Why So Wet? Dog Slobber and You
Those of us who love dogs have encountered and accepted (to some degree) that drool is a part of our lives. But does it have to be that way?
Ten West Bird & Animal Hospital knows the importance of the human-animal bond, and understanding more about why dog drool happens can help it to be more tolerable, even though it is not totally unavoidable. We are all for anything that helps you to enjoy your pet more.
The Physiology of Dog Slobber
Saliva production is an important component of gastrointestinal physiology in most mammals.
Dogs have four pairs of major salivary glands and several other minor ones that drain within their oral cavity. These glands are hard at work producing saliva at all times.
Saliva production may also be normally increased as the body prepares to consume a meal. Activities associated with food as well as smells and sounds can involuntarily increase saliva production.
Saliva is largely made of water, but it also contains the enzyme amylase that is essential to start the digestion of carbohydrates, mucus, and salts.
Dog slobber serves several important purposes including:
- Keeping the mouth moist
- Facilitating chewing
- Lubricating the food in the mouth to aid in swallowing
- Providing digestive enzymes
- Supplying some antimicrobial activity for the oral cavity
- Providing a cooling mechanism
Some dogs produce more saliva than others. There are also certain breeds known for their excessive dog drool, such as St. Bernards, mastiffs, and Newfoundlands. These breeds don’t necessarily produce any more dog slobber than the next dog, but their loose lip folds don’t hold back the flood very well.
Doing Battle with Dog Drool
If you have a drooly dog, there are definitely some things that you can do to make it more tolerable.
Being sure to have a steady supply of drool rags is a must. Inexpensive kitchen towels or washcloths will do the trick. Get a cute basket and keep it in strategic places in your home (near food is usually a good idea). A dedicated laundry hamper in a common area will make it easy to toss your drool towels in the wash as needed.
You can also dress your pet for dog drool. A cute bandana can make a stylish accessory (and can be included in drool wash) that is easily changed as it gets soiled. For smaller dogs, an old baby bib can also be a fun idea. You can also find custom dog bibs made by sellers on Etsy and similar forums.
It is also helpful to change up your routine to minimize the wet. Consider prepping your dog’s dinner while they are outside or crated so the dog drool stays in an isolated area. Be sure to put towels down where your dog eats and drinks to minimize the mess as well.
If your dog is suddenly drooling more than normal, you should contact us right away. While dog slobber can be very normal, a sudden change can indicate something that might be going on including:
- A systemic issue causing nausea
- Irritation of the mouth
- Dental disease
- An obstruction of the esophagus
- Toxin ingestion
In short, dog drool may be a necessary evil for those of us who have canine companions in our homes, but it doesn’t need to be anything unmanageable. With a little understanding and effort, dog drool doesn’t need to hurt your relationship with your pup.