Drooling in dogs


  • Drooling is normal for dogs, and some breeds drool more than others, but excessive drooling can indicate an underlying health problem.
  • Possible causes include dental disease, a foreign object in the mouth, nausea (feeling sick), poisoning, stress, overheating, or stomach issues.
  • It's essential to contact your vet if you notice a change in your dog’s drooling.

Why is my dog drooling?

A moderate amount of drool (saliva/slobber) is normal for most dogs. Saliva helps dogs to move food down their oesophagus (food pipe) into their stomach, digest food, cool down, and can also be a response to excitement and hunger. Some breeds, such as Mastiffs, Bulldogs, Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards and Bloodhounds seem to slobber more, because the shape of their mouth means it escapes out more easily.

What causes excessive drooling in dogs?

Excessive drooling can be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as: 

Dental problems:
A problem with the teeth or gums can cause increased drooling. 

Something stuck in the mouth:
Foreign objects stuck in the mouth can lead to increased drooling.

Mouth ulcers or infections:
Ulcers or infections in the mouth, throat, or tongue can cause excess drooling.

Nausea (feeling sick):
It’s very common for dogs to drool and lick their lips if they are feeling sick.

Coming into contact with a toxin or poison such as certain plants, chemicals, or medications, can cause excessive drooling. Contact your vet immediately if you think your dog has come into contact with or eaten something toxic.

Stress or separation anxiety:
Drooling is a common response to stress, alongside other symptoms such as lip licking, yawning, and panting.

Many dogs drool excessively before, during and after they have had a seizure.

A dog that is overheating is likely to drool excessively and might even start foaming at the mouth.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV):
Sudden excessive drooling, alongside symptoms such as bloat, and abdominal (tummy) discomfort, can be an indicator of GDV (a twisted stomach).

Difficulty swallowing:
If your dog is having difficulty swallowing, their saliva is likely to build up and leak from their mouth.

Infectious disease:
Certain infectious diseases such as rabies (not currently present in the UK) can cause excessive drooling in dogs.


To diagnose why your dog is drooling excessively, your vet is likely to:

  • Ask about their drooling habits, medical history, and any other symptoms you have noticed.
  • Examine them and check inside their mouth.
  • If necessary, run further investigations, such as blood tests.

The tests will help determine the cause and help your vet recommend an appropriate treatment.


The treatment your dog requires will depend on the cause of their drooling, for example, a dental problem will require dental treatment, but a stress or anxiety problem will require behavioural therapy. Follow the links above for more information.

When to contact your vet

It’s important to contact your vet for advice if you notice your dog drooling more than usual.

Contact your vet immediately if:

  • Your dog's drooling suddenly increases or becomes continuous.
  • You notice other concerning symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, or lethargy.
  • Your dog appears distressed or in pain.
  • You think your dog may have eaten a toxic substance or poison.
  • You think your dog might be suffering from a GDV.
  • You think your dog might be suffering from heatstroke.

You know your dog best, always contact your vet if you’re concerned.

Published: October 2023

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only. Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst.