Pet Health Questions and Answers

What Are the Causes of Excessive Salivation in Dogs?

It’s perfectly normal for dogs to drool. In fact, most people expect it to happen. Some dogs drool more than others, and that’s perfectly normal. But, when does drooling ‘cross the line’ into dangerous territory? What are the causes of excessive salivation in dogs?

The toughest thing to determine is how much is too much? Most of us are used to the idea that dogs salivate, so a lot of saliva doesn’t send a warning to us, as pet owners.

With that in mind, it’s important to know the symptoms of excessive drooling in dogs. A little saliva is normal – a lot is not. Let’s dive into the most symptoms, as well as the causes of excess salivation, and finally, what you can do to help treat it.

Table of Contents:

Things You Should Know About Excessive Salivation in Dogs

It is known as ptyalism, by veterinarians. This occurs when your dog is producing so much saliva, they can’t swallow it all. Know that salivation, in general, is perfectly normal for a dog. Whether they’re excited or see a tasty morsel in front of them, it’s not uncommon to see some drool coming from your dog’s mouth. It’s actually a necessary function of health and digestion. Saliva helps to lubricate your dog’s mouth and throat. That can assist in breaking down food for them, and it also fights against tooth decay.

Too much saliva, however, is not normal. Sometimes, the reason behind the excess liquid is something to do with the mouth itself. Other times, it can be a more serious internal issue. First and foremost, you should know what to look for. The following symptoms should be fairly easy to catch if you keep an eye on your dog’s overall behaviors and actions.

Ptyalism Symptoms

  • Your dog seems to be drooling more than normal.
  • Other health issues come with excessive drooling (vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Strange saliva consistency (usually white, foaming, etc.)
  • Behavioral issues or sudden changes.
  • Swelling or inflammation around your dog’s mouth.

Sometimes, your dog will even refuse to eat if they’re drooling too much. That’s actually one of the first signs to look for. Most dogs are all too eager to go after their dinner once you pour it into their bowl. If your dog is usually excited and happy to get a meal, but suddenly won’t touch it, that’s a first indication that the drooling has become a problem.

Things That Cause Dogs to Drool Profusely

There are two main reasons behind too much saliva production in dogs: Either their glands are producing excess saliva, or they aren’t able to swallow a normal amount of saliva. This makes it seem like a lot of ‘drool.’ In reality, it might be a normal amount, but it’s typically swallowed, not leaking out of their mouths.

As far as individual causes, there’s a huge list of possibilities. Let’s cover some of the most common reasons dogs can have too much drool.

Issues with the mouth

Obviously, it’s not uncommon for drooling issues to start with the mouth. The problems here can come from a multitude of different things. For instance, your dog may accidentally bite down or eat a foreign object that becomes lodged in their mouth. They may also have an injury inside the mouth, causing extra inflammation. Swollen tonsils or problems with their salivary glands are also common issues that can cause excessive drooling.

Emotions & Feelings

Believe it or not, dogs can react quite physically to changes in emotions. If they are stimulated enough, they’ll drool. Too much stimulation can cause an over-production of saliva. This is especially true in traumatic or harmful situations that they can’t easily let go of. Examples include:

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dog drooling excessively from one side of mouth

Medical Issues

Everything from seizures and tumors, to kidney problems and rabies, can cause too much saliva to form around your dog’s mouth. If none of the other possible causes seem probable, you may want to take your dog to a vet to rule out any type of internal issue.

Medicines & Poisons

If your dog already is on some type of medication, they can actually have a negative reaction to it. Allergic reactions to medications can cause a lot of salivating. Additionally, it’s possible that your dog could have gotten into some kind of foreign substance that is poisonous to them. If either of these causes could be the culprit, it’s imperative to get them medical attention immediately.

Some dogs are more sensitive to these causes than others. Sometimes, something as simple as motion sickness can cause a dog to excessively drooling. So, even the smallest actions or changes can affect your four-legged friend in big ways. The best thing you can do is to keep an eye on their behaviors and narrow down what may be causing the extra saliva.

What Are the Treatment Options?

The best thing you can do until your dog can see a vet is to keep their mouth as dry as possible. This may require consistent wiping of the mouth. It can also help to wipe their mouth off with a safe antiseptic, to prevent inflammation or infection.

Once your dog is able to see a vet, they will likely prescribe some type of anti-inflammatory medication. In rare instances, the saliva glands will need to be removed. This is, of course, only if your dog doesn’t have any underlying medical conditions. Those potential conditions will need to be treated, first and foremost.

As you can see, there are plenty of different causes of excessive salivation in dogs. The good news? Most dogs can make a full recovery from the problem. Once you know the problem, take the proper steps toward managing your dog’s excessive drooling. The next time your dog starts to drool, keep an eye on just how much saliva they’re producing. It’s a good indicator of multiple health issues.