Drooling in dogs and cats
Drooling, or hypersalivation (ptyalism), is the result of overproduction of saliva or the inability to swallow the saliva being produced, or both. Drooling in pets can present as a mild complaint or be very severe and can be intermittent or a constant feature. Read our vets advice about what to do to help your cat or dog.
- Included free as part of many pet insurance policies
- Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet
- Open 24/7, 365 days a year
What are the causes of drooling in dogs and cats?
Oral pain or trauma
Oral foreign body (like a piece of stick)
Dental disease and pain
Rabies (the UK is currently free from Rabies)
Contact reaction/dermatitis - eg licking irritant material such as bleach
Other less common causes
What are the signs of drooling in dogs and cats?
Often pets will have a wet mouth or chin and they may have strings of clear, frothy saliva hanging from their mouth. The bed or blanket they are lying on may become damp or wet and sometimes the saliva may smell or contain a little blood. You may notice redness to the skin and fur around the mouth. This can be caused by inflammation of the skin as a result of constantly being wet or staining of the fur by the saliva.
What is the treatment for drooling in dogs and cats?
This will depend on the underlying cause and diagnoses may require some further investigations such as x-rays and blood tests. Treatments for the most common causes include:
Performing an oral exam. Some pets may require sedation for this.
Extracting any infected or rotting teeth which may be causing dental pain
Giving anti-nausea medication
Giving pain relief
Starting a course of antibiotics
Carrying out treatment for toxin ingestion
How can I prevent drooling in my dog or cat?
It is important to have a pet’s teeth examined regularly to spot any problems early. Avoid contact with toxins or irritants e.g. household cleaning products, plants and medications. Avoid throwing sticks for dogs or giving dogs very hard chews as this carries a risk of trauma to the mouth and teeth.
When to see your vet?
Unless hypersalivation occurs for only a short period and then fully resolves, or can be linked to nausea, such as car travel, your pet should always be checked by a vet.
Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of our FirstVet vets for advice, treatment, and if necessary, referral to your local vet.