A lot of people think of dogs as being natural droolers, this is entirely true. While most dogs will typically drool during certain situations and it’s to be expected to a certain degree, there are breeds of dogs that drool more than others, such as many bigger breeds like Saint Bernards and Mastiffs, making drooling normal for the dog. Other breeds are not considered to be droolers by nature, so if they were to start drooling at all, or more than normal, it could be a sign of something serious that would require medical care. Here’s how to tell if your dog’s drooling is normal or not.
Drooling out of anticipation
When a dog is anticipating on something, such as their dinner or a tasty treat, their salivary glands start to work overtime, producing the drool that collects in their mouth and runs out the corners. Even during playtime or retrieving, drooling can start or increase. According to Tracey Jensen, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, medical director at Wellington Veterinary Hospital in Wellington, Colorado, this type of drooling is simply a part of the dog’s personality, and you should notice that it only happens during these certain events. It’s not all the time, and it’s simply a sign of anticipation.
Nervousness or anxious
Some dogs who aren’t normally droolers, may experience some drooling during times of feeling scared, anxious, or nervous. When a dog drools out of nervousness, such as going to the vet, a car ride, or a trip to the groomer, this should be considered normal and you can expect that once the anxiety passes, the drool will stop.
When pain is involved
When a dog is having pain, especially in the mouth, you can expect that a dog who never or rarely drools, will have a bout of drooling. Many times, a sore throat, a toothache or other dental issue will cause a dog to not want to swallow and the saliva that collects in the mouth will drool out. Other mouth related issues that can cause drooling may be caused by an injury to the mouth or throat due to a piece of a toy or stick that injured the mouth or got stuck in the teeth. If your dog is a fan of sticks or regularly chews on toys that break apart, you should check their teeth and mouth regularly for injuries or particles trapped in the teeth.
Nausea causes drooling
Like with humans, nausea or upset stomach can cause salivary reaction, which in a dog, would lead to drooling. They don’t want to swallow the excess saliva, so they let it drool out of the sides of their mouth. Dogs put a lot of things in their mouths, eat odd things, and can get carsick like humans, too. There are also stomach bugs and gastrointestinal issues that can develop that can also cause nausea and increase drooling, or ingesting something toxic or a toxin. If that is the case, you will need to have your pet seen by a vet ASAP, especially if you notice diarrhea, shaking, bruising, any bleeding, or seizures associated with the nausea and vomiting.
What you can do about drooling
If you have a dog that is not a drooler, but suddenly starts drooling, or has a noticeable increase in drooling, the best thing to do is have him examined by his vet. Especially if a possible ingestion of a toxin is of concern. A physical exam will be given, starting with the mouth, and you may be told that some laboratory tests will need to be run to make sure there aren’t any internal reasons for nausea or abdominal problems – maybe something your dog ate or swallowed that is sitting in the stomach.
On the other hand, if you have a breed of dog that is a natural drooler, such as a Mastiff or Saint Bernard, you may want to follow your pet around with a rag in hand or cover your furniture.