Saliva 911: When your pet’s drooling is an emergency - Dr. Marty Becker

Saliva 911: When your pet’s drooling is an emergency

Monday, Aug 10th, 2015 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Drooling panting dog in a hot Summer

Is your pet’s drooling normal for them, or something to worry about?

Some breeds like Basset Hounds, Mastiffs, and St. Bernards are notorious for a deluge of slippery saliva, and some individuals simply salivate more than others.

But not all drooling is normal.

This summer I saw a dog at North Idaho Animal Hospital whose owner brought him in because he’d started drooling, which he usually didn’t do.

Upon examination, I found a bone lodged firmly between the inside sides of the teeth in the upper jaw. It was causing irritation, infection, and a lot of pain. The excessive salivation was just a clinical sign of the inflammation. Once we removed the offending item, the salivation stopped and the dog felt much better.

If you dog doesn’t normally salivate and begins, you should head for the vet. Here are a few of the things she or he will be checking for:

1. Foreign object in the mouth. I’ve taken out shards of bone, splinters, pieces of plastic, toys, toothpicks, fishing hooks, porcupine quills, you name it.

2. Car sickness or other forms of nausea. This can be on long car rides or also shorter ones if the pet is stressed (such as trips to the vet or groomer).

3. Dental problems. These can run the gamut from a chipped tooth, loose tooth, and periodontal disease, to a major abscess.

4. Rabies. While rabies is rare, this is one of the classic signs.

5. Poisoning. I’ve seen this from a pet chewing on an offending or poisonous plant, certain types of medications (both pet prescriptions and human drugs), or from getting into some chemical. If you suspect any type of poisoning, treat it like an extreme emergency and contact your veterinarian or pet poison hotline immediately.