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Why Does My Dog Drool So Much?

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Drooling is a normal behavior for many dogs, but excessive drooling can be a cause for concern. If you notice that your dog is drooling a lot more than usual or if your dog rarely drools but suddenly starts, it’s important to understand the possible causes and when to seek veterinary help. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various reasons why dogs drool excessively and provide insights on how to address this issue.

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Understanding Normal Dog Drooling

When dogs eat, their salivary glands in the neck and jaw area produce saliva to aid in digestion. Drooling occurs when saliva escapes the mouth, which can happen when a dog sees food or when food is being prepared. It’s important to note that drooling is not a problem for most dog breeds. Breeds with large upper lips, such as Mastiffs and St. Bernards, tend to drool more than others.

Potential Causes of Excessive Drooling in Dogs

Excessive drooling, also known as hypersalivation, can indicate a serious or even life-threatening condition, especially if accompanied by other symptoms. The amount of drooling that is considered excessive depends on the normal drooling behavior of your dog. Some common causes of excessive drooling in dogs include:

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Conditions involving the gastrointestinal tract, such as esophagitis, gastritis, enteritis, pancreatitis, foreign body obstruction, gastric ulceration, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastrointestinal cancers, can lead to drooling in dogs. The drooling is usually secondary to nausea induced by these medical conditions.

Gum Disease or Oral Issues

Periodontal disease, such as gingivitis or stomatitis, and other oral problems like a sialocele, tumor, or infection, can cause excessive drooling in dogs. Look for signs such as a mass, blood, pus, or bad breath.

Mouth Injury

Blunt force trauma, chewing on sharp objects, or foreign material lodged in the mouth, such as a splinter or piece of bone, can lead to drooling in dogs.

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Chemical or Electrical Burns

Exposure to caustic chemicals, like battery acid, or electrical burns from chewing on electrical cords can cause bleeding and drooling in dogs. These injuries are often accompanied by pain and lesions, and your pet may paw at their mouth. Immediate veterinary attention is necessary if you suspect these types of injuries.

Toxins and Venoms

Consuming poisonous plants, foods, or drugs can cause excessive drooling and other life-threatening side effects in dogs. Animal venom or secretions, such as a bite from a black widow spider or licking a toad, can also lead to drooling. It’s essential to keep your dog away from plants that are toxic to them, and if you suspect ingestion of a toxic substance, contact your vet immediately.

Anxiety

Excessive drooling can be a result of anxiety caused by various factors, such as going to the vet, moving to a new home, or riding in a car. Dogs may also exhibit restlessness, panting, or diarrhea along with the excessive drooling.

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain often presents with additional signs, such as restlessness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or abdominal distention. Some dogs may guard their abdomen to avoid being touched where it hurts.

Neurological Conditions

Damage to the nerves that connect to the salivary gland, damage to the salivary gland itself, or damage to the brain can cause excessive drooling in dogs. Additional signs may include uneven pupils, lethargy, weakness, and difficulty swallowing. If your dog has trouble swallowing, it’s crucial to contact your vet immediately.

Viral or Bacterial Infections

Rabies and tetanus are examples of viral and bacterial infections that can cause drooling in dogs.

Congenital Defects

Some dogs are born with congenital defects that can lead to excessive drooling. Examples include a hiatal hernia, where the upper section of the abdomen pushes into the chest, or a portosystemic shunt, which is a circulatory abnormality.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

If your dog exhibits excessive drooling along with other signs and symptoms, it is important to seek immediate veterinary assistance. Signs that warrant immediate attention include vomiting or regurgitation, diarrhea, bleeding, lethargy or weakness, loss of appetite or changes in eating behavior, changes in behavior such as aggressiveness or whining (indicating pain), dizziness, head-tilting, trouble with balance, difficulty swallowing, uneven pupils, restlessness or panting, and abdominal distention. If your dog is pawing at their mouth or showing any other concerning signs, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian.

Diagnosis and Treatment

When you visit the veterinarian, they will conduct a physical examination and examine your dog’s mouth and neck area. They will also take a detailed medical history, including information about vaccinations, medications, potential exposure to toxins, and possible ingestion of foreign objects.

Based on the physical examination and medical history, your veterinarian may recommend further diagnostic tests. These tests may include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and tissue biopsies to examine internal organs, detect tumors, or evaluate immune issues. Once a diagnosis is made, the appropriate treatment plan can be implemented.

Treatment for excessive drooling in dogs will depend on the underlying cause. Dental treatment may be necessary for periodontal disease, which could involve removing teeth. Antibiotics may be prescribed for bacterial causes. Surgical intervention may be required for trauma or congenital defects. In cases of tumors, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy may be recommended. Pain medication, anti-inflammatory medications, and medicated mouthwash may also be part of the treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Dogs Drool When They’re Nervous?

Yes, excessive drooling can be a sign of anxiety and stress in dogs. Panting, pacing, and drooling excessively are common behaviors exhibited by dogs when they’re nervous.

Why Does My Dog Drool in the Car?

Dogs may drool in the car due to motion sickness. The sensation of riding in a car can cause vertigo-like feelings for dogs, leading to nausea and drooling. Additionally, some dogs may experience stress during car rides, which can also contribute to drooling.

Conclusion

Excessive drooling in dogs can be a cause for concern and may indicate underlying health issues. It’s important to monitor your dog’s drooling behavior and seek veterinary help if you notice any sudden changes or accompanying symptoms. Remember, your veterinarian is the best resource for diagnosing and treating excessive drooling in dogs. By understanding the potential causes and seeking appropriate veterinary care, you can help ensure your dog’s health and well-being.

Additional Information: It’s important to note that excessive drooling in dogs can also be a symptom of heatstroke or poisoning. If you suspect your dog is experiencing heatstroke or has ingested a toxic substance, seek immediate veterinary attention.

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