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Drooling in Dogs: Why They Do it & What to Do

Drooling in Dogs: Why They Do it & What to Do

It's common for some dog breeds to drool, but what if your pet constantly slobbers? Our vets in Baton Rouge will explain when excessive drooling in dogs should be a worry.

Why is my dog drooling?

Dogs, just like humans, have watery saliva in their mouths. This saliva is not just water; it contains special stuff like germ-fighting chemicals, digestive helpers, and minerals. Saliva is made in glands near the jaw and enters the mouth through ducts.

Saliva has amylase, an enzyme that begins digestion by breaking down food while chewing. It moistens food, helps form a bolus for easier swallowing, and enhances the taste. Saliva also cleans teeth, reducing cavities and tooth decay, while its antibacterial properties fight bad breath.

But here's the catch: too much saliva is not good. If a dog has too much, it can dribble out of their mouth, which is unhealthy. They might also not swallow it all, leading to health problems.

Dog Breeds Known for Drooling

All dogs can drool from time to time, but some breeds drool more than others. Breeds like St. Bernards, Bulldogs, Bloodhounds, Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, and Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their extra drool. However, if you notice your dog drooling excessively, it might not be typical for them. So, it's good practice to monitor your dog's regular drooling to spot any unusual changes.

What causes drooling in dogs

There are many causes of drooling in dogs. Some of the most common include:

Smelling Food: Because your dog has over 200 million scent receptors, he has a stronger reaction when he smells your food, his food, or even when you open the dog food bag.

Nausea: These include gastrointestinal (GI) issues, vestibular (balance) issues and motion sickness. When a dog is nauseous, his salivary glands go into overdrive, and he drools.

Physical Formation: Because the anatomy of their mouths allows the liquid to dribble out, some dogs' saliva production appears excessive. Giant breeds are known for their saggy lips and drooping jowls, which do not effectively hold saliva in and allow it to drain. Drooling breeds include the Bloodhound, Mastiff, St. Bernard, and Newfoundlanders.

Dental Problems: Even though saliva protects the teeth, dogs can develop dental problems. Tartar accumulation traps bacteria and causes gingivitis and periodontitis. Gums that are inflamed or infected become sore, and teeth become loose in their sockets as bony tissue deteriorates. Teeth may fall out or fracture, causing pain. All of these dental issues cause excessive salivation.

Injuries and/or Growths: Excessive drooling can be caused by abrasions from chewing hard objects, ulcers, cuts, and burns. Lumps or bumps in the mouth can also cause drooling. These growths could be harmless warts or cancerous tumors. Even innocuous growths can cause drooling.

Excitement: When dogs are excited or agitated, they drool. That's why they slobber all over you!

When an Underlying Condition Can cause Drooling

Drooling, however, can also be a symptom of another underlying problem. Here are some other signs that might also come with hypersalivation:

Decreased Appetite or a Change in Eating Routine: If chronic GI problems cause hypersalivation, the dog may lose appetite gradually. Drooling may be temporary if the cause is nausea and will stop when the upset stomach resolves. Drooling caused by a mouth injury, growth, or foreign body will continue until the physical condition heals or the offending item/growth is removed. 

Dogs that love dry kibble may hesitate to eat when their mouths are sore. They may hold their heads at an odd angle to position the food on the less painful side and drop food from their mouths. They often eat better when served soft, moistened food.

Changing Behavior: When a dog is in pain, even the sweetest of dogs can become aggressive. When other dogs are in pain, they become reclusive and withdrawn.

Pawing at the Face: Some dogs with oral pain rub their muzzles with their paws or on the floor to relieve the pain. When swallowing food or water, drooling dogs with esophageal or stomach problems may gulp or extend their necks.

Treating Excessive Drooling in Dogs

You can help your dog with various issues. If it's about their health, like cleaning teeth, taking out teeth, or dealing with stomach problems, you should address the root cause.

For behavioral problems, consider calming your dog before visitors arrive or putting them in a quiet spot during gatherings.

And if your dog drools a lot due to their mouth shape, try using a stylish bandanna to catch the drool. It adds character to your pup!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned about your dog's excessive drooling? Contact our Baton Rouge vets today to book an appointment for your pup.

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