Please do not use in the place of a veterinarian's diagnosis
Dog saliva or drool is often clear or watery in color, but can be white, depending on the individual dog. Dogs drool excessively for three main reasons – they are from a breed prone to drooling; they are anticipating food or they are sick. If you see your dog drooling and he is not staring at food or from a drool-prone breed, then your dog may be sick. Check the dog immediately for other signs of illness, such as loss of appetite, fever or vomiting.
Dog Breeds Prone to Drool
Dog breeds prone to drool excessively or slobber are usually large breeds with wrinkles around the faces. They drool constantly in order to help them catch and hold onto a scent. These dogs cannot stop drooling. They will even drool in their sleep. Owners learn to carry around a rag used to wipe off the mouths.
The bloodhound is a notorious drooler. Although now a rare breed, bloodhounds can wind up in animal rescues because their owners did not realize how much their new dogs would drool.
Other drooling dog breeds include the St. Bernard, the Dogue de Bourdeaux, the Great Pyrenees, the Great Dane, the bullmastiff, the English mastiff, the Neapolitan mastiff, the
and the Kuvasz. Other breeds that drool
a lot depending on the individual include the Bassett hound, the boxer, the
bulldog and the French bulldog.
Excessive drooling is a common symptom of bloat or gastric dilation – a potentially lethal digestive disorder similar to colic in horses. Dogs prone to bloat have wide chests and narrow waists, including boxers, Great Danes, German shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Akitas, Irish setters, Standard poodles and golden retrievers.
Other symptoms include retching without bringing up any food, restlessness, panting, whining, pacing, low grade fever, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. Symptoms begin within one hour of eating. The dog must immediately be taken to a vet or she could die in as little as 6 hours.
Excessive drooling or slobbering is a common symptom of nausea. My dog, Pony, licks her lips after she starts drooling and right before she throws up or begins to dry heave. Pony suffers from bilious vomiting syndrome. But once she starts licking her lips, she is immediately taken outside to vomit or expel bile.
Dogs become nauseated for a variety of reasons, from common motion sickness to poisoning. Common poisons for dogs include chocolate, over the counter human medications, car lubricants and pesticides. Call a vet if the drooling is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, coordination problems or constant vomiting.
Has the dog recently started a new medication? Excessive drooling can be a side effect. Call the vet to be sure that the dosage does not need to be reduced or that our dog is not suffering from an overdose.
The stereotypical scene of a rabid dog is the wild-eyed, slobber-plastered St. Bernard in the horror movie Cujo (1983). But not all dogs that are covered in white or clear slobber along their necks and chests have rabies.
Dogs with mouth sores or periodontal disease will drool as a means to cope with the pain. Has the dog recently been in a scrap with another animal? Dogs use their mouths to protect themselves. This means the mouths will bear the brunt of attacks from another. The dog needs his mouth checked by a vet in order to help clear up these problems.
Cysts or tumors of the salivary glands can also cause excessive drooling or slobbering in dogs. Contents of cysts may leak into the dog’s mouth and then drip out of the mouth. Cysts need to be drained and in some instances need to be surgically removed.
ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs. Sheldon L. Gerstenfeld, VMD. Chronicle Books; 1999.
The Howell Book of Dogs. Liz Palika. Howell Book House; 2007.
Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook. Debra M. Eldredge, DVM. Howell Book House; 2007.
Author’s personal experience.