We've all seen it: a dog getting excited over a tasty treat and leaving a little puddle of drool behind.
Occasional drooling, especially when hungry or excited, is typical for our canine friends. This clear, slimy drool usually doesn't last long and isn't indicative of any health problems. So, if your pup happens to leave a slobbery trail every now and then, don't fret — it's just a sign they're eager and happy!
But did you know that sometimes, drooling can be a sign of more than just excitement? When our furry pals start drooling more than usual, it might be time to dig deeper and figure out what's happening.
Let's dive into the signs of excessive drooling and what they might mean for your canine companion.
Why Do Dogs Drool?
Drooling, or producing saliva, is fundamental in how our furry friends consume and digest their food.
First off, saliva isn't just water. It's packed with enzymes — little helpers that break down food even before it reaches the stomach. When your dog chomps on their favorite snack, saliva is already on the job, making digestion a breeze.
Furthermore, saliva plays a valuable role in keeping your dog's dental health in tip-top shape. It helps clean the teeth by washing away bits of food and other stuff sticking to them. This means it's fighting against harmful bacteria that could cause dental disease and other oral health issues.
Some Dog Breeds are More Slobbery Than Others
When discussing dogs that could win a drooling contest, a few slobbery breeds definitely top the charts.
St. Bernards, Bloodhounds, Bulldogs, Mastiffs, and Newfoundlands are the royalty of the drool kingdom due to the extra skin in their mouths holding a good amount of saliva.
When they get all excited and shake their heads, it's like a mini rainshower of drool! And if you've ever seen one of them take a drink, you'd think they're sharing half with the floor. While it might get a bit messy, it's all a part of the charming package that comes with these lovely breeds.
So, if you have one of these dogs, keep a drool rag handy!
Puppies Drool More When Teething
Just like human babies, puppies go through a teething phase. It's that time when their tiny sharp teeth start poking through, prompting the need to chew on everything for discomfort relief. Teething kicks in when your puppy is around 3 to 4 weeks old and then again between 4 to 7 months, depending on the breed.
Any teething pup drools — a lot. It's their body's natural way of soothing those sore gums. So, if you see your little fur baby leaving wet spots everywhere or their toys are more slobbery than usual, don't hit the panic button just yet. It's because they're growing their new teeth!
Why is My Dog Drooling a Lot All of a Sudden?
Just like humans, dogs experience their fair share of stress and anxiety.
When dogs get anxious, they may start drooling buckets, act super fidgety, hyperventilate, or even have an upset tummy.
Take the necessary time to determine what's causing the anxiety and see if there's a way to help restore their peace of mind.
Dental issues could be the sneaky culprit behind that extra slobber. We're talking about tooth infections, tooth fractures, tartar buildup, and gum disease, all of which are preventable — at least partly — with adequate dental care.
Besides the usual suspects, like gingivitis or periodontal disease, there are other mouth-related issues to watch out for, such as sialocele (a fancy word for a salivary gland issue), tumors, or infections. And if you notice a mass in their mouth, blood, pus, or if their breath could knock you out, it's time to pay a visit to the vet. Caring for your furry friend's teeth is as important as your own!
Drooling Excessively As a Sign of Nausea
Dogs start to drool a lot whenever they feel queasy. Think about that feeling you get right before you're about to throw up, where your mouth suddenly feels like a waterfall. Dogs have an even more intense reaction!
Have you ever noticed your dog getting all drooly during car rides? That's because motion sickness is often the sneaky reason behind it. Next time you're gearing up for a drive with your four-legged friend, and they're drooling more than usual, it might be a sign that they're experiencing car sickness.
Facial Nerve Paralysis
The facial nerve plays an essential role in controlling your dog's facial muscles responsible for chewing and swallowing. Any damage to this nerve will leave your dog struggling to move these facial muscles, leading to a lot of drooling. Several reasons cause facial nerve paralysis in dogs, the most common being idiopathic facial nerve paralysis — like Bell's palsy in humans.
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)
Imagine your dog's stomach filling up like a balloon with gas. Now, imagine that balloon-like stomach twisting and turning (torsion), making everything inside get all jumbled up. That's what happens during canine bloat.
The signs of bloat in dogs are:
- Attempts to vomit
- Eating large quantities of dirt or leaves if outside, or fringes of carpets or curtains or pieces of the couch if inside
- Excessive drooling or salivation
- Pain in the stomach
- The stomach feels brick-hard to the touch
Torsion can occur by itself without the expansion of the stomach and is a life-and-death situation that calls for immediate veterinary care. Surgery is often required to correct a gastric torsion.
The spleen, which can be severely damaged during stomach torsion, may also be removed during surgery, requiring careful nutritional management in the future.
Gastrointestinal (GI) Disorders
Conditions like inflammation in their esophagus, stomach ulcers, or inflammatory bowel disease may turn your dog into a drool machine. But don't panic, as these conditions are not life-threatening. Your dog just needs a visit to the vet to figure out what's going on and get the proper treatment.
If you wonder why your dog starts drooling waterfalls after a sunny walk or a play session out in the yard, heat stroke should be your first guess.
Heat stroke is no joking matter. Dogs, especially the ones with squished faces like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boxers, or those with thick fur, overheat faster than humans.
Apart from the waterfall of drool, your dog may experience difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, or even collapse. Move them somewhere cool, let them sip some water (don't let them gulp it down), and use cool, damp towels on their groin and paw pads. And please, rush to the vet immediately — it's a race against the clock!
Hepatic encephalopathy occurs when a dog's liver isn't doing its job right. All the toxins accumulating in the liver can affect the brain, causing symptoms like seizures and excessive drooling.
All those toxins building up in the bloodstream mess with the dog's brain and body functions, leading to that excessive slobber.
If your dog has been diagnosed with liver disease, have a chat with your vet about hepatic encephalopathy.
Dogs are curious creatures, and sometimes, that curiosity leads to chomping on sketchy stuff, like an old bone or a toy part. If something gets stuck in their mouth or throat, you can bet they'll start drooling more. And it doesn't stop with slobber. Your dog might shake their head a lot, paw at their mouth, or even experience difficulty eating or drinking.
Now, if any object goes down the esophagus and reaches the stomach, you may have an intestinal blockage to deal with. Along with the drool overload, your dog will throw up, lose their appetite, feel lethargic, act restless, and have a hard time pooping.
This is a severe cause for concern! An intestinal blockage can lead to some scary problems, like dehydration, abdominal pain, and intestinal rupture, and might be life-threatening.
Don't wait around if you ever think your pup has something stuck in their mouth, throat, or tummy. It's always wisest to seek veterinary care immediately. It's better to be overcautious than to make matters worse!
Other Health Issues
Sometimes, our furry friends drool a little more than usual because of some specific health problems they're facing. Here's the scoop on which health conditions might be behind that extra slobber:
- Cancer or Tumors in the Mouth
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- Sinus Infections
Swallowing a Toxic Substance
Picture this: Your dog is playing around, maybe snooping where they shouldn't, and they lick or eat something harmful. This could be a poisonous plant, a no-no food for dogs, or even cleaning products.
Excessive drooling is one of the first signs of ingesting something that didn't sit well with your dog. Aside from drooling, you may also notice foam around their mouth, upset stomach, lethargy, loss of appetite, and even acting all wobbly.
If your dog gets into toxic trouble, acting fast is imperative. Contact your vet or an emergency clinic right away. You may also reach out to the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661. Better safe than sorry when it comes to our furry pals!
Pay Attention to Your Dog's Drooling
There's no novelty in seeing a dog drooling — from hunger, excitement, or teething. However, when they suddenly start to drool excessively, it's time to investigate any underlying cause. As long as you identify the culprit and take steps toward solving the issue, your dog's salivary glands should return to adequate levels of drooling. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!
Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!