Dog Drooling – How to Decide If You Should Worry

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Is Drooling Normal for Dogs?

Some dogs are known, and in fact famous, for their slobbery, wet kisses. However, is it possible for your dog to drool too much? Figuring out how much your dog usually drools is the first step to deciding if there is a problem.

There are many typical reasons your dog may be drooling a lot, and these reasons will have no cause for concern. Check out our top reasons for why your dog might be drooling – both normally and abnormally.

How Much Drooling Is Normal?

Drooling is normal for most dogs, but some dog breeds will drool more than others. Basset Hounds and Bloodhounds will drool more than any other dog breed. 

Drooling happens naturally when a dog is hungry and is about to eat. When dogs see something they want to eat, they may also start to drool.

The amount of saliva expressed differs from dog to dog. Generally speaking, amounts of saliva greater than you would normally see from your dog, should be investigated.

Reasons Dogs Drool

Dogs drool for many reasons, and a dog drooling is normal. Ivan Pavlov famously experimented with dogs to see if he could make them salivate and drool at the sound of a buzzer by offering food along with the sound.

Dogs may also excessively drool when they feel anxious, are ready to fight, are excited, or when they are heat-stressed.

To Make Eating Easier

Drooling is a natural part of the digestive process for dogs. When dogs drool during a meal, the excess saliva coats their mouths to make it easier for their stomachs to break down food so that things go smoothly through their intestines. Excess dog saliva will also keep any parts of food from getting stuck in your dog’s esophagus and discourage choking.

They Are Excited

Your dog may drool a lot when they are excited to see you. This drooling happens because they will start panting and have their mouth open. Your dog will drool more than usual to keep their mouth from drying. Watch while your dog is calm to monitor how much they are drooling. If your dog is drooling excessively while calm, you may want to seek your veterinarian’s opinion.

They Are Anxious

Your dog may drool a lot when they are frustrated or scared. Often, when dogs are agitated they may growl or show their teeth. They may also lick their teeth to wipe away the excess drool.

Your dog may become anxious if they don’t understand what you want them to do, or if they perceive they have done something wrong. This makes them lick excessively. 

They Are Preparing To Fight

When dogs get into fights, they may snap their teeth and bark, drying their mouth. To combat dryness in their mouth, your dog may start to drool a lot to enable them to defend themselves against a perceived threat.

Heat Stress

Dogs drool a lot when they are overheated. This should NEVER happen to the degree of excessive drooling. If this occurs they are in danger, and should be cooled down immediately.

Health Issues Can Cause Excess Drooling

Many health issues can cause excess drooling. See your local veterinarian to confirm whether there is a problem. Most issues may be minor. Other health problems may require surgical intervention to help your dog be more comfortable. Look around your home for any chewed-up objects near your dog, or plants nearby that they may have eaten.

Always consult your dog’s veterinarian before you administer any medications or treatments.

Salivary Gland Disorders

Salivary gland disorders in dogs are common and can create a lot of saliva buildup and drooling. The treatment for salivary gland disorders may be a surgical intervention and may require your dog to undergo multiple medical procedures by your veterinarian.

Parvovirus

Parvovirus is common and contagious. This disease attacks the small intestine and can break down the tissue, leading to pain. Dogs with parvovirus may salivate excessively and cause concern with their drooling. Along with excess drooling, Parvovirus can cause vomiting, fever, lethargy, and weight loss in your dog.

Oral Disorders

Oral disorders are more common in dogs that do not have routine oral care. Taking care of your dog’s teeth can prevent oral disorders like cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. Refer to your veterinarian for recommendations on keeping oral issues at bay.

Poisoning

Some plants can be toxic for dogs and cause excess drooling. Many common household succulents are poisonous to dogs and cats and can cause skin irritation, stomach problems, vomiting, excessive drooling, and death. The most poisonous plants for dogs include the following:

  • Castor Beans
  • English Ivy
  • Mistletoe
  • Dumbcane
  • Cyclamen

There are also many foods that dogs should not eat. Check this comprehensive article, to find out exactly what your dog should avoid.

Foreign Bodies

Dogs can be very curious, especially while young. It can be easy for your dog to get their paws on something sharp, harmful, or irritating to its gums, causing a foreign body to get stuck.

If something is embedded in their mouth, they will drool a lot. They may also need help getting it out, which can mean a trip to an emergency veterinarian to remove the item.

Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders like vestibular disease, seizures, and spinal diseases can cause your dog to drool excessively. Look for disorientation, wobbling, and pain symptoms in your dog to see if they may be suffering from a neurological issue. Always check with your vet.

Final Thoughts

It is normal for dogs to drool when they are ready to eat, get excited, become frustrated, or anticipate a fight. However, there are other reasons a dog might drool a lot. These reasons may include minor issues that can be treated with simple remedies and your vet’s supervision. Other reasons for drooling may require surgical intervention to keep your dog healthy, safe, and comfortable.

Monitor how much your dog is drooling to determine whether or not it is a normal amount, and seek the help of your dog’s veterinarian as needed.

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