Salivation or drooling is universal among dogs and is not a sign of ill-health. However excessive salivation or hypersalivation occurs when the salivary glands produce more saliva than the dog is able to swallow. Veterinarians define this as ptyalism. The excess moisture can cause inflammation and irritation around the dog’s mouth and lips.
- Irritation from a foreign object - sticks, stones or plastic toys can become lodged in your dog mouth and may cause excessive salivation as well as eventually pain and inflammation.
- Injuries to the mouth - cuts, scrapes or bites inside the mouth can lead to excessive salivation.
- Excessive emotions - dogs normally drool in response to emotional stimuli, but intense or traumatic emotions can increase this natural response.
- Motion sickness - nausea caused by motion sickness can increase saliva production, as can the anxiety of traveling in a car.
- Difficulty swallowing - irritation or blockage of the throat can make it painful or difficult for a dog to swallow which will lead to excessive saliva.
- Inflamed tonsils - these can also make swallowing more difficult.
- Medication - medication administration can cause increased saliva production, as can certain medications.
- Allergic reaction - severe allergic reactions cause increased drooling, among other symptoms.
- Poisoning - different types of poisoning can lead to excessive salivation. As symptoms worsen, the dog will often start to foam at the mouth.
- Infectious diseases - rabies and certain forms of distemper can lead to excessive salivation and foaming at the mouth.
- Seizures - some seizures can cause excessive salivation or foaming at the mouth.
- Tumors - certain types of mouth tumors, including malignant cancer tumors, can cause excessive salivation.
- Mouth defects - congenital defects in mouth conformity can make it difficult to swallow and lead to excess saliva.
- Kidney Failure or Hepatic encephalopathy - both of these systemic failures will cause excessive salivation.
- Disorder of the salivary glands - abscess or inflammation of the salivary glands can sometimes cause excessive salivation.
Recognizing excessive salivation will depend on knowing what is normal for your dog since some dogs drool more than others, especially among different breeds.
Seek treatment if you notice any of the symptoms in your dog.