Whether you’ve got a St Bernard, a Newfoundland, a Mastiff or some other slobbering pooch, there’s one thing we’re sure you’ll agree with and that is – drool is not cool!

When Beethoven first hit cinema screens, the handsome dog was an instant hit. Sure, he looks cute on a screen, but what about in your home? Could you handle that amount of drool? Yes, there’s normal, healthy slopper that helps your dog eat and digest, but then there’s the Niagara Falls. Yuck!

What is dog drool?

Dog’s drool is a commonplace thing. Glands in your dog’s mouth produce saliva, which is an enzyme-rich liquid that helps lubricate your dog’s food and begins the digestive process while they are chewing. You do the same, and while you might not have the same amount as say a hound, your mouth likely gets moist when you think about pizzas, burgers and cheesecake.

Dog’s drool also protects oral tissues and teeth by it’s flushing effect, and many dogs will use the evaporation of saliva as a way to cool themselves when hot, which is why we see them panting.

Drool is a good thing – but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Excessive salivation is not normal. In fact, in extreme cases it can lead to dehydration or can point to a serious illness or problem. While it’s not usually the cause for a high-speed dash to an emergency room, it’s important as a pet owner that should your dog be salivating more than normal you address and resolve the issue quickly. Excessive drooling could mean:

  • Heat stroke
  • Anxiety
  • Motion sickness
  • Mouth disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Organ disease
  • Poisoning from certain plants
  • Stomach ache
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Hypersalivation
  • A tumour in the salivary gland
  • Distemper
  • An intruding foreign object
  • A drug side effect
  • Epilepsy

But let’s assume that your dog’s saliva is simply breed-related. In many cases, drooling is not about too much saliva being produced, but simply an inability to either contain it in the mouth or to swallow it properly. While this can sometimes be caused by nerve-supply problems or a neurotoxin (such as that produced by a paralysis tick), it’s more commonly related to the design of a dog’s mouth and lips.

Mastiffs, St Bernards, Bloodhounds, Bulldogs and Great Danes are renowned for drooling, and it’s all because of their facial structure. The breeds typically seen as droolers all have loose lower lips. The really bad droolers have a lip fold that’s more pronounced, known as a ‘drool shoot’.

In the case of a drooling dog breed, you will need to keep lots of towels around the house. The key is to get to drool stains quickly, before they get crusty. Other tips include:

  • Tying a bandana or bib around your dog’s neck. This will reduce the amount of secreted saliva and will give something to absorb saliva as it falls.
  • Drying your dog’s mouth following a long walk or run. A dog that’s just been exercised will drool more than usual.
  • Laying a washable rug or towel on the floor near your dog’s food bowl. Dog’s commonly drool lots when they are anticipating food.
  • Feeding your dog at least three hours before a car ride, as dogs tend to drool more in the car.
  • Talking to your vet about homeopathic remedies that may inhibit the secretion of saliva, such as lemon extract. Be careful, however, as your dog’s mouth can become dry, causing a number of problems.
  • Considering surgery that will tighten the excess skin around the mouth area. This is not recommended, however, as this will modify your dog’s facial structure.
  • Getting dressed into ‘good clothes’ just as you leave the house and getting changed out of them once home.

Cleaning dog drool from your home

Dog saliva contains lots of bacteria that may carry diseases and be harmful for children or people with a weaker immune system. It’s important to clean your home regularly using either apple cider vinegar or other chemicals. Some bacteria and viruses can only be killed with bleach, in which case you should use a diluted solution.

Dry dog drool can be challenging to remove and will need a bit of elbow grease. Favourite ways to clean dry drool from walls, ceilings, floors and baseboards are using a Magic Eraser or a blend of vinegar and water. For windows and appliances, use a glass cleaning spray. For sofas and other furniture, try using rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and a non-coloured sponge. Alcohol evaporates quickly, making it less likely to saturate fabric.

Cleaning dog drool from your clothes

If you have a dog that drools, saliva stains will be a regular part of your laundry concerns. The good news is that these can be removed using the right technique.

Items you’ll need:

  • Plastic spoon
  • Bucket
  • ½ tsp dish-washing detergent
  • 1 tbsp ammonia
  • An old toothbrush
  • Enzyme prewash stain remover
  • Laundry detergent
  • Oxygen bleach

Step 1: Use the spoon to scrape off excess saliva.

Step 2: Combine dishwashing detergent and ammonia with 4 cups of water in a bucket.

Step 3: Soak your saliva-stained garment for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Scrub the stain with the toothbrush, then return to water for another 15 minutes.

Step 5: Rinse the garment to wash away ammonia and loosen the stain. Apply prewash stain remover to the stained area. Leave for 30 minutes.

Step 6: Wash your clothing with laundry detergent and oxygen bleach to remove last traces of saliva.

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals

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