Excessive Drooling in Dogs - What it Means

Excessive Drooling in Dogs - What it Means

Author WDF Staff


All dogs drool; that is just part of the package. Some breeds are more prone to it than others, but all dogs will drool at one point or another. The key thing is to realize when it is time to be concerned about it. Excessive drooling in dogs can have different meanings, and some reasons can point to specific health issues. As dog owners, we should know to spot those differences and make sure our dogs remain in the best health possible. Here is what you should know about excessive drooling in dogs.

Normal drooling

Many dog breeds can seem like drooling machines. Their mouths cannot contain all the saliva they produce. Drooling has a scientific name - ptyalism, and it is common in breeds with a lot of skin on their muzzles. The most famous “droolers” are breeds like;

Of course, these are not all of the droolers, but these large dogs are known for their excessive drooling. However, excessive drooling in these breeds is normal. They produce a lot of salivae, especially before and after eating and drinking. This is entirely normal, and those of us that share our home with these breeds are very well aware of the value a drool rag has. Most of these dog owners wipe their dog’s drool on the regular. The key is to wipe it before it hits the floor or your sofa. It is probably a good idea to get these dogs a bandana or a handkerchief tied around their necks.

This type of drooling is not an issue, and there is no reason you should alert your vet about it. Keep in mind that saliva holds a special role in digestion. It is the first thing that starts digesting food, and simply thinking about getting food can cause your dog to start drooling. Another reason for a normal drooling reaction is a disagreeable taste of medications. When dogs take oral medication whose taste they don’t like, you should anticipate the river of drool.

dog drools

There are other reasons for excessive drooling in dogs, and they are not that expected. We should know how to spot issues with excessive drooling and what it could mean. Here are some of the most common reasons dogs will start drooling excessively.

Stomach issues

If your dog ate something that is disagreeing with their stomach, they would start drooling excessively. Inedible objects will cause a stomach upset, and the dog’s body reaction to that will be excessive drooling.


If your dog ate something toxic, one of the first symptoms would be excessive drooling. If you notice your dog drooling for no apparent reason, check for signs of poisoning. They might have eaten a poisonous plant or cleaning supplies you keep under the sink. Their natural reaction will be drooling, so make sure your dog hasn’t eaten anything potentially dangerous. If you notice something like that happened, call your vet immediately and let them know what’s going on.


One of the most common reasons dogs drool excessively is carsickness. The dog will feel a lot of discomfort and nausea, and their natural reaction would be to drool. Another thing dogs do when they drool is they shake their heads violently, so be prepared to have strips of drool on the roof of your car and across your windows. Living with a dog is often messy, but it is not something we are not prepared to sacrifice. Luckily, as soon as the motion stops, your dog should stop drooling excessively.

Mouth issues

If something is bothering your dog in their mouths, that can lead to excessive drooling. That could be a cracked tooth, tumors, inflammations, gum disease, or foreign objects lodged in their mouths or throat. These things will cause the saliva to build up until it eventually drops from the dog’s mouth. If you notice something like that happening, make sure you notify your vet as soon as possible.

shar pei drools

Plaque or tartar buildup

Bad oral hygiene can lead to excessive drooling in dogs. Just like us, dogs need to have pretty decent oral hygiene. Their teeth and gums will end up decaying from tartar and plaque build-up, and their breath will be terrible. Make sure you implement proper dental hygiene in your dog’s schedule.

You can read more about the importance of dental hygiene here - Why is it important to clean your dog’s teeth.


Some of the warning signs of heatstroke are panting and excessive drooling. This is your dog’s attempt to cool themselves off. If your dog was running or exercising too much on a hot day, and you noticed your dog drooling, make sure they are properly cooled off. Give your dog plenty of water and get them in an air-conditioned area.


Some diseases and health conditions can cause excessive drooling in dogs. Things like bloat, kidney, liver issues, and even rabies will cause excessive drooling in dogs. Dogs that suffered a seizure will start drooling excessively, and sinus, throat, or nose infections can cause it. Botulism, tetany, and palsy (neuromuscular conditions) can cause excessive saliva production.

All of these issues should be taken seriously. If you notice your dog drolling excessively, make sure you contact your vet and get your dog an appointment. It is better to be safe than sorry.

World Dog Finder team

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