Why Dogs Drool

“Cats rule and dogs drool.”

In the 1993 movie Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Sassy the cat stated, “Cats rule and dogs drool.” A lot of dog owners may not agree with the first part of that statement, but even dog lovers have to admit that some dogs do drool.

Drooling is probably one of the reasons many people don’t like dogs. Even those who love dogs for their unconditional love, loyalty, wagging tails, and 101 other wonderful characteristics, say, “Gosh, I love it when I get slobbered on by my dog.”

What is drool anyway? Dog drool or slobber is just an excess of saliva. All healthy dogs produce saliva. It moistens food (making it easier to swallow) and is the start of the digestive process. But there’s normal saliva and then there’s buckets of saliva. So what causes the excess drooling?

Breed

Dogs that were bred to have loose lips are notorious for excess slobber. Saint Bernards, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Newfoundlands, Boxers, Mastiffs, and some Spaniels are among the breeds that may drool frequently.

Staying away from these breeds doesn’t guarantee you a slobber-free dog, nor will your dog necessarily be a drooler if he belongs to one of these breeds. Just be aware what you might be getting into if you do get one of these dogs.

Excitement or Anxiety Triggers

Restaurant chains, food preparation shows, and recipe writers routinely use “mouth-watering” when talking about food. If your dog’s drool floodgates open when you’re fixing his meal, he’s just looking forward to that bowl of awesome. What’s more, your dog may concentrate so hard on watching you fix that delicious meal he forgets to swallow, which make the excess saliva cause more of a mess.

Riding in a car may make your dog drool, especially if he associates car rides with something unpleasant (like going to the vet), if he suffers from motion sickness, or both. Anxious dogs will often pant or breathe with their mouths open, both of which can make them drool. Motion sickness can cause your dog to feel nauseated, which can also lead to excess saliva.

dog drool

©istockphoto/Wavetop

Medical Issues

If your normally drool-less dog suddenly starts slobbering, this can signal a variety of potential medical issues. Go see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Heat Stroke

Overheated dogs may drool. Short-nosed or “smashed face” dogs, such as Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers have a hard time panting efficiently and may get heat stroke more easily than other dogs.

Dental Problems

Gum disease or tartar build-up, as well as mouth sores, ulcers, or tumors, can all cause your dog to start drooling or drooling more.

Poison

Drooling may be a sign your dog has gotten into poison. The substance may or may not be something you think of as being poisonous. For example, some plants like chrysanthemums, tulips, and azaleas can be poisonous to your dog.

Illnesses

An infection in his nose, throat, or sinuses can cause your dog to drool. Some liver or kidney diseases can also cause drooling, as can distemper, rabies, or pseudorabies.

If it’s your dog’s nature to be a slobberer, there’s not much you can do. Keep towels handy to keep the drool cleaned up as best you can.

See if you can learn his triggers. If your dog gets anxious in the car, try to help him learn to enjoy car rides by taking him on a few short excursions just for fun. If he leaves a puddle of drool in the kitchen when you fix his food, don’t let him in while you’re preparing his supper. Always remember you love your dog for all his traits, including the bad ones.

But if you have a dog who normally keeps his saliva to himself and suddenly starts drooling to the point you notice it, take him to the vet. The sooner an illness or injury is found and treated, the better the chances for a complete recovery.

Meet the Author: Pam Hair

Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.

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