Pretty much every dog salivates, there's just no stopping it. If you have one of the many dog breeds with wide lips & big, constantly open mouths, then you are all too familiar with this trait. Many owners of bigger dog breeds know the struggle of their canine getting saliva all over themselves and everything else around them. In fact, a lot of owners are quite familiar with the struggle of what is often jokingly referred to, in canine enthusiast circles, as the “doggie drip!” While it's certainly normal for a dog to drool, what causes it? And when should you be concerned about too much of it?
The Root of the Behavior
Drooling is generally a normal canine trait that happens when dogs with large mouths or jowls have saliva that builds up internally, often while they're at rest. Then once your dog becomes active, you witness your dog leaking saliva from his mouth. While not normally a cause for concern, if it becomes bothersome the leaking saliva can be taken care of with regular grooming for your loveable canine.
In the warmer summer months, an excessive amount of saliva can be indicative of possible heat stroke in your dog. If the heat in the area is hitting higher than average temperatures, and you can clearly tell that your dog is breathing hard, this may be an indicator of possible heat stroke. To stave off any problems that could result from this condition, if you notice your dog exhibiting these types of symptoms, it's wise to get them to cooler conditions (even just a shady spot) and give them water so that they can rehydrate.
Dr. Hohenhaus, a professional veterinarian with over 15 years of experience, suggests that excessive drool can be indicative of neurological disorders in your dog. Sometimes an animal can lose complete feeling in their face, often times resulting in painful facial paralysis that can put your dog in danger of a medical emergency, especially if it interferes with their ability to eat or drink. If you notice your dog avoiding food, or coughing with regularity in conjunction with excess drooling, Dr. Hohenhaus recommends taking your dog into the vet immediately.
Another possible reason for more than average amounts of drool, are various dental conditions. Excessive plaque buildup can cause tumors and abscesses to grow and can even eventually lead to severe dental conditions like infections or even diseases. It's always a good idea to take your dog to get regular dental checkups prior to seeing excess drooling issues, as these problems are usually easily avoided.
Encouraging the Behavior
So, what's the harm in your dog drooling? Well, it depends on the situation and what exactly is happening. If you are finding that your possessions are constantly getting ruined with drool, perhaps that is an indicator that changes need to be made in the house. World famous animal trainer. Cesar Millan, notes that sometimes the destruction of an owner’s possessions can also be a great indicator of separation anxiety. Another facet of this is to pay attention to when your dog drools. Is it a regular occurrence, or is something in particular making him do it? If you notice that it happens only after chewing a specific item or plant, it may be an indicator of an allergy. In this case, it might be wise to try and steer your dog toward another toy, plant, or food item and see if this alleviates the problem.
Excessive salivation tends to also be an indicator of generalized anxiety in dogs. Helping your canine build self-esteem in these instances can be very beneficial, and could also curb the drool. This can be done by engaging in behavioral practices, and while it is a slow process there are a lot of organizations that specialize in this disorder.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you've researched the reasons behind this behavior already, you've probably noticed that while in certain cases it can be a sign of serious issues, more often than not there's nothing to worry about. But unfortunately, the few problems that do cause excessive drooling can take the life of your dog quickly. This is why it is absolutely crucial to take your dog in for regular checkups whenever possible. Various doggie diseases, like cancers and viruses like rabies, aren't something to procrastinate on. Another possibility is that due to excessive chewing, dogs can quite regularly get pieces of things lodged inside their mouths. Checking regularly to see that your dog’s mouth is clean of debris is a great way to avoid this.
You probably shouldn’t be too concerned about your dog drooling. It’s a normal, healthy trait that helps your pet properly digest food and deal with shifts in weather. What’s more important here is that you pay attention to the behavior that your dog exhibits, and maintain a regular schedule of care and maintenance. At the very least, it’s a general “drool” of thumb!