Dogs and drooling are a package deal. Like barking and howling, drooling is a very typical dog behavior. But, while it's absolutely normal for dogs to drool, certain breeds are known for slobbering more than others.
That said, sudden and drastic increases in the amount of dog drool can signal trouble and should be taken seriously. Read on to find out all about dog drooling, when it's normal, and when there's cause for concern.
*Cue a montage of highlights from the movies Beethoven and Turner and Hooch showing adorable dogs with unbelievable strings of drool dangling from their jowls.
Why do dogs drool?
Drool is basically an accumulation of saliva in the mouth. According to research, salivary glands in dogs react to taste and smell to produce saliva that helps food to move down the esophagus. It also works to assist in breaking down food.
There's one other function that saliva performs – healing. Ever noticed how your dog licks his wounds? Well, saliva works to clean the wounds and help prevent infection.
Dogs drool in response to smell and taste. You'll most likely have heard of Pavlov and his experiments proving that dogs can be conditioned to salivate in response to a stimulus they've come to associate with food time.
But many things can cause a dog to drool, and not all of them are good.
When is drooling normal?
Drool is simply excessive saliva that flows out of the mouth. How much saliva is produced varies from dog to dog. Knowing what's normal for your dog will help you identify when something changes.
Drooling in response to food or after a good workout is typical and nothing to be alarmed by. Also, some dog breeds just drool more than others. In breeds with smaller mouth cavities, drool, or excess saliva can't be accommodated as easily, so it flows out the sides of the mouth.
Dogs with extra folds of skin around their mouth (think giant, drooping, hanging chops) tend to be big droolers too. The saliva collects in these folds and drips off, sometimes leaving long strings resembling thick, gooey shoelaces dangling from the sides of the mouth.
If you have a dog like this, you'll know that a headshake is never just a headshake and that a rag should always be in your possession to wipe your dog's muzzle or furniture.
Common causes of excessive drooling
If you notice that your dog is suddenly drooling way more, there may be an underlying cause for this that may require some veterinary attention. If your doggo goes from rarely slobbering to suddenly salivating all over the show, it's a good idea to seek help.
Mouth and teeth
Excessive drooling can indicate something is going on with your dog's mouth or teeth. Gum infections, sore teeth, or even foreign objects stuck in the mouth can cause your dog's drooling to increase. If this is the case, your dog will likely have bad breath and probably avoid eating.
Read more: Dog Dental Care: Basic Oral Hygiene and Teeth Cleaning
Why does my dog drool in my car? Probably because he's suffering from motion sickness and feeling a bit unwell. A dog feeling sick to the stomach will drool and lick the air repeatedly. Avoidance of food is common.
Stomach issues can range from gastritis to pancreatitis, bowel disease, and even having something stuck in the gastrointestinal tract. Nausea related to these illnesses can cause your dog to drool more. There may also be other gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
Dogs are curious creatures by nature, so they often find themselves getting into all kinds of mischief. For example, an inquisitive snout that's gotten into the garbage may ingest some unsuitable things – think chicken bones, fish bones, or other non-food items. Something stuck in their gums or throat, like a bone or splinter, can cause your dog to begin drooling excessively.
Other common causes of mouth injury include burns from chewing electrical cords, licking chemicals, or even battery acid.
Stings and bites
While the internet loves to laugh at photos of doggos with snouts swollen from bee stings, it's much less fun for the dogs in question. Insect stings and bites can cause swelling and pain, making swallowing difficult and drooling highly likely.
Gardens offer a wealth of digging and chewing options for ambitious pups, but not all plants are ideal for chewing on. Spiney, spikey leaves and those containing poisons can be very irritating to canine mouths, resulting in drooling.
Read more: 10 Plants Poisonous to Cats and Dogs
Do dogs drool when they're anxious or nervous? You bet! Panting and drooling simultaneously is often a sign of a stressed-out dog. Things like car rides, thunderstorms, or moving to a new home can be very stressful to dogs. Drooling and shaking can also indicate a very scared little dog.
Read more: How to Help a Dog With Separation Anxiety - 10 Easy Steps
Pro tip: if your dog is prone to separation anxiety, consider investing in a Petcube cam. Not only does this allow you to see what your best buddy is up to, but you're able to hear them, and they can hear you. There are even models that allow you to play with your bestie while you're at work.
When you're unsure if your pet is seriously unwell or if there's some way you can help them at home, it helps to have a team of licensed veterinarians on hand 24/7. With Online Vet by Petcube, you can avoid unnecessary vet visits and costly after-hours care that might not even be necessary.
Sign up for just $20 a month, and when you're in doubt about your pet's health, pop the team a message any time, day or night. You're able to attach videos and photos to help the Online Vet team give you the advice and reassurance you need in real-time. It's that simple and will certainly save you in the long run.
Of course, if it turns out that your beloved pet needs emergency care, it helps to have an emergency fund to use in these times. For an additional $9 a month, you can ensure that your pet has access to up to $3000 in emergency funds available per year. Peace of mind never looked so affordable!
Are there any home remedies for dog drooling?
How you treat excessive drooling in dogs will depend on what's causing the drooling in the first place. The following are not so many home remedies for dog drooling as they are helpful tips:
- Petting your dog after they've just eaten can stimulate drooling;
- If your dog is a heavy drooler, make sure they have access to plenty of water to stay hydrated;
- Regular dental checkups can keep tooth and gum issues from becoming so problematic that they cause drooling.
There are suggestions online for using things like chamomile tea and slippery elm powder. Still, we'd always recommend checking with your vet before adding any supplements to your dog's diet – especially if your dog is on any other medication or has any other conditions.
Why does my dog drool in the car?
A dog drooling in the car is often related to anxiety or motion sickness. The two are often mistaken for each other, but it is also entirely possible for your dog to experience both simultaneously.
Why does my dog drool around other dogs?
Dogs commonly drool around other dogs because they're excited or anxious. Your dog's body language will provide more detail – for example, a tail between the legs will indicate your dog is feeling insecure, but if your dog's tail is going a mile a minute, then you can be sure he's excited!
Best dog drool bib?
Are you looking for the very best dog drool catcher? A simple bandana can work wonders to catch much of your dog's drool, but online retailers like Amazon and websites like Etsy are bursting with fun and creative options to keep your dog's chest dry.
Which large dog breeds are prone to drooling?
If you're looking for large dog breeds that don't drool, DON'T pick one of these. Below is a list of breeds that are known to be big droolers.
- Saint Bernard;
- Neopolitan Mastiff;
- Great Dane;
- Bernese Mountain Dog.
Why is my dog drooling excessively and licking their paws?
Excessive drooling and licking paws can be a result of many things. It could be seasonal allergies, or it could be an anxiety response. Whatever is causing it, it's always best to get to a vet to investigate.
Why is my dog drooling while sleeping?
Drooling during sleep can be very normal. A dog that's super relaxed and whose jaw is perhaps a little slack may drool in his sleep.
That said, if it's a regular occurrence, it may be worth scheduling a checkup at the vet to look for any infections, inflammations, or injuries to be sure.