Drooling is just a fact of life as a dog owner. Whether it comes in the form of slobbery kisses or drooling before mealtime, this behavior is a natural part of a dog’s digestive process. However, at certain times, you may notice your dog is drooling more than their normal share or slobber. You may be asking yourself, why is my dog drooling? And is this normal?
The team at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital is here to help you learn what is typical when it comes to your dog’s drool, and when it may be a symptom of something else.
Drooling: What’s Normal and Typical?
Drool is a build-up of excessive saliva flow that has accumulated in the mouth or oral cavity and is made up of 98% water. The remaining 2% is other enzymes, electrolytes, and antibacterial compounds that are important to your canine’s health. They help break down food and assist with chewing and digestion.
Any dog can begin to slobber when they are anticipating a tasty treat or a meal. This is common for dogs of any breed since saliva helps with digestion. You may get a similar reaction if your dog is chewing on something they find disagreeable, such as some medications or food they think tastes bad.
Some breeds tend to drool more than others, such as Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, and Bloodhounds. Owners of frequently drooling dogs are very familiar with the process and should have a rag or paper towel handy to wipe up their pup’s drool after meals or a particularly messy moment.
Teeth Trouble and Oral Problems
If your dog is not in the immediate presence of their favorite tempting treat or has been drooling excessively and way more than is normal for them, could be an indication of a mouth or tooth problem. Problems such as excessive tartar on the teeth, a broken piece of tooth, or something that is stuck or lodged in your dog’s throat, mouth, or esophagus can be a reason for the extra drool.
Any foreign object that might be stuck in your pet’s mouth or between their teeth, such as a piece of bone or chewing treat that got stuck, can cause discomfort in your pet and may be the reason for the dramatic increase in drooling, and could lead to serious issues. If you notice lumps or something abnormal stuck in your pet’s mouth, call your veterinarian right away.
Regular pet dental care, such as brushing your dog’s teeth and dental exams by a veterinarian, can help prevent any problems that may arise. In between veterinary visits, keep an eye out on your dog’s teeth and gums to watch for red or inflamed gums or a build-up of yellow or brown plaque deposits.
The Scary Stuff: Stomach Issues, Heat Stroke, and Health Issues
Excessive drooling in your dog can also be a sign of tummy troubles. Dogs who get motion sickness easily will drool more during car rides if they are feeling nauseous. However, other situations might be more serious. If your dog has ingested something poisonous or toxic, they may start shaking, vomiting, or become lethargic in addition to excess drooling. These symptoms could also mean that your pet swallowed something that they shouldn’t have, such as a solid object, sock, or stuffing from a toy that is causing them distress. If this happens, seek the attention of a veterinarian immediately.
Drooling may also be a symptom of heatstroke, and is your natural dog’s attempt at cooling themselves off. Never underestimate how quickly your dog could become overheated, and take them indoors or to a cool, shaded spot if they are panting, drooling, and seem distressed. Other health issues that can lead to drooling are liver disease, kidney disease, and even rabies. Dogs may also drool a lot if they have just suffered a seizure.
If you believe your dog’s drooling is out of character, the team at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital can help! Call us at (865) 609-0311 to schedule a wellness exam, or to speak to our friendly team about any questions or concerns you might have.