What is Dripping Saliva?
Salivation or drooling is typical in dogs, particularly when happy, excited or confident they are about to receive a treat. Your dog will produce saliva in response to stimulation, which will provide lubrication for your dog’s mouth, prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and start the process of breaking down the food she has eaten for digestion.
You may observe your dog salivating excessively (this is called hypersalivation or ptyalism), which means she is dripping more saliva than she is able to swallow. The additional moisture can result in inflammation and irritation in the area of your dog’s mouth and lips. Your dog may be dripping saliva due to:
- Problems with her mouth and/throat (to include items lodged in her mouth or injuries)
- Your dog is experiencing excessive emotion
- Motion sickness
- Trouble swallowing
- Severe allergic reaction
- Infectious diseases
- Kidney failur
- Hepatic encephalopathy
- Salivary gland disorder
As hypersalivation can be a sign of a serious health concern, it is important to determine what is causing your dog to experience this symptom. You can then work with your veterinarian on treating the underlying condition.
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Why Dripping Saliva Occurs in Dogs
Your dog may be dripping saliva more than usual due to:
Problems With her Mouth and Throat (to include items lodged in her mouth or injuries)
If a stick or toy becomes lodged in your dog’s mouth it can result in her salivating excessively as well as in pain and inflammation. Injuries like cuts, scrapes and bites can also lead to increased saliva.
Your Dog is Experiencing Excessive Emotions
Your dog will typically drool when responding to emotional stimuli; should she experience intense or traumatic emotions, her response may increase.
Your dog can experience nausea as a result of motion sickness, which can lead to increased saliva being produced. In many cases, motion sickness becomes less of a problem as a puppy grows older.
If your dog has any trouble swallowing, possibly from swollen tonsils, defects present at birth, irritation or a blockage, she can produce more saliva than usual. If you feel your dog is experiencing swallowing difficulties, a veterinary visit is warranted without delay.
Taking certain medications can lead to an increase in the production of saliva. A canine who is dripping saliva to the excess may also be experiencing nausea from the medication; in that case, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe a new medication.
Severe Allergic Reaction
When experiencing a severe allergic reaction, one symptom that you may see in your dog is excessive salivation. If swelling of the face, lips, or tongue is evident, this is a medical emergency.
Certain poisons can lead to more salivation than normal. As symptoms become worse, your dog may foam at the mouth.
Rabies and particular forms of distemper can lead to your dog over salivating and foaming at the mouth. Prompt medical care is needed in the case of many infectious diseases.
Sometimes when experiencing a seizure, your dog can salivate more than usual or foam at the mouth. Other symptoms may be losing control of urinary and bowel function, as well as lack of coordination or changes in the pupils.
There are certain types of tumors that can occur in your dog’s mouth that can result in her over salivating. These include malignant cancer tumors.
Kidney Failure/Hepatic Encephalopathy
These are both systemic failures that result in your dog salivating excessively. Thirst, bad breath, lethargy, and appetite loss are just a few of the symptoms you may see.
Salivary Gland Disorder
If your dog experiences an abscess or swelling of her salivary glands, excess salivation can occur. A growth, trauma to the gland or exposure to toxins can all lead to swelling.
What to do if your Dog is Dripping Saliva
Upon noticing excessive salivation, consider if there is a pattern for when this occurs or if there is something that triggers this reaction. It is a good idea to have your dog evaluated by your veterinarian to determine if there are any issues that require treatment. Prior to examining your dog, your veterinarian will want to rule out rabies as a cause of her excessive salivation. This can be done if your dog has had her shots and is not displaying other symptoms of rabies. Your veterinarian will ask you for information on when your dog began salivating more than usual and whether you have noticed any other symptoms.
An examination will be conducted; if your dog is not displaying any other symptoms, it is likely that her salivation has increased due to a foreign object lodged in her mouth. While examining your dog’s mouth to search for its presence, your veterinarian will also look for any irritation of her mouth or throat, tumors and swollen saliva glands. If during the examination your veterinarian observed other symptoms, additional testing will be conducted to determine if your dog has an infectious disease or systemic problem.
Prevention of Dripping Saliva
Providing your dog with a well-rounded diet that meets her nutritional needs and ensuring that she gets enough exercise are key in maintaining your dog’s overall health. Regular check-ups are helpful to ensure that any potential problems that can cause your dog to salivate excessively are caught early so that treatment can begin.
In order to minimize the opportunity for items to become lodged in your dog’s throat, it can help to keep her on her leash when visiting areas that are outside of your home. This will make it easier to notice when she is chewing on or attempting to ingest, something that can lead to problems.
Cost of Dripping Saliva
The cost of your dog salivating excessively will be dependent upon the reason for it occurring. On average, the cost for the condition is $500. In cases where the cause of the increased saliva is due to emotions, or an item lodged in her mouth, the cost may be minimal. On the other hand, should your dog be experiencing a more severe condition like kidney failure, the average cost is $2500, depending upon the area where treatment is received.