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What is Ptyalism?

Almost all dogs drool, especially if they are happy or excited, and even more so if they know they are about to get a treat. Saliva production is a normal response to stimulation. It lubricates the mouth, helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and begins breaking down food for digestion. However excessive drooling caused by too much saliva in the mouth is not normal and can be a sign of a serious condition. There are a number of different causes for ptylism or excessive saliva production in dogs. Some can be local issues in the mouth or throat, while others are more systemic disorders. Rabies can cause excessive salivation, so it’s important to eliminate that possibility before seeking other treatment.

Salivation or drooling is universal among dogs and is not a sign of ill-health. However excessive salivation or hypersalivation occurs when the salivary glands produce more saliva than the dog is able to swallow. Veterinarians define this as ptyalism. The excess moisture can cause inflammation and irritation around the dog’s mouth and lips.

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Ptyalism Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Ptyalism in Dogs

Problems can often be detected by an increase in the level of salivation or a change in the saliva consistency. Recognizing excessive salivation will depend on knowing what is normal for your dog since some dogs drool more than others, especially among different breeds. Seek treatment if you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog:

  • Drooling more than normal
  • Drooling with no apparent cause
  • Inflammation on the mouth or lips as a result of too much moisture
  • Refusal to eat.
  • Behavioral changes.
  • Saliva has a white foamy consistency.
  • Increased salivation is accompanied by sudden vomiting, diarrhea or other symptoms of serious illness.
Types

There are basically two types of situations which create excess saliva.

  • Hypersaliosis or hypersalivation means that the salivary glands are producing an abnormal amount of saliva.
  • Psudoptylism is when the dog is unable to swallow the saliva produced by the salivary glands. Although this is not actually an overproduction of saliva, it can look very similar to hypersalivation since the result will still be an excessive amount of saliva in the mouth.
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Causes of Ptyalism in Dogs

  • Irritation from a foreign object

    - sticks, stones or plastic toys can become lodged in your dog mouth and may cause excessive salivation as well as eventually pain and inflammation.

  • Injuries to the mouth

    - cuts, scrapes or bites inside the mouth can lead to excessive salivation.

  • Excessive emotions

    - dogs normally drool in response to emotional stimuli, but intense or traumatic emotions can increase this natural response.

  • Motion sickness

    - nausea caused by motion sickness can increase saliva production, as can the anxiety of traveling in a car.

  • Difficulty swallowing

    - irritation or blockage of the throat can make it painful or difficult for a dog to swallow which will lead to excessive saliva.

  • Inflamed tonsils

    - these can also make swallowing more difficult.

  • Medication

    - medication administration can cause increased saliva production, as can certain medications.

  • Allergic reaction

    - severe allergic reactions cause increased drooling, among other symptoms.

  • Poisoning

    - different types of poisoning can lead to excessive salivation. As symptoms worsen, the dog will often start to foam at the mouth.

  • Infectious diseases

    - rabies and certain forms of distemper can lead to excessive salivation and foaming at the mouth.

  • Seizures

    - some seizures can cause excessive salivation or foaming at the mouth.

  • Tumors

    - certain types of mouth tumors, including malignant cancer tumors, can cause excessive salivation.

  • Mouth defects

    - congenital defects in mouth conformity can make it difficult to swallow and lead to excess saliva.

  • Kidney Failure or Hepatic encephalopathy

    - both of these systemic failures will cause excessive salivation.

  • Disorder of the salivary glands

    - abscess or inflammation of the salivary glands can sometimes cause excessive salivation.

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Diagnosis of Ptyalism in Dogs

It’s important to rule out rabies before attempting any examination, but this is relatively easy if your dog has shots and isn’t exhibiting any other rabies symptoms. Once this possibility has been ruled out, the veterinarian will perform an oral exam on an office visit. If your dogs has no other signs of ill health, the increased salivation is most likely due to a foreign object which can often be detected on an exam. The veterinarian will also check for irritation of the mouth or throat, tumors, inflamed saliva glands and other local causes.

If no local cause is found, or if there are other symptoms the veterinarian will perform further tests to check for infectious diseases or other systemic problems. Pay attention to when your dog produces excessive saliva, and try to look for patterns or triggering causes. Check for other symptoms such as lack of appetite, increased thirst, vomiting, or diarrhea. Supporting symptoms can often be important for an accurate diagnosis.

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Treatment of Ptyalism in Dogs

Cleanse your dog’s mouth with an antiseptic solution and keep the skin as dry as possible until you can seek treatment. Salivation accompanied by other serious symptoms or foaming at the mouth should be treated as an emergency since it can be the result of poisoning or severe allergic reaction. Most other types can be treated on an office visit at your earliest convenience.

If there is a foreign object in your dog’s mouth, it can usually be removed in a single appointment. Medication may be prescribed to help heal cuts or scrapes inside the mouth, as well as throat infections that lead to problems swallowing. These are usually easy to treat and clear up quickly.

Inflamed and abscessed salivary glands can also often be treated with medication. Occasionally removal of the gland may be necessary. Tonsillitis and more serious issues like tumors may also require surgery. This will generally be minor surgery, but there is always a certain amount of risk as well as recovery time. Congenital mouth defects will most likely not be modified with surgery unless they create a serious problem.

If the excessive salivation is due to kidney failure or an infectious disease, it will depend on the severity of the condition and the degree to which it has progressed. Advanced conditions may be difficult to treat or dialysis may be required in the case of kidney failure.

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Recovery of Ptyalism in Dogs

Most local causes for excessive salivation can be treated, and your dog will make a full recovery. If the salivation is due to intense emotions, it is likely part of your dog’s personality and will not be treatable. It can be managed however with good hygiene. Salivation due to motion sickness can also be managed by limiting car rides as well as adjusting the dog’s position and opening windows. Medication can be prescribed before long car rides.

Monitor your dog’s mouth closely for foreign objects as well as cuts and scrapes to catch any problems as soon as possible. If poisoning or allergic reaction was the issue, take steps to prevent the situation from recurring. Most other sources of excessive salivation are difficult to prevent, but, with regular monitoring, they can be recognized early and treated.

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Ptyalism Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$500

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Ptyalism Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Golden Doodle

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Three Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Cold/Cool Drooling, Liquid Stool, And He Vomited Twice A Few Weeks Ago

when we picked him up, when we first got him, he vomited twice on the way home, we thought it was him being car sick, but then his stool has been really liquid-ey, and now i’ve noticed in the car he’s been drooling a lot and it’s been kind of a cool temperature it feels like, which made me curious. we’ve had him about 2 weeks and i’m just worried something is wrong and need to know if i need to go see a vet or what

Sept. 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello If your pup is having vomiting and diarrhea, I recommend that you take him to a veterinarian for an exam. They may want to check him for parvo or for worms. Good luck.

Sept. 16, 2020

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Dachshund

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hyper Salivation

My Dachshund breed was quite upset from last one week with hyper salivation

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Hypersalivation can be caused by anxiety, nausea, or pain. If the problem persists with your dog, it would probably be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine your dog and see what might be going on. If the problem resolved and it seems to be a short-term problem then you may be fine to continue to monitor. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Aug. 8, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Saliva

Yesterday my dog started leaving spots of drool around the house. This morning I noticed her bed was completely wet from saliva. She’s otherwise the same happy energetic dog and still eating and drinking as normal. What could be wrong with her?

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello Your pet could be drooling excessively due to a dental or oral issue. Perhaps she has a loose tooth or a lesion on her gums. I recommend that you take her to a veterinarian for an exam so they can look around in her mouth and see if there is anything abnormal. Good luck.

Aug. 1, 2020

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Pug

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Five Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Heavy Drooling And Gagging Like Trying To Cough Up Furball

Is she going to be on

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Without being able to see her, I'm not sure if she is okay, but drooling can be a sign of nausea, and in a 5 month old puppy, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They can examine her, check for parasites or disease, and give her treatment as needed. I hope that she is okay!

July 25, 2020

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Boxer

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea, Limp (Hind Leg), Excessive Salivating

He was fine and happy this morning and is lethargic, limping (nothing in foot) and no pain when I rub him all over. Excessive salivating. His non related brother had this same issue last week and is now completely fine. Wondering if it is just a common sickness

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, it is hard to say what might be going on without seeing him. I would not call those signs of a common sickness, and there is definitely something going on, especially if your other dog had similar signs recently. If he does not improve within the next few hours or by tomorrow, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine him, see what might be going on, and get treatment. I hope that he is okay.

July 24, 2020

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Brownie

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

2 Months

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling Seizure

My puppy starts to get seizure and drools a lot she does it and does drink water it just comes out the no where and I get scare because one min she is fine and the next she start crying we try to calm her down she goes to sleep and when she wakes up she is fine like it doesn't happen every day is just once in a while but it's scary

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Berry

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Yorkshire Terrier

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3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Excessive Drooling

We just took our little puppy on a walk and a little after that she had diarrhea several times. She has all her vaccines; she is also still very playful and eats and drinks water regularly. I am concerned that she might have ingested something toxic from our neighbors' lawns.

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Keith

dog-breed-icon

Mixed

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling

There is a pitbull mix dog in a shelter I volunteer at. He produces so much saliva, it covers the floor of his kennel. His neck, chest and front legs are always soaking wet in saliva. It has been going on for the entire 6 months he has been at the shelter - possibly his entire life. The shelter vet thinks it is from stress but I am not convinced. I have taken him outside the shelter on long easy walks and he still "gulps" continuously and saliva strings from his mouth. He also licks the metal bars on his kennel door. They have done blood work and everything is normal. Is there a test for salivary gland disorders?

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Loki

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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5 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Drooling
Loss Of Appetite
Not Drinking Water
Cold Ears
Loud Intestinal Gurgling

We've had Loki for just over a year. He was 4 years old when we got him and he is the only pet in our home. After a period of adjustment to his new surroundings (approximately a month) his appetite and stool became regular. Shortly thereafter, we noticed he had irregularly occurring episodes where his symptoms included loss of appetite and thirst, drooling excessively, loud gurgling from his stomach, and lethargy. During these episodes I notice that he is particularly needy/clingy and his ears are cold to the touch. These episodes last anywhere from 4 - 12 hours and then he's back to normal and his ears are warm again. He quickly regains his appetite and the following one or two eliminations are typically very soft. We've isolated his diet to grain-free foods which he tolerates well. When he first had these episodes, we'd feed him boiled chicken and rice but he would not eat. These episodes occur once every two weeks or so. We are told he was previously treated for Lyme disease and kennel cough but we have no further background on his medical history. These episodes are chronic and don't appear to be caused by a particular event. Our vet ran blood work and could not diagnose a problem. Any suggestions on what we should look for?

dog-name-icon

Bella

dog-breed-icon

Boxer

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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5 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

I have a 6ish year old female Boxer. For the last year or so we’ve been having a problem with random episodes of excessive drooling. I cannot identify a trigger for it. Sometimes she will do it multiple times in a week, sometimes she will go a few weeks without an episode. Almost exclusively starts in the evening and is resolved by morning. She gets dinner around 7:30pm every night but it has started before and after she’s eaten. She sometimes acts differently when she is having a drooling episode - she will pace, take a long time to settle/lay down, and gets back up once she does. No loss in appetite, no trouble eating or drinking. No noticeable issue swallowing- when she is drooling she does swallow/lick her chops more because of the excess saliva. This led me to think that it might be anxiety related, but again there is no identifiable stressor. I tried giving her melatonin to help her settle once she starts drooling, and it works for what it’s intended to do but obviously doesn’t prevent the drooling from happening. I tried giving her Rescue Remedy, saw no improvement. Took her to the vet and explained the issue- her teeth were checked and while they’re not great (they never have been) he said he didn’t think it was her teeth. He felt her salivary glands and said they felt normal. He suggested giving a Pepcid 10mg right at 5 when I get home from work (since this only happens in the evenings) to rule out a stomach acid issue, and if that didn’t work he said to try Benadryl 25mg the same way to see if it’s anxiety related. I tried the Pepcid when i got home from work - she didn’t drool for a few days but ultimately it didn’t work. Then I tried 2 Pepcids when I got home, she threw up. Then I tried 1 Pepcid when I got home with a little food, then feeding the rest of her dinner later around 9 - we thought it was working but then last night she started drooling around 11pm. I was going to try giving 1 Pepcid with half her dinner at 5pm today and 1 Pepcid at 9pm with the other half of her dinner tonight and we didn’t even make it that far, she started drooling around 8pm. I am going to ditch the Pecid and start trying the Benadryl tomorrow as my vet had suggested but I really thought that approaching it like a stomach issue was going to work, it made sense since we can’t identify a trigger. I’m stumped and getting very discouraged. Any insight would be appreicated.

Ptyalism Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$500

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