Drool is a normal part of life for some breeds of dog, but what do you do if there's a lot of slobber on your pet's face? Is it cause for concern? Today, our Simi Valley vets discuss drooling in dogs and when you should be concerned.
Why do dogs drool?
Like humans, dogs produce saliva. Saliva is 98% water, but it also contains antibacterial compounds, enzymes, and electrolytes that are essential for good health. This enzyme-rich juice is produced by glands near the jaw and drains into the mouth via ducts.
Amylase, an enzyme that begins the digestive process, is found in saliva. Amylase interacts with food and breaks it down during chewing. Saliva also moistens chewed food and helps to form a bolus, which aids in swallowing. A moist mouth feels better than a dry mouth and improves taste.
By clearing food particles from the teeth, saliva reduces the formation of cavities and prevents tooth decay. Saliva's antibacterial properties help to reduce germs in the mouth that cause bad breath.
Saliva is beneficial, but too much of it can be harmful. Excess saliva fills the dog's mouth, runs over the brim, and he drools. When the dog produces excessive saliva, he does not swallow it all. Overall, saliva is beneficial, but excessive production can cause health problems.
What are some breeds that drool?
Drooling is normal for all dogs, but some breeds drool more than others. Among them are St Bernards, bulldogs, bloodhounds, Mastiffs, Newfoundlanders, and Bernese mountain dogs. Excessive drooling in these breeds isn't always normal, so keep track of your dog's normal level of drooling.
What causes drooling in dogs?
There are many causes of drooling in dogs. Some of the most common include:
Smelling Food: Because your dog has over 200 million scent receptors a stronger reaction when he smells your food, his food, or even when you open the dog food bag.
Nausea: These include gastrointestinal (GI) issues, vestibular (balance) issues, and motion sickness. When a dog is nauseated, his salivary glands go into overdrive and he drools.
Physical Formation: Because the anatomy of their mouths allows the liquid to dribble out, some dogs' saliva production appears excessive. Giant breeds are known for their saggy lips and drooping jowls, which do not effectively hold saliva in and allow it to drain. Drooling breeds include the Bloodhound, Mastiff, St. Bernard, and Newfoundlanders.
Dental Problems: Despite the fact that saliva protects the teeth, dogs can suffer from dental problems. Tartar buildup traps bacteria, resulting in gingivitis and periodontitis. Inflamed or infected gums become painful, and teeth become loose in their sockets as bony tissue deteriorates. Teeth may fall out or fracture, resulting in discomfort. Excessive salivation is caused by all of these dental issues.
Injuries and/or Growths: Excessive drooling can be caused by abrasions from chewing hard objects, ulcers, cuts, and burns. Drooling can also be caused by lumps or bumps in the mouth. These growths could be harmless warts or cancerous tumors. Even innocuous growths can cause drooling.
Excitement: When dogs are excited or agitated, they drool. That's why they slobber all over you!
When is drooling a sign of an underlying problem?
Drooling, however, can also be a symptom of another, underlying problem. Here are some other signs that might also come with hypersalivation:
Decreased Appetite or a Change in Eating Routine: The dog may gradually lose appetite if chronic GI issues are the cause of hypersalivation. If nausea is the cause, drooling might only last a short while before stopping. Until the physical condition heals or the offending item/growth is removed, drooling brought on by a mouth injury, growth, or foreign body will persist.Dogs who enjoy eating dry kibble may refuse to eat if their mouths hurt. In an effort to place the food on the less painful side, they might hold their heads at an odd angle and might even drop food. When given soft, moistened food, they frequently eat it better.
Changing Behavior: When a dog is in pain, even the sweetest of dogs can become aggressive. When other dogs are in pain, they become reclusive and withdrawn.
Pawing at the Face: Some dogs with oral pain will rub their muzzles with their paws or on the floor to try to relieve the pain. When swallowing food or water, drooling dogs with esophageal or stomach problems may gulp or extend their necks.
How to Stop a Dog From Drooling
The underlying cause may be treated with tooth cleaning, tooth extraction, GI treatment, avoiding triggers, wound healing, or pre-trip nausea medication.If the issue is behavioral, try soothing your dog before letting visitors inside the home or keep the dog in a quiet area while you host guests. Keep a towel handy to mop up the flood in case you start drooling while preparing dinner.
If it's due to their mouth shape, try tying a trendy bandanna around your dog's neck to catch the slobber. After all, all those flapping jaws give your dog character, right?