Why do dogs drool?

As a dog owner, I am totally positive you have had your excited dog slobber all over you, and probably at the least appropriate times!  Drooling is pretty prevalent throughout all breeds of dogs, though some dogs most certainly drool and slobber more than others.  Think a Labrador, or a St. Bernard.  Why do these breeds drool and slobber more than others?  What does drooling mean and why do dogs find it so necessary to do (all over your nice new clothing)?

Slobbering DogDogs are known to drool when they get excited or very focused on something.  Like with a human, you may notice them start to drool before you are about to feed them a tasty meal, or take a walk through the park with them.  For some dogs, these feelings trigger the behavior of drooling, which relaxes them.  So if you see a pattern between drooling and excitement in your dog, this could very well be it.  Dogs will also drool or slobber while they are very worked up and tired, as it helps them breathe and cool off.  So if you take them for a run, you can expect to see some slobber during and after the exercise.

If you notice your dog drooling excessively out of nowhere, though, you could have a problem.  If your dog is normally not a drooler, they aren’t just going to magically turn into one someday.  This type of drooling can be caused by gum or tooth problems, or something like a foreign object stuck in their mouth.  Nausea can also cause excessive drooling in dogs, and could be a sign that they are getting sick.  If you suspect this is the cause of your dog’s drooling, take them to the vet to get them checked up.

For most of us, though, slobber is just something that comes with the dog, something that we are going to have to deal with as dog owners.  Saliva serves a very similar duty in dogs that it does in humans, it helps lubricate the digestive system and contains enzymes to help them break down food in their stomach.  For dogs, swallowing is a voluntary action, and not usually necessary unless they are eating, so they usually don’t bother and we get those two slobber strings at the side of their muzzle!