Thursday, April 5, 2012

Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Excessive Drooling

Dogs drool; there is no way around it. Some will drool more, some less, depending on the breed and other factors. (From our observation also on the gender—girl dogs don't drool! LOL. All boy dogs we have had drooled a lot. JD's waterworks could turn a desert into a lush garden!)

Drool

Saliva is a good thing.

Not necessarily all over your Sunday outfit, but it certainly has an important function in your dog's mouth. It is an enzyme-rich liquid that lubricates food and starts the digestive process. (That's why most of the waterworks, as in JD's case, get turned on in anticipation of a meal.) Saliva also contains some other cool stuff, such as antibacterial agents.

So what constitutes excessive drooling?

Excessive doesn't mean more than you'd like, but more than would be normal for your dog. This is always the key. A symptom is something that is abnormal for the individual/breed in question. Excessive drooling also goes by the name “ptyalism.”

If your dog starts drooling more than usual, do pay attention.

Quite often, excessive drooling is associated with a problem in the mouth.

Foreign objects: anything that got stuck in the gums, tongue, roof of the mouth, between the teeth, or in the esophagus. Use your best judgment whether you can remove it safely. When it doubt, always err on the side of caution and call your veterinarian..

Injuries: look for bleeding, wounds, ulcers, and other deviations from normal appearance.

Ingestion of a caustic material: red or discolored oral tissues and pain are typical.

Dental issues: periodontal disease, tooth abscesses, fractured teeth, and oral infections or inflammation can all lead to excessive drooling and also a lot of pain. These things are not to be played with.

Tumors: look for any lumps, bumps or any tissue that looks strange. These symptoms should definitely be taken seriously.

While foreign objects and injuries might be a judgment call, always see your veterinarian if you suspect dental disease or find any strange masses or pigmentation in your dog’s mouth. Warning signs of a potential emergency include pain, an inability to swallow, difficulty breathing, vomiting, lethargy, a foul odor from the mouth, weakness, extreme agitation, or profuse drooling that lasts for more than a few hours.

If you didn't find any problem in the mouth, you might not be out of the woods.

Excessive drooling might be a result of a problem not related to the mouth. Jasmine (I know I said that girl dogs don't drool) will drool when her stomach is upset. Nausea causes drooling, as can neurologic diseases that impair a dog’s ability to swallow.

Excessive drooling can be one of the signs of heat stroke, though in such case you're likely to get tipped off by excessive panting first. Do get familiar with the early symptoms of heat stroke; it is a life-threatening situation.

Dogs suffering from gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) also tend to drool a lot because the entrance to the stomach is twisted shut.  If your dog is drooling, trying to vomit but little or nothing comes up, has a distended abdomen, and is in pain, get him to the veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

Pain or anxiety of any origin can result in excessive drooling.

It is important to pay attention to your dog. Know what is normal.  Don't dismiss anything out of the ordinary. Symptoms usually like company, so look for other signs, such as bad breath, fever, changes in appetite, changes in behavior …

It's your dog's health,
Jana

Further reading:
Dog Drooling Excessively
My Dog is Drooling Excessively
Dog Drooling and Salivary Gland Problems

Related articles:
Symptoms: Recognition, Acknowledgement And Denial
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Excessive Panting
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Excessive Drinking
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Bad Odor

4 comments:

  1. My dog was consistently drooling and whining whenever he eat anything. When I looked in his mouth I didn't see anything so I took him to out animal hospital. The vet found a wood chip lodged deep between in his teeth. After getting it removed, he only drools when I bring out the dog treats!

    Sara Welsh | http://www.coolvet.com/

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    1. A very good call taking him to the vet! Glad it was just a foreign object and got fixed easily!

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  2. Our Lab has had 3 or 4 episodes of excessive drooling in the last month or so. By excessive, I mean there is a steady constant dripping where I have to keep wiping her because her neck gets soaked and she drips all over the floor. She's not usually much of a drooler unless there's food tempting her so this is not at all normal for her. I'm writing now because we just noticed that she's doing it again. She's been fine all day and we went for a walk a few hours ago. She was fine through the walk and was very playful when we got back. She's resting now but doesn't seem to be in any pain or distress. She's not whining or whimpering. I checked her mouth (I do every time) and don't find anything foreign. She always has her nose to the ground and she'll often chew on things she finds in the grass but she usually drops them after she checks them out. I'm thinking maybe she's been getting something in her mouth that caused some stomach upset and that's why she's drooling, since nothing seems to be wrong inside her mouth. Before she had the first episode about a month ago, she had never had this problem before and she's 5 years old. In the past, it has always happened around this time of day and by the next morning she's not drooling anymore. Any ideas? Is there something I can give her in case it is being caused by stomach upset? She hasn't vomited and never has the other time either. I just thought of something else. She sometimes pulls when we walk and today she was pulling a lot for the first (about) 10 minutes of our walk. Is it possible the strain on her throat from the pulling could cause the drooling? I can't remember if we'd walked right before the previous episodes. Thanks for any suggestions you might have.

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    1. Whether or not it consistently happens after walks is a good thing to know. If she isn't showing any other signs of digestive upset, though, I'd wonder whether it's an oral/dental problem. I'd have that checked, including x-rays and the whole shebang.

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