What Causes Dogs to Secrete Saliva?

by Louise Lawson
    A simple car ride may be enough to make your dog drool.

    A simple car ride may be enough to make your dog drool.

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    Drool may not be pretty, but it is a natural part of life for dog lovers. Dogs salivate for a variety of reasons, both normal and abnormal. A little investigation into the source of the saliva may avoid an unpleasant trip to the vet.

    If your mouth waters at the scent of a tasty meal, chances are your dog’s does too. Drooling in reaction to food or treats is normal, and nearly every dog is guilty of producing a string or two of slobber now and then. Food-based drooling tends to be heavier when the food is withheld, so minimize the mess by giving your pup her meals without hesitation. Cover the floor near your dog’s bowl with a place mat to cut down on post-meal drool cleanup.

    Big crowds, loud noises and unfamiliar places may trigger a bout of stress drooling. This type of drooling normally occurs when the dog is scared or anxious, and may be accompanied by pacing, whining and a case of the shivers. A nervous drooler may also smack his lips or yawn repeatedly in an attempt to calm himself. If you suspect your pup drools because she is nervous, remove her from the stressful situation as soon as possible. In the event of unavoidable stress, such as a loud thunderstorm, an herbal calming supplement may dial back her anxiety. Ask your vet what type of supplement and how much to give your pup to keep her calm and drool-free.

    Nausea and digestive upset are another common cause of drooling. When your dog gets sick to her stomach, her salivary glands kick into overdrive and she may drool in excess. This type of drooling often occurs in the car, and clears up shortly after arrival. While drooling due to nausea is common, it becomes a serious concern if accompanied by a hard, distended stomach and unsuccessful attempts to vomit. This may be a sign of a serious condition known as gastric distortion volvulus, or bloat, which must be treated by a vet as soon as possible.

    Serious slobbering is often an indicator of injury or illness. Your dog may drool and scratch at her face if she has a stick lodged in her mouth, or if she’s suffering from a painful tooth abscess. If your dog’s drooling is accompanied by swelling of the face or muzzle, she may have been stung by an insect and needs to see the vet. Call your vet immediately if your pooch is drooling and showing signs of aggression or confusion, as these may be symptoms of disease such as rabies or tetanus.

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    About the Author

    Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.

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