As a dog owner, dealing with drool is simply a part of the job. Drooling is a normal, natural behavior that cannot always be stopped. However, if you want to minimize the amount of drool your dog produces, there are some steps you can take to do so.
In this article, we will discuss eight tips and tricks that you can follow to reduce the amount of drool your dog creates. Furthermore, we will talk about how to know when drooling is excessive and concerning, as well as when you should contact your vet. But before we start, let’s talk about why dogs drool.
Why Do Dogs Drool?
Drool is saliva that is dripping from your dog’s mouth. It is a necessary part of your dog’s digestive process and a product of the salivary glands in your dog’s jaw and neck area. Typically, your dog can contain all of his saliva in his mouth, but if he salivates excessively, he may drool. A good example of this is when your dog sees you pull out a tasty treat and anticipates eating it.
In most cases, drool is not a huge issue. However, some breeds, such as the Saint Bernard and the Mastiff, are prone to drooling excessively. If you own a breed predisposed to drooling, there may not be much you can do to cut down on the drool he produces. Still, it is worthwhile to take a look at the tips and tricks in this list to see if any of them work for you.
Top 8 Tips to Stop Dog Drooling
1. Be Diligent About Your Dog’s Dental Hygiene
One of the simplest ways to prevent your dog from drooling is to be diligent about his dental care. Without proper oral hygiene, your dog may accumulate tartar, potentially irritating his gums. Both tartar buildup and gum irritation can cause your dog to drool more often. Additionally, if something is stuck between your dog’s teeth, it may cause him to produce more saliva, leading to drool.
To properly care for your dog’s oral hygiene, brush his teeth daily with a canine toothbrush and toothpaste. Watch out for plaque deposits, especially if they are yellowish or brownish in color, and for inflammation of the gums. Likewise, take your pet to regular checkups so that a professional can examine his teeth.
2. Keep Choking Hazards Away from Your Pet
Keep small items away from your dog. This is a good safety protocol to follow and can prevent your dog from producing excessive saliva. Foreign objects stuck in your dog’s teeth or mouth can cause him to salivate excessively to remove them. Examples include a fractured piece of a toy or a splintered bone.
In addition to foreign objects, there is the possibility that a tumor inside the mouth, throat, or esophagus can also cause your dog to salivate more than usual. If you notice anything strange in your dog’s mouth or throat, do not try to remove it yourself. Instead, reach out to your vet right away.
3. Make Sure Your Dog Doesn’t Eat Anything He Shouldn’t
Although cats are heavily stereotyped as curious animals, all dog owners know that canines can be just as inquisitive. It’s an endearing quality that can sometimes endanger our pets, especially if a dog eats something they shouldn’t have. This can be a foreign object, such as a sock or a toy, which we’ve already established can cause your dog to salivate. In addition, toxic substances may also lead to drooling.
If your dog gets into cleaning chemicals, toxic ingredients, or poisonous plants, he may be drooling due to the exposure. In this instance, you may notice other signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, or other worrying issues. If you believe your dog has gotten into something he shouldn’t have, do not delay getting him the professional help he needs.
4. Pay Attention to the Weather
Sometimes, your dog’s drool has little to do with what’s in his mouth. For instance, hot weather can cause your dog to suffer from heat stroke; as a result, he may salivate excessively to try and cool himself off.
Heat stroke is a concerning health issue that requires urgent care. On the spectrum of heat-related conditions, heat stroke is the most severe. If your dog continues to be exposed to heat after suffering from heat-induced illnesses, he may progress from heat exhaustion to heat stroke. Heat stroke is characterized by disorientation, increased body temperature, and seizures. If the condition worsens, he may suffer from organ damage and even organ failure.
Of course, this is the most extreme scenario. If your dog is even a little bit hot, he still may drool to try and regulate his temperature. Limit his outdoor time during the warmer seasons to prevent him from drooling excessively.
5. Feed Your Dog When You Eat
A common reason dogs salivate is the desire for or anticipation of a meal. If you and your family sit down for a meal, your dog may sit at the edge of the table and drool. To prevent this, you can feed your dog at the same time that you eat your meals. That way, your dog does not have too long for his meal.
6. Use Puzzle Feeders
If your dog drools a lot during mealtime, using puzzle feeders might save you a lot of cleanup afterward. Food puzzles lengthen the time that your dog takes to eat his meals, so he doesn’t produce as much saliva as quickly. This reduces the amount that he drools. There are plenty of puzzle feeder choices on the market, so take your time to look through them and see which might be the best fit for your dog.
7. Redirect Your Dog’s Attention When He Drools for Food
If your dog drools whenever he sees food, feeding him to stop the drooling will only reinforce the behavior. Rather than feeding your dog every time that he wants it, you can try to redirect his attention instead. Puzzle toys are a great way to keep your dog occupied and distract him from his desire for food. It may take some time to train this habit out for your dog, especially if he has learned that begging will give him the food he wants.
8. Avoid Triggers that Cause Him to Drool
There are many reasons why a dog may drool, not just for the anticipation of a snack. If your dog has specific triggers that engage his salivary glands, you must avoid them whenever possible.
In the example of food, if your dog salivates when you start cooking dinner, you can remove him from the room when you prepare your meals. You can do so by placing him in his crate or sending him to another room. This works even better if your dog has something to occupy himself with when you are apart, such as a favorite toy.
When Is Excessive Drooling a Cause for Concern?
Although drooling is a natural behavior, there are times when it is a cause for concern. If your dog’s excessive drooling comes with any of the signs below, contact your veterinarian immediately.
While drooling is a natural behavior in dogs, that doesn’t mean most dog owners are thrilled to see slobber running down their dog’s face. Salivation is not something you can prevent your dog from doing, but there are steps that you can take to reduce the amount of unnecessary drooling. We hope these tips and tricks have helped you minimize the drool in your household. If you are ever concerned about how much your dog is salivating, do not delay contacting your vet.
Featured Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock