Dog drooling: dogs are natural droolers, simply put a juicy steak in front of a man’s best friend and very likely you will witness the best specimen of Pavlov’s theory. For those in the obscure, Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist and physician. He was attracted to studying the effects of classical conditioning and his furry friends were great examples.
What Pavlov used to do, was simply ring a bell (conditioned stimulus) and present food (unconditioned stimulus) to his dogs. After ward, the dogs were so conditioned, that the simple noise of the bell was sufficient to cause the dogs to salivate profusely (response) even without being exposed directly to food.
Causes of Dog Drooling
The most common cause of drooling in dogs is food. With their more than 200 million scent receptors, it is no wonder why dogs are so attracted to food. In many cases, all it takes to trigger profuse salivation is the simple noise of a dog food bag being opened or a trip to the fridge. If your dog does not visibly drool you may notice him lick his lips in order to keep the excessive salivation at bay.
Another cause of drooling in dogs is their conformation. Some dog breeds may have pendulous lips that make them particularly prone to slobber. Potential dog owners should do their homework well before deciding to adopt a Saint Bernard or a Boxer. Many owners were not aware of the extra baggage left by these breeds with miles of slobber left on their favorite couches and carpet.
However, other than drooling due to conformation or due to the sight and smell of food, drooling may present in dogs that have some form of health related problem. In this case, drooling is medically known as Ptyalism and the causes may be various.
Dogs that are nauseated will drool and lick their lips. Many will seek grass to get relief from an upset stomach. Often, within a few minutes, stomach contractions may be noticed followed by vomiting. After vomiting, the drooling should shortly subside if the vomiting episode is over, however, in more severe cases the drooling associated with nausea will continue and more vomiting episodes may take place. Dogs that are motion sick will also hyper-salivate thus, drool.
If you believe your dog is nauseous and starts vomiting see our Dog Upset Stomach section for remedies.
- Dental disease
Dogs with dental decay will salivate excessively. Often they may be reluctant to eat their dry kibble, accepting moist or canned foods readily. Some dogs may slow down eating or they may even start eating their kibble and then drop the food out of their mouth in a disorderly matter. It is estimated that most dogs over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease.
- Exposure to Toxins
If you dog is drooling and acting sickly do not hesitate to have him seen. Exposure to various toxins may cause excessive drooling. Always keep the poison control hotline number in reach. If you live in an area near toads you dog may have licked one and this may be causing hyper salivation. Particular attention needs addressed if you live whereBufo alvarius specimens thrive. These toads may cause poisoning upon being licked, with dogs exhibiting profuse drooling, trouble breathing and even heart arrhythmias, seizures, up to death if not treated. Owners must rinse the affected dog’s mouth at once and call the veterinarian.
- Foreign object
A foreign object may be stuck in the dog’s mouth. If you are able to, try to inspect the mouth, teeth and gums. If you feel uncomfortable in doing so, do not risk to be bit and rather have your vet examine his mouth and throat and to check for anything stuck in the mouth that causes drooling. Some dogs that drool a lot may have swollen salivary glands.
With the mandatory rabies vaccination protocols enforced, rabies has become a pretty rare disease. However, rabies is a disease that would cause drooling, but along with other symptoms such as fever, viciousness, seizures, coordination issues, voice changes, paralysis, coma and death. Some dogs may also drool when they are anxious, in pain or overly excited. If you own a drooling dog, you may keep your dog’s coat free of slobber by placing a trendy bandanna around your dog’s neck. This should also catch some slobber before it ends on your carpet. In any case, if your dog has always been a drooler no need to worry, but do not hesitate to contact the vet should your dog suddenly drool and act sickly or without any particular reason.
For further reading: Saliva Gland Infections in Dogs
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.