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Dog drooling: harmless mess or something serious?

What to look out for and excessive drooling in dogs

Mastiffs, St Bernards, and Bloodhounds – they’re all beautiful, but what do they have in common? They make a bit more mess than other breeds!

Having a loose upper lip means that some dogs need the occasional mop-up or bib for excess dribble.

We know all dogs make a mess every now and then. Most of the time, for dogs of every shape and size, drooling is totally normal and healthy!

But excessive drooling in dogs can be a sign something isn’t quite right, and your furry friend might need some help.  Fear or nervousness, heatstroke, or sometimes more serious dental and oral problems can cause a pup to drool more than usual.

To help you understand what’s behind those doggy dribbles, we break down some common problems that cause dog drooling, and what can be done to help your dog showing these symptoms.

Why is my dog drooling?

Coping in the summer

One cause of increased drooling is heatstroke. This is very common in the hot summer months, and can be very dangerous for your dog.

Dogs only have sweat glands in their feet, and this often is not enough to keep them cool. Heavy panting in the heat means your dog may drool more than usual!

To reduce the risk of heatstroke during the summer, ensure your pup always has cool water, shade, and avoid going for walks during the day!

If your dog is showing symptoms of heatstroke (struggling to breathe, panting and drooling excessively, or is unresponsive) call your vet who will tell you what to do.

Usually they will advise you hose puppy down, or cover them with a wet towel until you are able to get them to the clinic.

Motion sickness and anxiety

Cars can be pretty scary for puppies or dogs unused to travel! Dogs that are unused to long car journeys can experience car sickness, just like people. Your might see your dog drooling, panting heavily, or even vomiting.

How do we ease their fears? With practice!

To get them used to routine car rides, you can practice putting your dog in the car in a harness without going anywhere. Once they become more comfortable, you can slowly start driving longer distances.

Establishing a routine will help with their anxiety, but if motion sickness continues you may have to consult your vet about medication or anti-nausea tablets.

Ensure your dog has plenty of water and fresh air in the car!

Foreign objects, gum disease, and dental problems

We know our dogs explore the world with their mouths, often picking up anything and everything they can find! Sometimes these niggly objects, like Lego or small bones, can get lodged in your dog’s mouth and cause increased drooling.

You can try to check and remove these yourself, inspecting their gums and tongue for splinters or small objects.

Visible obstructions can be removed simply if they are not lodged or cutting into your dog’s mouth. If you have difficulty with this, see your local vet.

If your dog’s drooling and their teeth are browning, or their gums are red and swollen, they may be suffering from tartar buildup and gum disease.

A very noticeable symptom of this is very bad breath! Your vet can diagnose and recommend products to help clean your dog’s mouth and soothe any ulcers or cuts.

Health issues

Sometimes more serious problems such as poisoning and liver or kidney disease can cause excessive drooling in dogs. If you notice these symptoms and changes to your dog’s behaviour you should always see your vet to rule out any serious conditions:

Refusing or avoiding food
Decreased desire to play
Barking more or less than usual
Pacing or difficulty sleeping
Constant grooming or worrying at themselves

What to do

Try to give your dog a daily check-up. Play-time and cuddles are the perfect opportunity to check your dog’s condition!

Keep an eye on their behaviour and habits so that you notice if anything changes.  Are they still enjoying their favourite games and toys? Are they wagging their tail and grinning at you? Are they alert and sociable?

Spending quality time with your furry friend every day makes them super happy, but also means you will notice immediately if something is wrong and tackle the problem as soon as possible!

Here at Nose to Tail, we stock a large range of dog toys to make quality time even more fun. Pop in store to see our range, or call us call on 09 488 2227 to book a groom!


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