Drooling is normal for certain dog breeds, but what if your pet constantly slobbers? Our Douglasville vets will discuss when drooling in dogs is a cause for concern.
Why is my dog drooling?
Dogs, like humans, produce saliva, which is mostly water but also has antibacterial compounds, enzymes, and electrolytes for good health. 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.
Saliva is helpful, but too much can be harmful. Excess saliva overflows from the dog's mouth, causing drooling. If dogs produce too much saliva, they won't swallow it all, leading to health issues.
Dog Breeds Known for Drooling
It is normal for all dogs to drool occasionally, but some breeds drool more than others. St Bernards, bulldogs, bloodhounds, Mastiffs, Newfoundlers, and Bernese mountain dogs are among them. Excessive drooling in these breeds isn't always normal, so keeping track of your dog's normal level of drooling is a good idea.
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 nauseated, 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 are cleaning teeth, extracting teeth, treating GI problems, avoiding irritants, healing injuries, or giving nausea medication before a trip may be used to treat the underlying cause. If the problem is behavioral, try calming your dog before allowing guests into the house, or place the dog in a quiet area while you entertain visitors. Prepare for drooling when cooking dinner by keeping a towel nearby to mop up the deluge.
If it's due to their mouth shape, try tying a trendy bandanna around your dog's neck to catch the slobber. After all, all those flapping jaws give your dog character, right?
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.