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It is a fact of life for dog owners that dogs drool. But what does it mean if your dog is suddenly drooling more than usual? Or if that drool is mostly coming out from one side of the mouth?
There can be lots of causes for increases or changes in the way your dog drools; read on to discover the most common causes, and what you should do.
SPOILER ALERT! If your dog is drooling excessively, but only from one side of their mouth, it is likely to be a local issue, such as a dental problem or a foreign body caught in one side of the mouth. But, it can also be a sign of something more serious.
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How Much Drool Is Normal For Dogs?
All dogs drool to a certain extent. Drool, known medically as ptyalism, occurs when an excessive amount of saliva builds up in the mouth and needs to flow out.
This is exactly the same as what happens with you when you fall asleep with your mouth open. The airflow causes you to produce more saliva, and when you wake up, it flows right out.
Think back to your school days, falling asleep on your desk with drool flowing out of your open mouth. Reminds me of the classroom scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
So, drooling is completely normal for dogs, but in what quantities? There are certain breeds that will drool more than others; these are Bloodhounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bulldogs, and Saint Bernards.
This is because the form of their mouth means it cannot contain the amount of drool their bodies naturally produce. This is not an issue to cause any medical concern. But the parents of these breeds will need to have a towel on hand to wipe up drool regularly.
If you aren’t up for this, then investigate the drool level of your breed before adopting a dog into your family.
Labrador owners can rest easy that Labradors are not among the breeds that suffer from excessive drooling, but this does mean if your Lab does start to drool, it needs to be investigated.
Causes Of Drooling
There are many reasons why your dog might start drooling more than usual, and while some are mundane, others are concerning, it can also be a sign of serious health issues.
Just like humans, dogs can salivate excessively when something really tasty is waved in front of their noses. So, if you choose to eat a particularly delicious steak dinner in front of your dog, you have no one to blame but yourself if you need to clean up a small puddle of drool.
A dog might also drool if they get a disagreeable taste in their mouth as a natural reaction to try and wash the taste away. You might expect this if you hide some bad tasting medicine in their normal food.
We’ve also seen dogs start drooling if they accidentally get a hold of spicy foods. I recall Derby grabbing a small piece of jalapeno off the floor. Needless to say I think he thought twice before eating food off the floor after that experience.
Dogs that get motion sickness, for example in the car, might start to drool as a result of nausea. This should pass pretty quickly once they are out of the car.
When Linus was a puppy he’d get nauseous, start drooling and vomit every morning when I drove him to my parents on the days I had to go to school. After 2 weeks of constant car cleanup he suddenly stopped. Nothing really changed, I think he just got used to riding in the care.
If your dog needs to travel a lot and he gets motion sickness, you should talk to your vet about anti-nausea medicine.
Any problems inside the mouth can also cause your dog to drool, as they produce more saliva in response to the problem. This could be tartar build-up or a fractured tooth.
It could be a foreign object lodged somewhere that it shouldn’t be. It could also be cysts or tumors inside the mouth.
Mouth issues are often the culprit when your dog starts dripping saliva from only one side of their mouth. If the drooling has already begun, it is time to visit the doggy dentist. In general, good dental care and checking your dog’s mouth regularly should keep this issue in check.
Bites And Stings
“BEES! BEES! They’re everywhere!” – Chris Farley, Tommy Boy
One issue we ran into with both Adelle and Raven was they got stung by a bee in their mouth. This is more common than you might think and one of the reasons why we teach our service dog puppies not to catch flying insects with their mouths.
PRO TIP: If your dog suddenly starts drooling from one side of his mouth (or both sides for that matter) for no apparent reason then there’s a good chance he was stung by a bee, spider or other insect. With Adelle we noticed immediate swelling. On the other hand, Raven did not swell, but she was drooling from one side of her mouth. If this happens you’ll want to get your dog over to the vet immediately.
Your dog might also start to drool more if they develop digesting issues. This could be problems swallowing due to issues in their throat or esophagus. But it can also be a reaction further down the digestive chain caused by your dog trying to digest something they are sensitive to or something toxic.
Even if you know your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t, it is a good idea to contact your vet as they can let you know how bad the potential consequences can be and provide additional treatment.
Drooling is also a symptom that can be linked to a number of serious illnesses, including seizures, neuromuscular conditions, kidney disease, liver disease, and rabies.
These conditions are usually accompanied by other symptoms, so you will have other clues to help you and your vet identify exactly what is wrong with your dog.
Drooling Out Of One Side Of The Mouth
If your dog’s drool is limited to one side of the mouth, it can be a sign that you are dealing with a localized problem, so you should check their teeth and mouth first for any issues. Read more about how to clean your dog’s teeth and why it is important.
If brushing or giving your dog a tooth cleaning treat does not resolve the issue, then you are probably due a trip to the doggy dentist, as the issue is probably more deeply set and may require an extraction.
What To Do About Drooling
If your dog starts and continues to drool excessively for more than a few hours, then it is time to consult your vet. They can work with you to identify the underlying issue causing the problem. Solving this underlying issue will both stop the drooling and ensure your pooch’s long-term health.
FAQs About Dog Drool
What Causes Drooling On One Side Of The Mouth?
There are a wide variety of different things that can cause your dog to start drooling more than usual.
If the problem is localized to one side of the mouth, it could be that the issue is also local, so investigate tartar build-up, cavities, and foreign objects lodged in the mouth first. If you can’t find the source of the problem here, it is time to visit the vet.
How Do I Fix My Dog’s Drooling?
If your dog suddenly starts drooling more than usual, you will need to discover the source of the problem in order to eliminate the drool.
If the drooling is a one-off, it can be a response to smelling something really good or a bad taste in the mouth. If the drooling is continuous but localized to one area of the mouth, look for dental and mouth issues in that specific area.
If their drooling is more general and continuous, it is time to consult your vet as it can be linked with several different issues.
Is Dog Drooling A Sign Of Pain?
Excessive and unusual drooling can be a sign that your dog is in pain, especially if they are suffering from a toothache, stomach pains, or nausea. If your dog does start drooling in this manner, it is generally a sign there is something wrong and you should consult your vet.
Why Would A Dog Suddenly Start Drooling Excessively?
There are a variety of reasons why a dog not prone to drooling might start drooling excessively.
It can be a sign of problems in the mouth such as dental issues or digestive problems caused by an obstruction or toxin, or nausea, or a number of more serious medical conditions.
As we mentioned earlier two of our dogs have suffered bee stings which caused sudden and excessive drooling.
If the problem lasts for more than a few hours, you should contact your vet to identify the problem.
Is Dog Drooling A Sign Of A Stroke?
Excessive drooling is not a symptom that is usually associated with stroke. But it is associated with a number of other serious medical conditions. If your dog does suddenly start drooling more than usual, it is a good idea to contact your vet.
Excessive drooling can also be a sign of heatstroke in dogs, though it will probably be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms that will help you identify this particular issue. Other symptoms include loss of balance, wandering in circles, strange eye movements, lethargy or fainting, and loss of body control.
While it can be quite unpleasant, doggy drooling is a normal part of life. Some breeds drool more than others, so bear this in mind when choosing your dog if you aren’t keen on constantly cleaning up drool. Luckily, most Labradors don’t drool too much!
But, if your dog suddenly starts drooling more than usual, this is a sign for concern, as it can be an indicator of a number of serious medical issues. You should contact your vet to get to the bottom of the problem as soon as possible.
If your dog’s new and excessive drooling is limited to one side of the mouth, you might want to check for a local problem first.
This could be excess tartar build-up, a cavity, or a foreign object lodged in the mouth near where the drool is coming from. If you can’t find the issue here, again, it is time to talk to your vet.
Do you have any experience dealing with a pup that suddenly started to drool excessively?
Share your story with the community in the comments below.
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