If you think of a dog drooling or foaming at the mouth, often your mind may picture a large breed such as a Bernese Mountain Dog. However, many different types of dogs can drool and for a variety of reasons. It can be a perfectly natural behavior resulting due to their environment or current state. It can also be a sign of health concerns that may need a vet visit.
In order to properly tell when your dog’s drooling could be harmful, a vet visit is always the answer if you are concerned. We will also provide you with all the information on dog drool, its causes, and when it may be an indicator of something negative. So let’s take a look.
What is Drool
Drool is when saliva from your dog’s mouth starts to exit their mouth, either in drops, strands, or off the tongue. Saliva may become drool when too much saliva is being produced, a dog’s breeding, and external causes. This is why, if you notice your dog is drooling a lot, you need to consider all of these factors. Drool may also have different consistencies. Some can be frothy, others wet, and some stringy. Each of these can help explain your dog’s current health. Although it is gross, it is important to monitor this as changes in drool can be important.
Reasons Why Dogs Drool
Here are the top most common causes for your dog drooling that do not include health concerns. Check the category below for those.
Some dog breeds are simply more prone to drooling because of their genetics. This is due to the length of certain dog breeds’ flew, a fancy term for their upper lip. The longer it is the less likely they are able to hold saliva in their mouth.
When a dog sniffs or smells food, they may begin to salivate. This is a natural response as the body begins the production to get ready for digestion. Digestion begins in the mouth through chewing and enzymes within the saliva. Therefore, when a dog is thinking about eating, they will salivate more and this may lead to drooling.
Excitement or Anxiety
When a dog is anxious or excited, the adrenal gland will often produce excess adrenaline due to the flight or fight response. During this, one factor is to increase rapid breaths to increase the oxygen in the body in case they need to flee or attack. Therefore, they may begin to pant, which because of their open mouth not holding in saliva, they begin to drool.
Exercise or Overheating
Panting is a method used to increase oxygen intake or to help a dog cool off, hence why they pant after exercise or when they are too hot. This behavior means their tongue is hanging out and their mouth is wide open with rapid breaths. It is easy to see why saliva can quickly form to drool or spittle during this time.
Signs of Unhealthy Drooling
Drooling, like many behaviors dogs may perform, can be a sign of ill health. Depending on the consistency, frequency, and time that a dog drools, it could indicate different health issues. Here are some of the most common health issues to be present when a dog is drooling.
Mouth and Throat Issues
Often, when your dog is drooling a lot, the cause can be a problem to do with their mouth or throat. A minor issue may be ulcers, leading to them trying to open their mouth in hopes of avoiding their tongue grazing the painful area. Your dog’s salivary glands may also be infected which leads to difficulty in swallowing and drooling as a result. Although it is less common, there is a possibility that the drooling may be a result of a tumor around the neck or throat. This can be known by a lump in the area, although a lump could also indicate other less harmful consequences.
Tooth decay can lead to drooling often due to the pain it causes along with inflammation. As the decay progresses, so does the pain in the tooth and your dog’s mouth. Contact with the tooth increases this and therefore your dog will try to avoid letting their tongue or lip touch the area. This means they may keep their mouth open, or even pant more frequently due to the stress of the pain. The open mouth and lolled tongue allow spit to easily drain from the mouth in the form of drool. This may lead to drooling occurring frequently and therefore it may be less watery than normal drool. As it is occurring more frequently, your dog may be losing more water so the drool will be more stringy.
This is another category that covers a range of topics from mild to severe. It may that your dog is stressed and their stomach is upset as a result. Nausea through stress or illness can both lead to excess drooling. Saliva is produced in excess in times of nausea due to a dog’s natural response of considering vomiting. This aids the reflex and helps vomit exit the body. If your dog has overeaten as well, the same issue may occur as dogs struggle to tell when they are full. Although it can be a sign of mild stomach issues, bloat can also lead to excess drooling, a condition that can be fatal.
Heatstroke can be fatal to dogs in a very short period of time. It occurs when your dog overheats and struggles to cool down. However, there are many symptoms alongside drooling that you can identify. Lethargy, rapid panting, being unresponsive, dizziness, and excess drinking should be monitored. The drooling comes due to the rapid panting your dog does in hopes of cooling down. Furthermore, they may have become dehydrated which leads to frothy drool in your dog’s mouth and regular drooling to try to remove it from the mouth. If you are concerned your dog has heat stroke, be sure to visit the vets immediately.
When your dog’s kidneys begin to fail, their metabolism becomes affected. This means they struggle to remove the normal toxins in the body at a regular rate so they build up. These toxins lead to nausea, stress, pain, and ulcers. All of which can lead to drooling in your dog. There are many other signs that kidney disease can be a worry for your dog. These may include a change in appetite and general interest in food, and therefore weight loss. Furthermore, they may become lethargic, stumble more, and even vomit regularly. This is another concern that requires immediate vet treatment
Although dog drool can be a common and normal behavior, it can also be a sign of health concerns. Monitoring your dog’s other behavior and considering their individual factors can help you to figure out what is expected of them. However, you should always take your dog to a vet visit if you are concerned. Every dog will show a different combination of symptoms for the same illness and therefore do not brush off an illness because they do not show every sign. It may be that your dog is absolutely fine and is just a drooly breed. S be sure to know what is expected of your dog with their specific characteristics.