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Is My Dog Drooling Too Much?
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Is My Dog Drooling Too Much?

Critter Culture Staff

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Dog drooling is a normal occurrence for canines. It helps your dog break down its food; it helps with taste and toxin identification and usually indicates a healthy dog. Plus, it’s always fun to have a slobbering dog give you a big, wet kiss. However, there are times when a dog will produce too much saliva. If you suspect your dog has too much saliva, there are several causes, some of which can be diagnosed in your own home. But if you cannot determine the reason, you may need to take the extra wet pup to your local veterinarian.

1

Check the Breed

While most dogs will drool from time to time, particularly during the warmer months in the year, some breeds will have more saliva than others. If you have a Saint Bernard, a Mastiff, a Newfoundland, or a Bloodhound breed, you may not need to worry about the excessive drooling. These canines have flews or loose upper lips. This condition leads to far more drooling as the dogs cannot contain all the healthy saliva flow in their mouths. The flews evolved genetically in these particular breeds to assist in hunting, as they can more precisely direct smells into the nasal cavities.

breed, bloodhound, mastiff, saint bernard dageldog / Getty Images

2

Tooth Health

While their mouth may have an unpleasant odor, it’s important to check the health of its teeth if you suspect the dog is drooling too much. Excessive tartar build-up on any tooth can rub against your dog’s gums and catalyze too much salivary production. Do not try to brush your own dog’s teeth. Instead, purchase toys and treats that aid in tooth health, or bring your dog to a professional. Your local veterinarian will also check your dog’s mouth for other conditions potentially causing the excess drooling, like gingivitis and mouth ulcers.

dental hygiene, teeth, canine, tarter skynesher / Getty Images

3

Heat

Dogs, unlike humans, cannot sweat to keep themselves cool. Instead, they open their mouths, stick out their tongues, and pant. The severity of this panting will correspond to the heat the dog is experiencing. This natural response circulates air through the dog, reducing its core temperature. However, some breeds like Boston Terriers, Boxers, and Bulldogs cannot pant as efficiently as others. In serious cases, these dogs will suffer heatstroke and begin to drool excessively. Keep your dog inside on very hot days, observe his water intake, and take your pup to the veterinarian if the excessive drooling does not subside after the dog cools off.

heat, drooling, summer, panting Mlenny / Getty Images

4

Anxiety

Drooling Irish Setter dog panting in a hot Summer

Monitor your dog’s behavior in stressful situations. Dogs, like humans, can also experience anxiety and panic. Any dog owner who has taken their pup to a fireworks display knows this well. An instinctual response to anxiety is excessive saliva. Anxiety in dogs can be triggered in a number of ways, including a trip to the vet, an encounter with a more aggressive dog, or loud noises during a storm. Observe your dog’s behavior in different situations to learn when and if the dog experiences anxiety, and try to shelter him from such panic. If drooling persists, contact your local veterinarian.

5

Motion Sickness

Bloodhound July 4th

Keep your dog out of the car if he is prone to motion sickness. Most dogs love taking a ride in the car, sticking their head out the window, and smelling an unknown world. However, like some humans, the constant rocking and bumping will irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal system. If you notice your dog drooling excessively during car rides, he may be afflicted with this problem. Experiment with shorter rides and different types of roads to try to determine if the drooling is related to motion sickness. Ginger pills have also shown to be effective in reducing motion sickness in dogs.

6

Toxic Substances

Watch what your dog is eating, particularly when he is in the outdoors. Dogs will naturally eat some plants to aid in digestion. However, some plants are toxic or irritating to the dog’s system. Flowers like tulips, chrysanthemums, and azaleas have all proven to irritate a canine’s gastrointestinal system. When your dog’s stomach is upset, you can expect to see excessive drooling followed likely by vomiting. Most dogs purge to cleanse their systems, but if you notice your dog drooling after eating one of these plants and not purging, you likely will need to take him to the veterinarian to avoid further damage.

toxic, flowers, grass, illness Liuhsihsiang / Getty Images

7

Respiratory Problems

a shih tzu drooling all over his mouth

Speak with a local veterinarian if you believe the drooling is caused by a more serious, internal problem in your dog. Some respiratory issues can influence the level of saliva production. If your dog has a sinus infection or an illness in his throat or nose, this will likely result in excessive drool and other complications. This is even more likely if your dog is a recent rescue, and spent a good deal of its life in small quarters with other dogs at a shelter. Your veterinarian can diagnose any infection and prescribe the required antibiotics to combat the drool-causing illness.

8

Other Risk Factors

Keep a close eye on your dog when he is outdoors. Dogs love to get into trouble, play in foreign areas, and eat wild plants. They also sometimes get themselves into compromising situations where injuries are common. A major cause of excessive saliva production, much like humans, is an injury inside the mouth. If your dog is drooling too much, open its mouth after a long walk or hike and check for injuries. Most small cuts and abrasions will heal naturally and quickly, but any major damage should precipitate a visit to the veterinarian for treatment.

injury, mouth, cuts, saliva Steve Debenport / Getty Images

9

Allergies

Screen your canine early in its life for any allergies. An allergic reaction will cause several symptoms, including outbreaks of rashes or scales, dry eyes, and excessive drooling. Allergy outbreaks are more likely in certain seasons, like spring and summer. Allergy medication may be necessary in serious cases, but most allergic reactions can be stopped by removing your dog from the source of the allergy, and closely monitoring their behavior.

allergy, pollen, dry eye, drooling kobkik / Getty Images

10

More Serious Causes

adorable dog in a park

Keep a close eye on the severity and persistence of the excessive drooling. Most cases are mild and will improve once you take action. However, excessive saliva production could indicate a more serious problem. Some of these include inflamed tonsils, infectious diseases, seizures, tumors, or a disorder in the actual salivary glands. None of these conditions should be diagnosed or treated without the help of a veterinary professional. Book an appointment if drooling persists for a long period of time, and you suspect a more serious cause.

11

Idiopathic trigeminal neuritis

Close-up of a small dog, mouth wide open with blurred background

Sometimes, a dog's excessive drooling might stem from idiopathic trigeminal neuritis, a condition marked by inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, crucial for facial sensations and jaw movements. Dogs affected by this ailment may struggle to eat or drink due to difficulties in controlling their jaw, which can lead to a noticeable increase in drool. While there's no outright cure, treatments are available to manage symptoms and ensure your furry friend remains comfortable.

12

Facial nerve paralysis

A gray and white Pit Bull Terrier mixed breed dog drooling

Facial nerve paralysis, resembling Bell's palsy in humans, can lead to significant drooling in dogs. This condition impairs the facial muscles, notably those involved in chewing and swallowing, making it a challenge for affected dogs to keep saliva in their mouths. Various factors can cause this paralysis, but regardless of the cause, prompt veterinary attention can help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life.

13

Dealing with dental health issues

Dog dental care concept. Dental treats for dogs. Dog products.

Dental disease and tooth fractures are not just a human concern; they're among the leading causes of excessive drooling in dogs. Bad breath, visible tartar on the teeth, or red, swollen gums are telltale signs. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can prevent these issues, keeping your dog's mouth healthy and drool at bay.

14

Tummy troubles

dog in the car, traveling with beloved pet by car. dog falls asleep in the car on a tourist trip.

Just like people, dogs can get queasy, especially during car rides, leading to excessive drooling. This reaction is often a sign of motion sickness or gastrointestinal discomfort. Fortunately, there are ways to help your furry friend feel better, from medication prescribed by your vet to gradually getting them accustomed to car travel.

15

Understanding hepatic encephalopathy

Drooling Irish Setter male in a hot Summer

Liver disease in dogs can lead to a condition called hepatic encephalopathy, characterized by excessive drooling due to the accumulation of toxins in the bloodstream that the liver can't process. This serious condition requires immediate veterinary attention. Diagnosing and treating liver disease early can help manage symptoms and improve your dog's overall health.

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