Why Does My Dog Drool?


Does your Labrador seem to drool more than others you have met? Or has he recently started to drool a lot more?

Drool isn’t pleasant, and it’s understandable that you want to find out why he’s doing it. And hopefully prevent it from happening as much too!

It’s commonly accepted that for anatomical reasons drool can differ a lot between breeds. But some Labradors do drool a lot more than others within their breed. Or seem to start drooling excessively at certain points in their lives.

Let’s take a look at why this is, and what we can do to influence it.

Your Labrador’s Jowls

The main drooling 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. Although some do have a looser facial skin structure than others.

If your Labrador has quite pronounced jowls, his drool will be more likely to seep out in greater quantities than a tighter lipped cousin.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do about this. Other than keeping a towel handy to mop his face after he has a drink, or when he is getting excited in anticipation of a meal!

But what if your Labrador has quite closed lips and is still a big dribbling offender?  Or he suddenly starts to drool a lot more than he used to.

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.

Travel Sickness

If your vet is happy your pet is not unwell, then it is worth looking for other possible causes of his excessive drooling.

Some dogs don’t do well travelling in cars. They might be very happy to know that they are going for a walk, but the motion of the vehicle disagrees with them.

Not all dogs who get travel sick will vomit or mess in the car. It is common for a dog who doesn’t travel well to instead have a large amount of drool, sometimes with a frothy appearance, instead.

If you are worried that your Labrador is suffering from travel sickness, there are things you can do to help him. Take a look at this helpful article on Travel Sickness in Labradors to find out more.  Once he is feeling better, he will drool less as a result.

An Ongoing Issue

Whereas drool can be caused by environmental things, like a car ride or anticipation of a meal, 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.