The Root of the Behavior
Drooling that comes on suddenly and is not typical for your dog could be a sign of a medical problem. He could be dealing with heat stroke, bloat, or poisoning, have a mouth injury or dental problem or have a foreign object lodged in his teeth or swallowed. Drooling that comes along persistently or more gradually, or is a change in consistency could be a sign of ptyalism. He may exhibit behavioral changes, have swollen lips, vomit, or have foam in his saliva. Hypersaliosis is when he is producing an abnormal amount of saliva. Pseudoptyalism is when he is not able to swallow the saliva he is producing. Lesions in the oral cavity or central nervous system can cause ptyalism, as well as diseases that affect the esophagus, pharynx, and stomach. Younger dogs may have a congenital problem called portosystemic shunt, where a shunt causes blood to bypass the liver and thus does not allow for it to be detoxified. This is most common in the Irish Wolfhound, Australian Cattle Dog, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, and Miniature Schnauzer. Also, Newfoundlands, Irish Setters, German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Fox Terriers can have a hereditary enlarged esophagus. Various metabolic and neurological disorders can also cause excessive drooling.
Encouraging the Behavior
Dogs exhibiting ptyalism or pseudoptyalism also need to be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. She will look for retching, lip smacking, and depression as well as get a complete medical history and review all signs and symptoms you can recall. A full physical exam, especially of the mouth, neck, and throat along with ultra-sound, x-ray and even a biopsy may be necessary to find the source of the excessive drooling. Once the source of the medical problem is identified, your veterinarian will have a plan to heal your pooch and get him back to having a cleaner and drier mouth.