Drool is just another way of saying saliva, and saliva is a very good thing! It’s an enzyme-rich substance that’s vital to the swallowing and digesting of food, and has antibacterial properties that fight infection. But excessive drooling can be a symptom of a more serious problem.

Despite its benefits, dog drool tends to get a bad rap because it’s messy, wet, and gross. In reality, dog drool plays an essential role in your buddy’s health. Whether you’re curious about the purpose of dog drool or interested in how to identify potential problems associated with excessive salivation, here are some dog drool insights to scratch your itch!

Healthy Drooling: Circumstances & Functions

Drooling is healthy and the sign of normal, happy dog (unless it’s excessive, which we’ll cover a little later). Below are some typical functions and situations in which dogs drool.

  • Swallowing and digesting food
  • Anticipation of a yummy treat or meal time
  • Breed with propensity for salivation

Excessive Drooling: Potential Causes

Excessive drooling doesn’t mean more drool than you’re comfortable with. It means more salivation than usual for your dog. Excessive drooling is called “Ptyalism” or hypersalivation, and can be a symptom of the following issues.

  • Anxiety and motion sickness
  • Oral injury or foreign object lodged in mouth
  • Dental issues – tartar buildup, gingivitis, broken tooth, mouth ulcers
  • Heat stroke – overexposure to sun and limited access to water
  • Eating poisonous plants – tulips, azaleas, and chrysanthemums

Dog Breeds Prone to Drooling

English Bulldog
St. Bernard
Clumber Spaniel
Doberman Pinscher
Dogue de Bordeaux
Cane Corso
Great Dane
Old English Sheepdog

Dog Breeds Prone to Less Drooling

German Shepherd
French Bulldog
Jack Russell Terrier
Afghan Hound
English Setter
Shetland Sheepdog
Manchester Terrier
Norwegian Elkhound
Italian Greyhound
Irish Setter

Dog drool is normal, natural and healthy. Except when it’s excessive, which you’re the best person to identify because you spend the most time with your dog. Remember, excessive drooling is somewhat relative; it means more drooling – in volume and frequency – than normal for the individual dog. Keep a close eye on your dog during mealtime, playtime and all the time so you’ll be able to spot any unusual drooling before it becomes a more serious problem. And when in doubt, visit the vet!