Understanding the 11 Most Common Causes of Dog Heavy Salivation

Understanding the 11 Most Common Causes of Dog Heavy Salivation

When dogs salivate heavily, it is usually due to breeding problems or nausea. Under certain circumstances, however, it can also be an indication of dental problems, poisoning, stress, tonsillitis, or problems with swallowing.

Doctors also speak of “hypersalivation”. Typically, the problem stems from three underlying factors:

  • Increased production of saliva
  • Trouble swallowing saliva
  • Poor salivary drainage

There are also big differences depending on the breed. In the following you will learn about the 11 most common causes and what helps against a lot of drooling.

1. Dental Problem

If you have a toothache or other problems in the mouth, you should not assume that your dog will draw your attention to it.

This hiding of existing pain is a behavior that dogs inherited from their ancestors, the wolves. The most common oral problems include:

  • Dental caries
  • Strong tartar
  • Splinters in the gums
  • Cancer in the mouth
  • Broken tooth
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Holes in the tooth

Since saliva also has an anti-inflammatory and disinfecting effect, more of it is produced when there are dental problems. That explains the drooling. Other symptoms are:

  • Reddening of the gums
  • Dog refuses food
  • Dog chews on one side
  • Severe discoloration of the tooth
  • The dog is foaming at the mouth
  • Sudden aggression
  • The dog is touch sensitive
  • Unusual bad breath

If you have any suspicions, you should consult your veterinarian. Because dental problems can be very painful if left untreated and can usually be treated relatively well.

When dogs are struggling with dental problems, they automatically produce more saliva. Affected dogs therefore usually start to salivate heavily, refuse their food, get redness in the mouth, and become sensitive to touch around the muzzle.

2. Breeding-Related Problems

Because of their breeding, some breeds are more likely to suffer from problems in the mouth and nose area. The so-called “brachycephalic dogs” are the prime example here.

This means all those breeds that were specially bred have a short snout and a flat face. Typical examples are here:

  • English bulldog
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • German boxer
  • German Mastiff
  • Bull Mastiff

In these breeds, the saliva collects in the cheeks due to breeding. It then drools out when moved or shaken. The same applies to water after drinking.

In this case, even the best training will not help. Because the sole blame lies with the breeding that took place several decades or centuries ago.

For this reason, these breeds are also referred to as “torture breeding”. Because when they were bred, health and optical problems were deliberately accepted.

Due to their breed, dogs with short muzzles tend to accumulate drool on their cheeks. This explains why these breeds are also very prone to salivation compared to others. But the four-legged friends can’t do anything about that.

3. Poisoning

Poisoning is much more common in dogs than in humans. One of the reasons for this is that even ordinary foods are toxic to dogs.

In addition, young four-legged friends in particular are sometimes so curious that they swallow plants or other things without thinking. Common causes of this are:

  • Chocolate & Cocoa
  • Pesticides and insecticides
  • Toxic plants
  • Onions and garlic
  • Rat poison
  • Medicines and drugs
  • Grapes and Raisins

Again, excessive drooling is merely a subconscious protective response by the body to reduce the effects. Other classic signs of poisoning are:

  • Sudden vomiting
  • Dog starts shaking
  • Foam at the mouth
  • The dog is breathing heavily
  • Excessive salivation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden seizure

If you suspect it, you should take action immediately and go to the veterinary emergency clinic. If left untreated, poisoning can be fatal.

If dogs have contracted poisoning by swallowing toxic things, this is usually noticeable in their behavior a short time later. It is typical here that affected four-legged friends to salivate heavily, tremble and have breathing problems.

4. Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

If bacteria, fungi, or other viruses get stuck in the throat or nose, inflammation can occur. Physicians distinguish between:

  • Rhinitis = Inflamed nasal mucosa
  • Pharyngitis = inflammation of the pharynx
  • Sinusitis = inflamed paranasal sinuses

Such infections are most common in breeds with a short snout, as this is where the bacteria or virus can penetrate more easily. Typical signs of this are:

  • Constant sneezing
  • Dog drools a lot
  • Loss of appetite
  • rattling breathing
  • Dog chokes mucus
  • Thick nasal discharge
  • Frequent cough

According to statistics, in addition to the brachycephalic breeds, Greyhounds, Australian Shepherds, Collies, and Shetland Sheepdogs are also often affected.

Basically, the treatment depends on the cause. Antibiotics are usually used for bacteria and creams and sprays are used for fungi.

When dogs’ upper airways become inflamed, it can also severely affect the production of saliva. Such inflammations can usually be recognized by the fact that breathing changes, the dog drools and sneezes unusually often.

5. Nausea

Did you know that dogs are much more likely to struggle with nausea than humans? That’s because they’ve only been omnivores for a few millennia.

Their digestive system is therefore still relatively primitive and even small inconsistencies can cause problems. The most common causes of this include:

  • Eating from people
  • Mold in the feed
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Travel sickness
  • Liver and kidney diseases
  • Spoiled dog food
  • Toxic Foods
  • Worm infestation

You can usually recognize nausea in dogs by the fact that they constantly lick their lips and salivate heavily. Other classic signs are:

  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Dog whines and squeaks
  • Frequent smacking
  • Dog often bumps
  • Driveless behavior
  • swallowing air
  • Dog refuses food

Normally, nausea should resolve on its own after several hours of fasting. In the case of chronic complaints, I advise changing the food and seeking help.

When dogs are nauseous, they usually start drooling excessively. It is also typical that affected dogs often lick their lips, start smacking their lips, or even throw up. In most cases, this problem will resolve itself.

6. Trouble swallowing

It is perfectly normal for dogs to produce new saliva non-stop. Normally, however, this should flow down the throat a certain amount.

It becomes a problem when dogs have difficulty swallowing and the saliva builds up as a result. Typical causes of this are:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Swallowed foreign body
  • Tumor disease
  • Nerve disorder
  • Tonsillitis
  • Oral injury

The much salivation is the smaller problem here. This is especially true if the dog also refuses water and food. Other typical signs are here:

  • Constant choking
  • Dog does not eat
  • Strange breathing
  • Dog keeps choking
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Weight loss
  • Dog drinks too little

If you have breathing problems, you should take immediate action. The therapy depends on the respective cause. The vet can help here.

When dogs have difficulty swallowing, it is usually noticeable through heavy drooling. It is also typical that affected dogs do not eat anything, drink less, choke more often, and have a constant urge to gag.

7. Heat and Fever

Unlike us, dogs have a much harder time cooling down. This is primarily due to the fact that they have significantly fewer sweat glands than humans.

Instead, they try to cool down their body by panting in the summer or when they have a fever. Typical causes of increased body temperature are:

  • Viral Infections
  • Insect bites
  • Driving in summer
  • Poisoning
  • Infection of the organs
  • Vaccination reaction

Due to the strong panting, affected dogs usually start to drool and avoid warm places to lie down. Typical symptoms of increased body temperature are:

  • Hot ears
  • Very red gums
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dog breathes fast
  • Red eyes
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Loud breathing

If there are any signs of heat stroke, you should seek immediate veterinary care to prevent permanent damage. If you have a fever, you need to find out the cause.

When dogs have a fever or are just too hot, they instinctively pant. The higher the body temperature rises, the more they salivate. It is also typical that affected dogs appear listless and have hot ears.

8. Strong Appetite

Surely you know the feeling when you see something delicious to eat in the supermarket and your mouth waters just looking at it. Not true?

Dogs are no different here. The reason for this is also easily explained. As is well known, digestion begins in the mouth. Typical triggers of this phenomenon are:

  • The dog watches the food 
  • Sound when the feed pack is opened
  • The washing of the bowl
  • The dog is fed sporadically from the table
  • The smell of freshly cooked food

Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Bloodhounds in particular usually start to salivate heavily. Other signs of a heavy appetite include:

  • Eye contact with the master
  • Constant barking
  • Dog’s stomach growls
  • The dog howls at master
  • Scratching around in the bowl

There is no reason to worry here. A solution here can be to feed the dog at the same time as lunch and dinner.

Excessive drooling in dogs can also be a sign of an appetite, among other things. This is especially the case when the master is eating or he is expecting his food because of a smell or a noise. This is completely normal.

9. Liver and Kidney Problems

The kidneys and liver are primarily responsible for removing existing pollutants and toxins from the body. So they act like a kind of “filter”.

However, both organs also help with the digestion of the chyme and thus also influence the production of saliva. Typical causes of this are:

  • Viral infections
  • Medication
  • Poisoning
  • Bacterial inflammation
  • Cancer
  • Internal injuries

Liver problems are usually recognizable relatively early on. Kidney problems, on the other hand, show up very late in comparison. Typical symptoms of this are:

  • Yellowish eyes
  • Heavy drooling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dog drinks a lot
  • Gurgling in the stomach
  • listlessness
  • Constant diarrhea
  • Frequent urination

If you suspect this, I recommend contacting the vet immediately. Although these types of diseases are not always curable, they can usually be treated effectively.

When dogs get problems with the liver or kidneys, it usually affects the entire organism. It is typical here that affected dogs suddenly throw up, drink a lot, salivate heavily, and also appear generally listless.

10. Anxiety & Stress

When dogs feel fear or stress, the corresponding stress hormones are released. Especially cortisol and adrenaline. Typical triggers of fear are:

  • Constant noise
  • Lack of socialization
  • Presence of strange dogs
  • Alzheimer
  • Strong storm
  • Violent upbringing
  • Loneliness

The stress hormones triggered by this also lead to rapid dehydration at the same time. This explains why dogs start panting in such situations.

It is therefore not surprising that many dogs drool in the car. Because this is perceived as stressful, especially for puppies. Other typical signs of anxiety and stress are:

  • Night activity
  • Dog pees in the apartment
  • Ears laid back
  • The dog pulls in the tail
  • Stooped posture
  • Dog is restless
  • Sudden tremors

The most effective way here is to find out the trigger and then avoid it. In addition, a lot of attention helps against such emotions.

When dogs feel severe anxiety or chronic stress, this is often noticeable through a lot of salivating. It can also usually be recognized by the fact that the four-legged friend has pulled in the tail, is trembling and generally appears restless.

11. Tonsillitis

Almonds are often referred to as “unnecessary” in humans. In reality, however, they are an essential part of a dog’s natural defense system.

More precisely, the almonds ensure that germs and other pathogens get into the body. Inflammation is usually due to the following causes:

  • Chronic vomiting
  • Irritation from constant coughing
  • Dental problems
  • Bacterial infestation
  • Tumor disease
  • Infection of the gums

Brachycephalic breeds are also more frequently affected by this. It can usually be recognized by the dog making loud swallowing noises. Other signs are:

  • Frequent retching
  • Dog won’t eat when hungry
  • Heavy drooling
  • Dog drinks too little
  • Light cough
  • Weird acting
  • Dog chokes slime

The treatment here is derived from the diagnosis. In most cases, antibiotics are used. The symptoms should disappear relatively quickly.

Tonsillitis in dogs can cause them to eat and drink less because they have difficulty swallowing. Typically, affected dogs usually start to salivate a lot, choke more often, and behave strangely.

Rare causes
  • Irritated esophagus
  • Gastric torsion
  • Rabies
  • Anesthesia after surgery
  • Dilated esophagus
  • Disorder of the nervous system
  • Medication
  • Insect bites
  • Seizures
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