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.
Check the Breed
While most dogs will drool from time to time, particularly during the warmer months of 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 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 flies evolved genetically in these particular breeds to assist in hunting, as they can more precisely direct smells into the nasal cavities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch what your dog is eating, particularly when he is 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.
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.
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.
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.
More Serious Causes
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.