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Drooling in Dogs: Why They Do It & What to Do

Drooling in Dogs: Why They Do It & What to Do

Many dogs naturally drool, but what do you do if your dog has excessive slobber on its face, Today, our Pittsboro vets discuss drooling in dogs and when you should be worried about it. 

Why Dogs Drool

Dogs, like humans, have saliva that's mostly water but also contains helpful stuff like antibacterial compounds, enzymes, and electrolytes that are essential for good health. This enzyme-rich juice is produced by glands near the jaw and drains into the mouth via ducts.

One important thing in saliva is amylase, an enzyme that starts the digestive process. Amylase interacts with food during chewing and breaks it down. Saliva also moistens the chewed food and aids in the formation of a bolus, which aids in swallowing. A moist mouth is more comfortable than a dry mouth and improves taste.

Saliva is like a tooth cleaner, too. It washes away food bits, stopping cavities and keeping teeth healthy. Plus, it fights bad breath by killing mouth germs. 

But if a dog makes too much saliva, it spills out of their mouth, and they drool. They can't swallow it all, which can lead to health issues, So, while saliva is sully good,  too much can be a  health problem.

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 it's a good idea to keep track of your dog's normal level of drooling.

Causes of Excessive Drooling

There are many causes that dogs can drool, including

Smelling Food: Dogs have a strong sense of smell, so when they catch a whiff of food( yours, theirs, or even dog food,) they may start drooling. 

Nausea: If a dog feels sick due to stomach or balance issues, they can drool because their salivary gland becomes more active. 

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. Drooling can also be caused by lumps or bumps in the mouth. These growths could be harmless warts or cancerous tumors. Even innocuous growths can cause drooling.

Excitement:  Dogs may drool when they're excited or agitated, which is why they might slobber on you. 

When Drooling Can Be Caused By an Underlying Condition

Excessive drooling can signal an underlying issue. Here are additional signs that may accompany too much saliva:

Decreased Appetite or a Change in Eating Routine: If hypersalivation is caused by chronic GI problems, 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 in an attempt to position the food on the less painful side and may 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 will rub their muzzles with their paws or on the floor to try 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

To address different issues like dental care, upset stomach, or drooling, you can use various methods.  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.

When cooking, keep a towel handy for drooling, and if they drool a lot due to their mouth shapes, they use a stylist bandanna to catch it.  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.

Are you concerned about your dog's excessive drooling? Contact our Pittsboro vets today to book an appointment.

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