Why Do Dogs Drool?

happy english bulldog drooling while sitting outside

Our dogs do weird things sometimes. Their behavior can make us laugh, confuse us, worry us, and more. Regardless of what weird things your dog is doing, there is probably a reason for it, even if it’s just drooling. Why do dogs drool? Here are a few reasons:

1. Your Dog May be Prone to Drooling

Some dog breeds are known for drooling more than others. It’s usually not a cause for concern as the drool is caused by the extra skin some dog breeds usually have around their mouth. Saint Bernards, Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, and more all tend to have more room around their jowls, which also means more drool. If you have one of these drool-prone breeds, it’s generally a good idea to have a cloth or “drool rag” around to help keep up with it.

2. Your Dog Might Drool When They Are Excited

When your dog is excited about something, they may drool. This is particularly common when it comes to impending food or the thought of something delicious. Your dog may drool in anticipation of a treat or because they’ve smelled something delicious you are cooking and are hoping you will share. It’s generally better not to share your food with your dog as there are many harmful foods you should keep away from them. But, if it’s a food that is safe for your dog and you want share with them, a little drool is normal.

3. Some Drool Can Happen When Your Dog is Panting

Dogs pant to help regulate their body temperature and cool down. Since your dog’s mouth is open when they’re panting, you may see some drooling happen as a side effect. If your dog doesn’t normally drool and they start to drool a lot, even while panting, it’s important to visit the vet as excessive drooling is a common symptom for underlying health issues. It’s also important to know the signs of heat stroke. A dog who is close to, or experiencing, heat stroke will be panting heavily and may also drool excessively because of it.

4. Drool Can Also Happen When Your Dog is Stressed or Anxious

When your dog is stressed out or anxious, they may also drool. If your dog is experiencing stress or anxiety, it’s important to try and figure out the source and try to help. Some things, like separation anxiety, will take time and training to overcome.

A little drool when your dog is stressed is normal, a lot can be cause for concern. The potential exception to this is a dog that is prone to drooling due to droopy jowls. But, even if your dog is prone to drooling, seeing them drool more than what is normal for them can be a cause for concern and is worth a trip to the vet.

5. Drooling Can be Caused by Medical Issues

Excessive drooling is a common symptom for a lot of medical issues, which is why it’s important to visit the vet if your dog starts drooling a lot. Drooling is often a side effect of medical issues dealing with the mouth, throat, and stomach.

Mouth and Throat Issues

Dental diseases like gum disease, tooth decay, or tooth loss can also lead to drooling. Knowing how to implement good dental care for dogs can help prevent these dental diseases and should be a regular part of caring for your pup.

If your dog has allergies or has a nose, sinus, or throat infection, they may drool more. Drooling can also be a sign of a choking hazard. If your dog can’t swallow appropriately, they will start to drool heavily because there is nowhere for that saliva to go.

Stomach Issues

Anytime your dog has an upset stomach, they will likely be drooling. They could be experiencing nausea or motion sickness or the drooling could be a result of them ingesting something they shouldn’t have or something just isn’t sitting well. Nausea treatments or desensitization to car rides can help reduce the chance your dog will get motion sickness in the car. Drooling outside of the car can be from a simple stomachache or something more serious.

Your dog may have ingested something poisonous or toxic, which is usually accompanied by drooling and also other symptoms like vomiting, shaking, and more. If a dog is experiencing gastric torsion, or bloat, they will often be drooling because they can’t swallow. Bloat in dogs is a serious situation and can be life-threatening, so you want to make sure you get to the vet as soon as possible.

When it comes to drooling, it all depends on what’s normal for your dog. Dog breeds with larger, looser jowls will naturally drool more than other dog breeds. Even if your dog doesn’t normally drool, they may start to dribble a little in certain situations. Most of the time, a little drool is nothing to worry about. However, if drooling becomes excessive or is abnormal for your dog, it’s time to high-tail it to the vet.