It’s a fact that some dogs, and some breeds in general, drool. It’s even been featured as a gag in movies; let’s never forget the famous Hooch, a Dogue de Bordeaux, who starred in the 1989 movie Turner & Hooch Hooch drooled so much during shooting that he ruined a car seat (but provided a lot of terrific jokes in the film).
Dogs that drool in real life may not be so much fun — but if you have a drooler, you get used to it (and to the inevitable “drool rag” that will accompany you everywhere). If the idea of dog slobber makes you shiver, you might want to avoid the following breeds, known for their legendary drooling talent:
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Dogue de Bordeauxs
- Neapolitan Mastiffs
- St. Bernards
This doesn’t mean that other breeds and individual dogs can’t claim “super drooler” status, but these breeds are award winners. We set out to find out why some dogs and breeds drool more than others.
Some dogs have floppy, droopy lips, says Dr. Sarah Ochoa, a vet at Whitehouse Veterinarian Hospital in Texas. “These lips make keeping saliva in their mouths more difficult than breeds without the droopy lips.”
Drooling can be perfectly normal, or a sign of a health problem, she says. “The production of saliva can come from just smelling food, or your dog may have an underlying medical condition causing them to produce more saliva.” She does recommend taking your dog to the vet if they have suddenly started to salivate more, just to make that there is nothing wrong in their mouths.
Holistic vet, Dr. Gary Richter, agrees. “Drool is a normal, natural part of the canine digestive process, but excessive or irregular drooling can be a sign of a health issue or injury.” However, just like humans, drooling is a normal physiological response to smelling something yummy. “For a healthy dog, drool is typically a result of being offered a tasty treat because when they anticipate food is on the way, their mouth will start to water.”
Even in breeds that aren’t known for excessive drooling, an individual dog can turn out to be a drooler. “Some dogs have larger salivary glands and produce way more saliva than other dogs,” says Dr. Ochoa. “Other times it is just due to their anatomy, causing them to have trouble keeping all the saliva inside their mouths.”
Abnormal Reasons for a Dog Drooling
Drooling can also be an indicator of a health problem, especially in a dog that doesn’t normally drool. “Causes of excessive drool vary, and range from unpleasant inconveniences to medical emergencies,” says Dr. Richter. Dental disease is a common causes of unpleasant drooling, adds Dr. Ochoa, which is often accompanied by terrible breath.
She has also seen drooling in dogs that have a mass in their mouths. “This mass is usually causing them to eat abnormally and drop food while eating.” In this case, drooling may actually save the dog’s life if it alerts the owner to the fact that there is something wrong.
A dog that suddenly starts drooling may have something stuck in their mouth. “Once I had a patient that got a chew stick stuck across the roof of its mouth,” says Dr. Ochoa. “The only abnormal sign that the owners noticed was that it was continually drooling when he usually did not drool.”
Some health conditions that may cause a dog to suddenly start drooling include:
- Dental disease
- Mouth disease
- Heat stroke
- Motion sickness
- Upper respiratory infection
- A foreign object
- A drug side effect
Tips for Dealing with a Drooler
Drooling may not be the best aspect of your dog, but it doesn’t have to be a “dog breaker.” Here are some ways to make life a little easier if you have a dog that drools.
- Get acquainted with a drool rag.
- Tie a bib, wipe, or bandana made from absorbent cloth around your dog’s neck.
- Put a towel or washable rug near your dog’s food bowl.
- Feed your dog at least 3 or 4 hours before a car ride.
- Check out Etsy’s Dog Drool page.
As you can see, there’s a lot of support out there for dog parents of droolers. Whatever you do, don’t let a little drool stand between you and the four-legged love of your life. And remember Hooch — the biggest droolers can be the best heroes!