Why does my dog drool?

While we may associate drooling with a hungry dog eyeing up a big bowl full of tasty food, excess salivation is not something we would expect to see in a healthy dog. Some breeds are certainly more prone to drooling than others (such as the Saint Bernard and Rottweiler), but if we notice them drooling more than normal, alarm bells should start ringing.

What can cause increased drooling?

Potential considerations would include:

  • Dental disease (which can include gingivitis, a build-up of calculus on the teeth, a fractured tooth and rotten teeth).
  • An oral mass. This could be a cancerous tumour or a benign growth such as a gum epulis or wart.
  • A foreign body such as a piece of wood or plastic lodged in the roof of the mouth or between teeth.
  • Nausea. Feeling sick can make a dog drool and this is typically accompanied by vomiting and a reduced appetite.
  • Toxin ingestion can cause a sudden and marked increase in drooling. Depending on what has been ingested, we might also see wobbly walking, dilated pupils and vomiting.
  • Oral ulcers. Whether caused by a dog having eaten something they shouldn’t have or a disease such as kidney failure, mouth ulcers can make a dog drool quite a lot.

What are the signs of dental disease other than drooling?

Most owners assume that a dog with diseased teeth will stop eating. However, this is rarely the case. In fact, for a dog to go off their food completely would be almost unheard of. Instead, most dogs plod along despite the great deal of discomfort they are likely in. Certainly, their appetite may dip and we might notice they opt for soft rather than crunchy food.



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