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.
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.
If you believe your dog is nauseous and starts vomiting see our Dog Upset Stomach section for remedies.
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.
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.
For further reading: Saliva Gland Infections in Dogs