Why Does My Dog Drool?

Today’s article was contributed by writer and Labrador enthusiast, Lucy Easton

We all know that dog drool is a part of the package deal that we receive as owners.

However, some dogs drool a lot more than others.

This can vary a lot between breeds, and is a commonly accepted fact. So how come some Labradors drool so much more than others?

The Breed Factor

The main offenders in the dog world are those who have been bred to have loose, jowly faces.

Think of Beethoven the St. Bernard’s, in the classic nineties film.

The movie delights in showing a slow motion view of it flick around his face.

Fortunately, Labradors do not in general have a big problem with this.

Most likely due to the tighter construction of their mouths and facial features.

So, if your Labrador is a big dribbling offender, what are the causes?

Mouth Problems

Suddenly noticing excessive drool is a warning sign.

If your normally fairly dry-mouthed pup is drooling more than usual, the first thing to do is take him to your vet for a check up.

This is because potential reasons for his extra saliva could range from gum or tooth problems, to having a foreign object in his jaw.

Nausea is often another common cause of drooling in unwell dogs.

Your vet will be able to check your pet over thoroughly, and let you know whether any of these are the cause.

An Ongoing Issue

If your vet is happy your pet is not unwell, then it is worth looking for other possible causes of his excessive drooling. This slippery little problem might not be something you have to continue to live with.

Saliva is of course a natural part of your dog’s digestive system. It helps him to break down his food, containing useful enzymes which he needs.

Swallowing saliva is a voluntary activity for your dog. In order to swallow it, he needs to make a conscious effort to do so.

If he is eating his dinner, this will of course happen when he gulps up his food. But if food is not forthcoming, it may dangle in those all too familiar strings at the sides of his mouth.

Over Excitement

Try and make a note of when it is happening, and what the circumstances are. Perhaps it is when you go for a walk or shortly before his dinner is due?

If there is a correlation between an activity your dog finds fun and the amount of drool you are seeing, this could be because they are related.

When your dog is over-excited, he is focussed on something. This could be on galloping around the park, or on the expectation of food.

The Problem with Sharing

Treats used as a reward to mark good behaviour are a very useful tool.

But do you treat your dog at random intervals, simply because you want to?

The main drooling offender that I know, shows us clearly the reason behind his hanging saliva chains. Food.

Every time his owners have a meal or snack, they hand a piece to their dog.

This means that whenever he sees them with food, he expects to receive some.  He produces saliva, which he then does not swallow because his attention is rapt on the prospect that he might get to share their meal.

Removing the Trigger

The best way to prevent this drooling habit, is to stop connecting the two events. If you never feed your dog from your plate, he will stop expecting to receive food from it.

It’s that simple.

He won’t be in a constant state of hysteria, over excited by the prospect of feeding. He will therefore produce less saliva, and leave less of it hanging out of his mouth for the world to see.

Not only will you hopefully reduce the drooling problem, but you will help your Labradors health as way.  A good diet is more of a gift to your dog than he would have you think.

If you have any concerns over excessive drooling or other potentially health related issues with your Labrador, consult your vet as soon as possible. 

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Pippa Mattinson

The Labrador Site is brought to you by Pippa Mattinson. Pippa's latest book The Happy Puppy Handbook is a definitive guide to early puppy care and training

by Lucy on December 27, 2012

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