dogs that droolMeet Bella and Zoey: one year-old mixed black labs. Not only are they cute and playful, but they love to share their saliva. When they see food, they drool. When they drink, they slobber. Why? While some dogs have no problems containing their unique brand of goo, others are more likely to drip and dribble.

Dog slobber, a common canine behavior known as hypersalivation, happens for several reasons and with numerous breeds other than labs. Breed, stimulus, health issues or a combination of the three causes some dogs to slobber more than others.

Breed

Some dogs slobber simply because their mouths have trouble holding saliva. Certain breeds are well-known for loose mouth skin, large jowls and short snouts – characteristics that often make it harder for Fido to hold in liquids. If you already own one of these breeds, your dog will most likely drool for life. If you plan on growing your bowwow family, consider the extra work these particular pups might add to your chore list. Many popular dog breeds and mixed breeds have difficulty containing their saliva, including the following:

  • Great Dane
  • Basset Hound
  • Newfoundland
  • Mastiff
  • St. Bernard
  • Boxer
  • Bloodhound
  • Bullmastiff
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Clumber Spaniel

Even if a dog does not fall into one of these breed categories, it still might have facial traits that cause slobber problems. Just remember, a dog can’t really help the shape of its face.

Stimulus

Does your mouth water when you’re hungry or when you smell your favorite meal? Dogs, much like humans, respond to certain triggers. When it comes to saliva, food, excitement and stress tend to turn on the waterworks. Specific smells, people or situations can increase a canine’s saliva production. Each dog is different, and whether it slobbers or not is purely based on its personality, habits and trigger associations. Even dogs that don’t normally drool may leave trails or puddles around the house under the right circumstances.

Health

Hypersalivation is perfectly natural for dogs, but sometimes can be a sign of a bigger problem. According to Web MD, dogs with these health issues tend to drool or slobber more often than other dogs:

  • Mouth pain caused by dental problems
  • Distemper, pseudorabies or rabies
  • Heat stroke
  • Motion sickness
  • Poisoning
  • Foreign object in mouth
  • Salivary gland injuries, infections or cysts

Can slobber be stopped?

Dog slobber can’t be cured, but these tips help limit the mess.

  • If a dog drools when overexcited, identify the trigger and reduce its exposure to your pup.
  • Keep pooches kenneled when guests first arrive, then introduce them with a calm and confident approach. Likewise, if you’re a guest, let the dog approach you first while staying relaxed and moving slowly.
  • In unfamiliar situations, dogs should be allowed time to adjust. This reduces their anxiety.
  • Refrain from feeding canines table scraps. If dogs get scraps, they link getting fed to your food and expect to share your drool-worthy treats every time you eat.
  • Regular vet visits prevent and limit health problems that may cause drooling.

+Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.