Why Is My Dog Drooling So Much?
You've probably heard the old rule that "cats rule and dogs drool." While that's debatable, there may be some truth to it. If you're going to own a dog, you're likely going to have slobber. But how much salivation is normal for your pup? Here's what you need to know if you notice your dog drooling excessively.
Why Do Dogs Drool So Much?
There are several reasons dogs drool so much, including the shape of the dog's head and the way his lips meet his jowls. Some breeds have extra folds of skin around the muzzle so saliva and water can get trapped and drip out, explains Michelle Bombard, DVM, a veterinarian at the Malta Animal Hospital in Malta, N.Y.
Signs Your Dog's Drooling Is Abnormal
The first step is knowing your pet. The volume of "normal" slobber is different for every pup. For example, large breeds like Saint Bernards, mastiffs, bloodhounds, Newfoundlands, and Labrador retrievers are known for excessive drooling, while it might be a sign of a health issue for other types of dogs.
"Look for a change from what is normal for that animal," Bombard says. "If you are cleaning up drool more frequently or you see a puddle when they get up from the floor or their bed, there may be a problem."
RELATED: How to Clean a Dog Bed
Bombard recommends that if your dog is showing signs of discomfort, particularly after they may have eaten something they shouldn't have, they probably need to be seen by a vet sooner rather than later. "Also, pay attention to whether or not it is something acute that came on suddenly or has been chronic and increasing over time," she urges.
6 Reasons Your Dog Is Drooling Excessively
Wondering why your dog drools so much? These are some of the most common reasons that can increase salivation.
1. Anticipation of a Delicious Meal
Just like people, the smell or anticipation of a tasty treat can activate the salivary glands.
2. Something is in Their Mouth
Bombard had a client bring in a dog that was drooling all of a sudden, and it turns out the dog had eaten a pencil and it was stuck between his teeth in the bridge of his mouth. While this horror story isn't the most likely scenario, if you suspect your dog ate something weird and possibly dangerous, it's best to call your vet ASAP for next steps and likely book an appointment to get your pup checked out.
3. Dental Health Issues
RELATED: How to Keep Your Dog's Teeth Clean
4. Nerves and Anxiety
You may notice that when dogs who don't like the vet arrive for an appointment or hear the rumble of thunder they may begin to drool more than usual. This could be a symptom of stress or anxiety. Find out what is causing your pup's stress and work toward alleviating the stressor to get the drooling back to a reasonable level.
5. Your Dog Ate Something Toxic
Excessive drooling can be a reaction to eating a toxic plant or household hazard they shouldn't have such as medications and household cleaners. To reduce the risk, keep these items locked up in inaccessible cabinets and don't leave them lying around the house after use where your curious canine might sniff them out.
6. Stomach Upset
To decide if your dog is simply eagerly awaiting food or has stomach upset, watch for lethargy, nausea, vomiting, or a lack of appetite, Bombard says.
Treatments and Home Remedies for Excessive Dog Drooling
Bombard encourages pet parents to talk with their dog's veterinarian before starting home remedies beyond a drool rag or bandana.
"A lot of different things recommended by the pet store and seem benign have the potential to cause or mask other problems," she said. "You want to make sure that you don't miss dental disease. It is one of those things that develops kind of slowly and you might not see it."
If the drooling is getting really out of hand and you've ruled out any medical issues, changing your dog's diet and feeding routine can help limit the amount of drool cleanup. Though this is also something you'll want to discuss with your vet before making major changes.
"Some foods trigger drooling more than others and just the anticipation of getting a treat they love can get the saliva flowing," she said. "Changing the food or treat routine might make a change in the pet."