There is lots to love about (wo)man’s best friend—lazy weekend snuggles, soft ears, unconditional love… When it comes to the more moist side of canine companionship, though, some people lose a little investment. Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center wants to help answer your questions about dog drool in hopes of helping to strengthen that human-animal bond even when it’s a little wetter than normal.
Dog Drool as a Functional Entity
While drool may not be your favorite part of your pet, saliva actually is a really important part of your pet’s make up.
In people and pets, saliva is a vital component of normal physiological functioning. Produced by three separate glands within the mouth, saliva is often present when the sights, sounds, and smells of a yummy meal are present.
Dog drool helps your pet function by:
Moistening food to aid in breaking it down to smaller, digestible pieces
Lubricating food as it heads down the esophagus
Introducing enzymes into the bite of food that help start digestion
Protecting the teeth and gums
Fight germs in the mouth
Helping to cool the body when overheated
While saliva is produced by all of our canine companions, some breeds such as Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, Mastiffs, Basset Hounds, and Boxers seem to have more to share. Dog drool is not actually more plentiful in these breeds, but their loose lips don’t do much to keep the saliva in!
These breeds may actually even need a little help keeping the skin around their mouth healthy. That moist environment can turn into a bacteria breeding ground.
When Good Drool Goes Bad
To some extent, dog drool is a part of pet ownership, particularly if your breed of choice is anatomically challenged in the saliva containing department. If your pet is suddenly drooling more than typical, though, something may be going on.
Some medical causes of increased salivation include:
- Anxiety such as separation anxiety
- Nausea as caused by motion sickness, systemic illness, or foreign body obstruction
- Something stuck in the mouth or esophagus
- Oral irritations or ulceration such as that seen after nibbling many types of plants
- Dental disease or pain
- Tumors in the oral cavity
- Upper respiratory infection
- Systemic disease
Paying attention to your pet’s oral care and normal drooling habits can help alert you to issues sooner.
Dog drool is a totally normal and expected part of dog ownership, but sudden changes in this department warrant giving us a call to make an appointment. Typically a thorough examination and diagnostic testing are warranted to get to the bottom of what is happening and make sure that your pet is feeling better soon.