Why Do Dogs Drool?
September 03, 2021 | 3 min read
Updated September 03, 2021
By Sarah Milton
Published: September 3, 2021
Updated: October 10, 2022
Summary: “My dog is drooling!?” If you’re concerned about dog drooling, this blog looks at the reasons why dogs drool. We’ll find out what the dog drooling causes are, whether there are home remedies for dog drooling, and how much drooling is excessive…
Drooling has been made somewhat a charming trait in dogs when portrayed in movies. Take Bloodhound Fang in the Harry Potter franchise - his comical, cowardly, saliva-heavy facial expressions provide light relief and lend themselves wonderfully to his popular, gentle but large master Hagrid. But, dribble is quite a different matter when one’s the owner of a drooling dog…
My Dog Is Drooling - Why?
Saliva, which is made up of 98% water, is actually essential for your pup’s overall health. The same goes for humans. The other 2% of saliva is made up of enzymes, electrolytes and antibacterial compounds and one enzyme in particular (amylase) triggers the entire digestive process.
Amylase helps break down food whilst saliva as a whole keeps the mouth moist, softens food, and enables safe, comfortable swallowing. Saliva also protects the tooth enamel and helps reduce the likelihood of gum disease by aiding the removal of food particles from the teeth.
Whilst the production of saliva is normal, an excessive amount is not…
Why Is My Dog Drooling Excessively?
If your dog is drooling noticeably, where it’s overloading the mouth, this means so much is being produced that your dog is not able to swallow it all. Hyper-salivation or excessive drooling can be caused by:
Excitement or anxiousness; some doggies start salivating when they get excited, agitated, or nervous.
Food response; like humans, when our pups smell something super good their body may start producing saliva in anticipation of something tasty.
Nausea; If your pooch gets car sick or is feeling poorly, this may cause the salivary glands to start over working and cause drool.
An injury; if your dog has an ulcer, a cut, or has burned their mouth this may cause the body to produce excess saliva.
Growths; oral cancer tumors, warts, and other growths can trigger hyper-salivation.
Heatstroke; dogs that are suffering from heatstroke will drool and pant excessively.
Breed predisposition; dog breeds like Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bloodhounds, Bulldogs, and Mastiffs have saggy lips and are renowned for their drooling as their mouth isn’t physically effective at holding saliva in.
Caustic agents; if your dog licks or consumes something acidic or caustic (like lemon juice), this can irritate the mouth lining and cause them to dribble.
Dental issues; oral health discomforts like the build-up of tartar can trigger drooling in dogs.
A foreign body; your dog may have a stick or some plant remnants stuck in the back of their mouth. This is quite a common cause of drooling in dogs so check their mouth out for things that shouldn’t be there if your dog is drooling.
A gastrointestinal issue; acid reflux can send unwanted fluid back up the esophagus (throat) and initiate hyper-salivation and conditions like an enlarged esophagus and hiatal hernias can do the same thing.
You may also notice other symptoms alongside your dog’s drooling. They may have a loss of appetite and/or difficulty swallowing (particularly if they’re experiencing gastrointestinal problems), pawing at their face, or cautiously eating dry food if their teeth hurt. If they’re in discomfort, most dogs’ behaviors change and they may begin acting strange; they can either become aggressive, defensive, lethargic or reserved.
How To Stop A Dog From Drooling
If you’re concerned about your dog’s drooling, you need to have them assessed by a vet to rule out any health issues that could be causing the dribble.
If an underlying cause is found (like a dental issue or gastrointestinal problem) treatment can vary from simply cleaning the teeth or a course of medicine to clear an infection.
Home Remedies For Dog Drooling
If you own a dog breed that is predisposed to drooling, there’s not a lot you can do other than embrace it - they can’t help it if their mouth is shaped the way it is! And hey, it is only a bit of drool!
The same goes if the reason for their drooling is the smell of yummy food… Unfortunately, you’ll just need to grab a towel and extend as much empathy as you can toward your pooch. They do have the most advanced, sensitive noses in fairness!
If your dog’s drooling is triggered by nerves or car sickness, you can consider doggy calming aids or discuss the issue with your vet.
It’s important for your dog’s overall health to stay on top of their oral hygiene and dental care every day, just like we do with ours as humans! Bacteria build-up in the mouth could make its way into the body and cause more serious complications. So, as well as preventing drooling, good oral care can also help support the health and wellbeing of your dog.
If you have a garbage-curious pooch or a dog that likes to try everything in their mouth, make sure you keep harmful substances locked and out of the way. You could also consider baby-locking your trash can if Fido’s one for rummaging. This will prevent them from tasting things they shouldn’t which can provoke hypersalivation. Remember to check their mouths regularly for objects that shouldn’t be hanging out in there too (like fir cones or sticks)!
Also, make sure your dog has clean, fresh water accessible to them at all times to help prevent heatstroke, which not only causes drooling but can be life-threatening.
Author Weir, Malcolm DVM, MSc, MPH and Buzhardt, Lynn DVM "Dealing With Drooling" VCA Hospitals https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dealing-with-drooling
Author Geier, Elizabeth "Why Does My Dog Drool?" Rover https://www.rover.com/blog/why-does-my-dog-drool/
Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!