidney or liver disease. If the drooling is caused by nausea, they might have a loss in appetite, and seem to be restless or pacing more than usual. In some cases, you might also notice both drooling and vomiting. If your dog’s drooling and vomiting continue or are severe, take them for a check-up with your veterinarian.

Dogs explore the world using their five senses. Some in particular, love exploring with their mouths.
They might have accidentally ingested a toxic substance which causes them to drool. Eating or licking something toxic could also in serious cases, cause a seizure, whereby dogs tend to drool during and after seizing. Some toxic substances causes other symptoms such as vomiting, weakness or a lack of coordination. Contact your veterinary clinic immediately if you suspect that your dog has licked or ate something he shouldn’t.

Mouth and Throat problems
Dogs tend to drool if there is a foreign object stuck in their mouth or throat, and would usually show signs of distress such as shaking, restlessness and pawing at the face. Your dog may allow you to open its mouth to check, but if you are unsure, it is safest to allow your veterinarian to deal with it.

Oral lumps and cancers can also cause hyper salivation as well as difficulty eating and drinking. You might notice unexplained weight loss, vomiting or vague symptoms, and their saliva might be blood-tinged. Reach out to your veterinary clinic if you are concerned about anything abnormal in your dog’s mouth or notice any of these symptoms.

Gastrointestinal Problems
Several gastrointestinal disorders can cause hyper salivation with varying degrees of severity. Intestinal blockage is fairly common in dogs because they love to chew on foreign objects which they accidentally swallow. Besides an increased salivation, it also causes vomiting without the ability to defecate, loss of appetite, weakness and signs of restlessness. Seek veterinary care immediately as soon as you suspect that your pup could have an intestinal blockage. If left untreated, it can cause severe dehydration, intestinal rupture and in serious cases, death.

There are many reasons why a dog would drool more than it usually does. A few are harmless, while many require veterinary attention. Other symptoms accompanied by drooling can help you to identify the cause, in which you can seek proper treatment. Whenever in doubt, contact your veterinarian as they are able to conduct a physical examination and discuss any further tests if needed.

Any views or opinions communicated on this page belong to the author and do not represent the views or opinions of any other organizations. This article is meant for us to share our own views and opinions in general. Kindly consult a professional if you would like to seek professional advice.

Adopted from sources

– 10 Reasons Your Dog Is Drooling: When Is It Time To Worry? By Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, Love Your Dog.

– Is Your Dog Drooling A Lot? What Excessive Drooling Can Signal & When To See Your Vet. By Sally Jones, Canine Journal.

– Dog Excessively Drooling: Causes and How to Help. By Heart and Paw.

– Images of dogs, Love Your Dog & Pixabay.