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Excessive Drooling in Dogs

Excessive drooling in dogs can sometimes be a cause for concern, especially if it’s a sudden change in their normal behavior. While some drooling is typical for many pups, an increase in drooling could indicate an underlying issue.

There are various reasons why a dog might start drooling excessively. It’s essential to be aware of these potential causes and know when it’s time to consult a veterinarian for assistance.

Why Do Dogs Drool?

Dogs drool primarily as a natural response to food consumption. Saliva is produced by the salivary glands located in their neck and jaw region to aid in the digestion process. Drooling occurs when this saliva escapes from the mouth, which can be triggered by various stimuli such as the sight of food or the opening of a can or bag of dog food.

While drooling is a normal occurrence for most dog breeds, certain breeds with large upper lips, like Mastiffs and St. Bernards, tend to drool more than others.

Why Is My Dog Drooling a Lot?

Excessive drooling in dogs can stem from various underlying causes. Some common reasons for increased drooling include:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders: Conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract, such as esophagitis, gastritis, enteritis, pancreatitis, foreign body obstruction, gastric ulceration, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastrointestinal cancers, can induce drooling in dogs, often due to associated nausea.
  • Gum (periodontal) disease or oral issues: Drooling may result from periodontal diseases like gingivitis or stomatitis, as well as other oral problems such as sialocele, tumors, or infections. Keep an eye out for additional symptoms such as masses, bleeding, pus, or halitosis.
  • Mouth injury: Trauma from blunt force, chewing on sharp objects, or the presence of foreign materials like splinters or bone fragments lodged in the mouth can lead to excessive drooling.
  • Chemical or electrical burns: Exposure to caustic chemicals like battery acid or electrical burns, such as from chewing on cords, can cause bleeding and drooling. These injuries typically manifest with pain, lesions, and pawing at the mouth, necessitating immediate veterinary attention.
  • Toxins and venoms: Ingesting poisonous plants, foods, or drugs can trigger drooling, along with potentially severe symptoms. Venomous animal bites or secretions, like those from black widow spiders or toads, may also induce drooling.
  • Anxiety: Excessive salivation might occur due to anxiety provoked by events like vet visits, relocation, or car rides. Additional signs may include restlessness, panting, or diarrhea.
  • Abdominal pain: Drooling accompanied by signs such as restlessness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or abdominal distention may indicate underlying abdominal discomfort.
  • Neurological conditions: Damage to nerves controlling salivary glands or neurological disorders affecting the brain may lead to drooling, alongside symptoms like unequal pupils, lethargy, and weakness.
  • Viral or bacterial infections: Diseases like rabies or tetanus can cause excessive drooling in dogs.
  • Congenital defects: Certain congenital abnormalities, such as hiatal hernias or portosystemic shunts, present at birth can contribute to excessive drooling in dogs.

Is Excessive Drooling in Dogs an Emergency?

Excessive drooling in dogs can sometimes indicate a medical emergency, especially when accompanied by other symptoms. It’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary assistance if your dog exhibits any of the following signs:

  • Vomiting or regurgitation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Loss of appetite or changes in eating behavior
  • Behavioral changes such as aggression or increased whining, suggestive of pain
  • Dizziness, head-tilting, or difficulties with balance
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Uneven pupils
  • Restlessness or excessive panting
  • Abdominal distention
  • Pawing at the mouth

Prompt veterinary care is necessary to address any underlying issues causing these symptoms and ensure the well-being of your dog.


To diagnose excessive drooling in dogs, veterinarians typically conduct a thorough physical examination, focusing on the mouth and neck area. They will also gather a comprehensive medical history, including details about vaccinations, medications, potential exposure to toxins, and any ingestion of foreign objects by the dog.

Based on the suspected cause, your veterinarian may suggest specific diagnostic tests. These may include blood tests and X-rays to assess the underlying condition. In more severe cases, your vet might refer you to a specialized referral facility for advanced diagnostics such as CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasound imaging, or even endoscopic or surgical biopsies to obtain a precise diagnosis.


Treatment for excessive drooling in dogs varies depending on the underlying cause and may include:

  • Dental treatment: If periodontal disease is the culprit, your veterinarian may recommend dental cleaning or tooth extraction.
  • Medication: Antibiotics may be prescribed if the excessive drooling is caused by a bacterial infection.
  • Surgery: In cases of trauma, tumors, or congenital defects, surgical intervention may be necessary.
  • Radiation or chemotherapy: These treatments might be considered for addressing tumors.
  • Pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs: These medications can help alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation associated with certain conditions.
  • Medicated mouthwash: Your veterinarian may suggest using a medicated mouthwash containing diluted chlorhexidine or benzoyl peroxide to help manage oral issues contributing to drooling.

Each treatment approach is tailored to address the specific cause of excessive drooling in individual dogs, aiming to improve their quality of life and alleviate discomfort.


Preventing excessive drooling in dogs largely depends on addressing the underlying causes, but there are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Prevent gastrointestinal upset and ingestion of foreign objects by being cautious and vigilant. Keep harmful food and non-food items out of your dog’s reach.
  • When changing your dog’s diet, make the transition gradually, moving from the old food to the new one slowly.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene for your dog to prevent dental issues that could lead to drooling. Regular brushing of your pet’s teeth is beneficial, but if your dog dislikes brushing, consider alternative options such as dental wipes, powders, or water additives to promote oral health.

By following these preventive measures, you can help minimize the risk of excessive drooling in your furry friend and maintain their overall well-being.

Excessive Drooling in Dogs FAQs

Can dogs drool due to an upset stomach?

Yes, dogs often drool as a sign of nausea or an upset stomach. This might be accompanied by symptoms like loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea. If your dog shows these signs, it’s advisable to contact your veterinarian for further assessment and potential treatment.

Should I be concerned if my dog is drooling?

While drooling is normal for many dogs, excessive or sudden drooling could indicate an underlying medical issue such as dental problems or gastrointestinal distress. Consulting with a veterinarian can help identify the cause and determine if any further tests or treatments are necessary.

Do dogs tend to drool more as they age?

Typically, dogs don’t drool more as they age. Increased drooling in older dogs could signal dental issues or oral tumors. If you notice a significant increase in drooling in your aging dog, it’s advisable to schedule a vet visit to investigate the cause.

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