Sloppy dog kisses or the occasional puddle of drool on your guest’s shoe are unavoidable incidents for dog owners. Dog slobber is a fact of life.
Dogs, no matter their breed, drool when they are excited. You will likely notice excessive slobber around meal times or when your dog’s favorite person enters the door.
That being said, some dogs do drool more than others.
The American Kennel Club even includes a drooling level metric within its breed profiles, measuring drool on a scale ranging from “less likely to drool” to “always have a towel.”
What causes dog slobber?
Dogs create saliva for the same reason humans do — to help us eat.
Salivary glands in our mouths secrete saliva to help break down food and make it easier to swallow. Saliva helps with taste and digestion as well.
Because some dogs have extra floppy lips, the saliva escapes their mouths, collects around their muzzles, and drips on the floor (or your clothes).
Have you ever smelled a delicious meal and felt your mouth build saliva in anticipation?
That’s precisely what happens when a dog sees or smells his favorite treat or hears you opening a can of food.
Dog breeds that drool the most
Certain breeds have prominent jowls and extra droopy lips, and this feature contributes to excessive drooling in dogs.
Their floppy lips can’t hold in the drool, and the excess saliva collects in the folds.
Who could forget the iconic scenes from Beethoven when the sweet St. Bernard was constantly drooling and licking his lips, hoping to score some bacon from the breakfast table?
Along with St. Bernards, Mastiffs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bloodhounds, Bulldogs, Newfoundlands, Neopolitan Mastiffs, Bull Mastiffs, Neopolitan Mastiffs, Boxers, Great Danes, and Coonhounds all tend to drool more than other breeds due to the extra skin around their muzzles.
When to be concerned about dog slobber
While excessive drooling (also called hypersalivation) is typical for certain breeds (especially around mealtimes), it’s essential that you can recognize when excessive dog slobber isn’t usual.
If your pup’s drooling is out of the ordinary, it could cause concern.
Over-salivating can be a sign of poor dental hygiene.
Without consistent cleaning, tartar builds up on the teeth and can lead to gum and other oral issues and periodontal disease.
Dogs can also get food, sticks, or other foreign objects stuck in their teeth, aggravating their mouths.
Your furry pal can’t brush and floss the way people can, so it’s up to you to maintain your dog’s dental health to prevent bad breath, tooth decay, and excessive slobber.
Nausea is another common cause of over-drooling.
Like humans, dogs can feel nauseous due to motion sickness, so be sure to keep an eye on them during car rides.
Dogs can also feel nauseous after eating something that doesn’t agree with them; if your dog is over-salivating after eating, take note if there was perhaps a new ingredient in their food.
Another possibility is if your dog has started a new medication with nausea as a side effect.
Dogs will eat all kinds of things they shouldn’t, and humans often leave things around that we don’t realize could be poisonous to canines.
Drooling could be a warning sign that your dog has eaten something toxic.
Everyday household items that could be poisonous to dogs include chocolate, certain houseplants (like lilies, ivy, and elephant ears), raw dough, alcohol, art supplies, cleaning products, and marijuana.
If your pooch accidentally ingests something poisonous, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). Specialists are available 24 hours a day, even on holidays. You can reach the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
If you live where summer can get super hot, keep an eye on dog slobber.
Excessive drooling can be a symptom of heatstroke.
If you’re feeling too hot, then your dog is feeling too hot (after all, it can’t exactly take off its fur coat).
Typically, if experiencing heatstroke, your dog will suffer from other associated symptoms, including heavy panting, a red tongue, pale gums, and agitation.
When it’s hot out, ensure your dog has plenty of shade and access to cool, fresh water.
When dogs are feeling stressed, they may begin licking or drooling.
You might notice that your dog starts drooling when you’re getting ready to leave the house or when there are loud, scary noises like thunder or fireworks.
If your dog suffers from anxiety, you can talk to your vet about options. Anxiety vests or CBD could be helpful interventions.
How to stop dog drooling
The first step to addressing hypersalivation is to rule out physical or psychological causes.
Make sure you discuss the dog slobber situation with your veterinarian so that they can check your dog’s oral health and perform specific diagnostic tests.
Regular vet visits (at least twice a year) are recommended for any dog owner, and you should brush your dog’s teeth every few days.
It’s also possible that your pup is just a super drooler. As mentioned before, certain breeds are more likely to slobber because of how their mouths are formed.
In this case, you should probably get used to a bit of drool in your life, but a few tips can help.
You could tie a cute bandana around your dog’s neck; the fabric might help absorb some of the falling slobber. Dogs tend to salivate around mealtime or when greeting a new friend.
Consider placing absorbent mats or towels in your house’s feeding area or by the front door.
Some homeopathic interventions might also help, but always discuss these options with your vet first. It is impossible to prevent a canine from salivating.
Therefore, the American Kennel Club recommends always keeping a towel handy. This is a wise recommendation.