It may not be your favorite thing about your pooch but drooling can be endearing and for many breeds is a normal part of life. Nonetheless, drooling can be a sign of a more serious health concern in dogs. Our Smokey Point vets delve into the slobbery topic of drooling in dogs.
Why do dogs drool?
Your saliva, and that of your dog, is about 98% water, but it also contains antibacterial compounds, enzymes, and electrolytes that are essential for good health. This enzyme-rich fluid is produced by glands near the jaw and drains into the mouth via ducts.
Amylase is an enzyme found in saliva that performs the important function of getting the digestive process started. Amylase interacts with food during chewing and helps to break 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 the taste of food.
By washing away food particles that would otherwise cling to teeth, saliva helps to reduce the formation of cavities and prevent tooth decay, and saliva's antibacterial properties even help to reduce germs in the mouth that cause bad breath.
Saliva is beneficial, but too much of it can be harmful. Excess saliva fills the dog's mouth, runs over the brim, and the drooling begins. When a dog produces excessive saliva, they are unlikely to swallow it all. Overall, saliva is beneficial, but excessive production can cause health problems.
What breeds drool normally?
Drool on occasion is normal for all dogs, 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.
What is causing my dog's drooling?
There are many causes of drooling in dogs. What is causing your dog's drooling? It could by any of the factors below:
Because your dog has over 200 million scent receptors your pup's salivary glands will have strong reaction whenever your pooch smells their food, or even when you simply open the dog food bag.
These include gastrointestinal (GI) issues, vestibular (balance) issues, and motion sickness. If your dog is feeling nauseous, their salivary glands can go into overdrive causing drooling to begin.
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.
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.
When dogs are excited or agitated, they drool. That's why they seem to love slobbering all over you!
Is my dog's drooling normal?
It is important to note that while drooling can be a normal behavior, it can also be a sign of an underlying problem. If any of the following symptoms accompany your dog's drooling it's important to make a vet appointment as soon as possible.
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.
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.
How can I stop my dog from drooling?
Wondering how to stop your dog from drooling? There are many different approaches depending on the cause of your dog's drooling, including teeth cleaning or extractions, treating any existing GI problems, avoiding irritants, healing injuries, and giving nausea medication before traveling.
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 your dog's excessive drooling is 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?
How can I deal with my dog's natural drooling?
Some dogs are naturally more drooly than others, and it's a part of their unique personalities. While managing excessive drooling is important, it's also crucial to embrace our furry friends' quirks and provide them with the care and attention they deserve, drool and all! After all, your dog's comfort and happiness are what truly matter. Loving your canine companion for who they are is just another twist in the journey of becoming a great pet parent.
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.