A dog drooling excessively is not normal (although some dogs do drool a lot more than others!) If a dog suddenly drools excessively, it is usually a sign indicating that he is in pain or injured. However, it may also mean that he is suffering from some health problem. This page looks at some common causes of excessive drooling in dogs.
It is true that all dogs drool - especially when there is yummy food in front of them. Some breeds that have heavy lips such as bloodhounds and St. Bernards drool quite a lot because the loose skin around their mouths acts like a receptacle that traps saliva until it overflows.
If your dog drools and slobbers, there is nothing you can do except put some wiping towels at convenient locations through the house.
But if there is a change in the "drooling pattern" of your dog (e.g. a normally "dry" dog suddenly starts drooling excessively), then you have to pay attention. Sudden excessive drooling usually means that the dog is not feeling too well. In extreme cases, excessive drooling can also lead to dehydration.
Dogs with abnormal drooling may also show signs such as hard and listless breathing, head shaking, and scratching and pawing at the mouth.
Let's take a look at some common possible causes of excessive drooling in dogs.
The cause of excessive drooling may be easy to identify if it is coming from inside the dog's mouth. So if your dog is drooling abnormally, the first thing to do is to use a flashlight to examine his mouth. You may discover that the drooling is caused by any of the following:
Perhaps the most common cause of sudden excessive drooling in dogs is that something is stuck in the dog's gums, embedded in his tongue, or caught between his teeth. It may be a piece of string, a bit of bone fragment, a fish hook, etc. If you find a foreign object in your dog's mouth but are unable to remove it, seek veterinary help immediately.
Dogs with gum disease such as tartar and gingivitis, as well as dogs with dental problems such as a bad or fractured tooth will also drool excessively.
One way to check if your dog has gum or dental disease is to smell his breath (I know, may not be a pleasant task...). Usually dogs with gum disease or a bacterial infection in the mouth will have really bad breath!
But of course the definitive way is to take your dog to the vet for a thorough checkup, and if necessary, cleaning and scaling of the teeth.
Injuries inside the mouth can also cause excessive dog drooling. Check for blood in the mouth and gums. Bleeding gums usually are bright red or even purple.
Tumors that occur in a dog's mouth (e.g. melanoma) can cause a dog to drool excessively. There are of course other signs that indicate the dog may have a tumor in his mouth, such as bad breath, bleeding from the mouth, and difficulty eating.
If you cannot find anything unusual in your dog's mouth, consider the following possible causes of drooling:
Many dogs will drool more than usual when they are traveling by car, because they suffer from motion sickness. The motion upsets their stomachs, causing them nausea which in turn causes them to drool excessively.
If you suspect that your dog is drooling because of pain, check for other telltale signs that may confirm your dog is in fact in pain.
On a hot day, your dog has to pant to lower his body temperature. Panting also results in drooling in dogs.
If your dog has been outside on a hot summer day, and he starts panting and drooling, cool him down quickly and make sure he is hydrated to prevent heatstroke.
Brachycephalic dogs (dogs with flat faces such as pugs, bulldogs, etc.) are especially susceptible to heat and heatstrokes, so be very aware if your pug starts panting and drooling after playing or exercising outside.
Sometimes, a dog who is under stress also tends to drool. My dog used to drool a lot when she was at the vets because she was so stressed!
If your dog suddenly starts drooling excessively, and you can't find any physical issues that may cause the drooling, look for signs of stress. Besides drooling, does your dog also tremble, pace, pant, or even act aggressively? Can you think of anything that may cause your dog stress?
Dogs suffering from liver disease may also drool excessively. Liver disease is a serious health condition and should be treated by a veterinarian without delay.
Perhaps the most serious and scariest cause of sudden excessive drooling is rabies. Luckily, this is very rare.
You should get immediate veterinary assistance when: