Updated: October 13th, 2022
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All dogs, including Golden Retrievers, drool. But it is not true that all dogs drool excessively. It tends to be dogs with drooping jowls, such as Saint Bernards and Mastiffs, that can’t regulate their drool and leave you with a mess to clean up. Most Goldens will only drool when they smell something tasty that they want to chow down.
If your Golden Retriever starts drooling excessively or more often than usual, this can be a sign that something is not quite right with them. It might be something minor, like a small stone stuck in their teeth, or it might be something serious, such as kidney or liver issues. Knowing why your dog is drooling requires you to look at their circumstances and identify other symptoms.
In this article, I will take you through the 10 most common reasons why Golden Retrievers start to drool excessively. I will also identify accompanying symptoms and let you know when it is time to rush your beloved canine to the vet.
Don’t worry. Fortunately, most of the time, a little bit of drool is nothing to worry about. But knowing when you should be worried can ensure you will prevent anything happening to your best Golden friend.
Why Do Golden Retrievers Drool?
A healthy Golden Retriever actually drools for the same reasons as humans. If something smells good, their mouths will start producing drool in anticipation of devouring the yummy morsel. Even just the thought of some tasty treats can start their mouth watering.
However, they might also start drooling if they accidentally eat something that doesn’t appeal to their taste buds. This is a natural response to wash the taste out of their mouth.
Thankfully, these two main reasons for drooling are completely normal and to be expected from most dogs, especially when they’re around or eating food.
When Is Drooling An Issue?
While healthy Golden Retrievers will drool a moderate amount on the odd occasion, excessive drooling or drooling repeatedly without an obvious cause can be a sign of a variety of minor and serious medical issues that require attention.
Continue reading for the 10 most likely causes of your Golden Retriever drooling excessively.
10 Possible Causes For Excessive Drooling
Dogs don’t have sweat glands, so they can’t sweat like humans. Instead, they open their mouths and pant to lower their body temperature. But when things get really hot, panting might not be enough. Their bodies could also start producing drool. As they pant and the air cools this drool, this can help them lower their body temperatures more quickly.
However, you should only expect to notice this when your dog is very hot!
You should always be monitoring your dog to make sure they can stay at a comfortable temperature. In the hotter months, that means ensuring that they always have cool water to drink, not taking them for long runs in the hot sun, making sure they always have a cool and shady spot to lie down, and letting your Golden take a dip to cool off, since they love the water.
2. Excitement Or Anxiety
It is not just food that can get your dog’s excitement hormones racing and drool glands producing. If they are very excited over something (perhaps a dog of the other sex) or they are very worried about something (perhaps separation anxiety), they can also begin to drool.
This is more common with dogs that have not been trained to know what to expect in certain situations and what is expected from them in different scenarios. It can also happen with pups that aren’t well socialized, as they can’t deal with the new smells of other animals and people in the same way as a well socialized dog.
A well trained and well socialized pup is less likely to start drooling in new or exciting situations. If your dog is usually well behaved and suddenly seems to start drooling in excitement or anxiety, this can be a sign that something has happened which is upsetting them. Try and figure out what may have changed in their lives, and also consult your vet.
Learn about separation anxiety in Golden Retrievers here.
3. Object Lodged In Mouth
Since dogs don’t have the luxury of opposable thumbs, they tend to explore the world and just get things done with their mouths. Constantly picking up, licking and chewing things means that it is easy for small foreign objects to get caught around their teeth and gums.
If something is lodged where it shouldn’t be, they might start drooling as a natural strategy to dislodge the objects. You may also notice them working their mouths and tongues, perhaps making yawning motions frequently.
If your dog seems to be drooling for no reason, check their mouths for foreign objects, and give their teeth a good clean just in case.
4. Dental Issues
Dental issues can cause Golden Retrievers to start drooling in the same way as foreign objects. Their bodies know something is not quite right in their mouth and can produce excessive drool to try and wash out the problem.
Again, you should check their mouth to see what is wrong, and also take them to the vet for a dental check up if you notice excessive drooling.
Ideally, you should be brushing your dog’s teeth every day, though you can make that a little less frequent with good quality dental chews. You can read all of our canine oral health tips here.
5. Digestive Issues
Digestive issues can cause drooling, too. This happens when the stomach fills up with gas, acids, or other substances. These can upset your dog’s digestive system and affect their mouth as well.
While digestive issues will often pass on their own, as long as your dog isn’t eating anything to exacerbate the problem, this is something to keep an eye on.
Look for other signs that your dog may be suffering from digestive distress, such as bloating and pain. These are all serious enough symptoms to take your dog to the vet.
6. Motion Sickness
Is your dog’s drooling mainly associated with trips in the car? If so, the culprit could be motion sickness. While most dogs like to stick their head out the window and feel the air on their faces, not all dogs do well in the car. Some dogs, just like some humans, start to feel ill in the car. In severe cases, just the thought of going in the car can trigger feelings of nausea.
Motion sickness is caused by an inconsistency between what your body is feeling in terms of motion and the motion that your brain thinks that you should be feeling. Being able to see clearly out of a car window so the brain can equalize what is happening can help. So, rather than putting your dog in the back, get them a car safety harness, and ensure they have a window seat.
If this doesn’t help, limit their time in the car and speak to your vet about medication.
7. Nerve Damage
Nerve damage around the mouth, caused by an injury or something internal such as a tumor, can also trigger your dog to start drooling. You will probably also notice associated symptoms such as not being able to properly close their mouth and trouble eating and drinking.
This can be a very serious issue, and the best thing you can do is take your dog directly to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
It is a bit of a cliche that rabid dogs drool, but it is actually true! Drooling is one of the first signs of rabies, though it is often accompanied by fever, seizures, and sometimes paralysis.
Rabies vaccines only last for a year, so you need to make sure your dog is vaccinated regularly. Rabies is fatal in almost 90% of cases for unvaccinated dogs, so this is an important shot!
If you suspect your dog has been exposed to rabies, you should secure them and take them to the vet immediately. Be careful, since rabies is highly contagious and can pass to other animals and humans.
I have already mentioned that it is common for dogs to start drooling to get an unpleasant taste out of their mouth, but it may be more than just the taste of something that is affecting them. If your dog’s body is reacting to something toxic, they might start drooling as a strategy to help deal with the poison.
You will know that it is something toxic rather than just distasteful if the drooling is accompanied by pain and nausea. This is when you should take your dog to the vet so they can try to flush out the toxin before it can hurt your pet.
It is also a good idea to educate yourself about what your dog can and can’t eat. While you can’t always control everything that your dog puts in their mouth, dogs can often be poisoned when they share human food that is poisonous to them, such as Halloween candy and chocolate cake. Know what your dog can and can’t eat, and generally don’t share your food with them and let them eat their own special food.
10. Liver Or Kidney Issues
If something is not right with one of your dog’s major internal organs, in particular the stomach, liver, or kidneys, your dog may start drooling excessively since all of these parts of the body are connected.
These kinds of serious medical issues will be associated with other symbols. For example, liver problems can also cause your dog to become weak and lethargic and lose their natural coordination. Kidney issues can make it difficult for your dog to stay on their feet and cause them serious pain.
These kinds of issues need to be treated quickly, so seek veterinary attention immediately!
When To Rush To The Vet
I have highlighted some minor problems and some serious issues that can cause your dog to drool excessively. But how do you know when to try and deal with the problem yourself and when to rush to the vet?
Excessive drooling or drooling without an apparent cause will very rarely be the only symptom your dog is displaying if they are suffering from an issue. You should also notice signs that an area of your dog’s body is causing them discomfort, or that they are in pain. You might also notice symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, and disorientation.
Drooling alone is rarely a cause for concern, but it can be the first sign that causes you to examine your dog’s behavior more closely and notice other issues that signal all is not right. It is this combination of symptoms that lets you know that this is an emergency best dealt with immediately by a medical professional.
Which dog breeds drool the most?
It tends to be dog breeds with drooping jowls that drool the most. This includes Basset hounds, bloodhounds, boxers, bulldogs, great danes, and mastiffs.
Why would a dog suddenly start drooling?
If something delicious hasn’t just passed under their nose, dogs will start drooling suddenly to deal with an issue. This could be an unpleasant or toxic taste in their mouth, something lodged in their teeth or gums, or gas coming up from an upset stomach.
Thankfully, Golden Retrievers aren’t the biggest droolers in the canine world. It is a shame that the same can’t be said when it comes to shedding!
In both cases, it is important to know and understand what is and isn’t normal for your dog. For instance, it is normal for your Golden to get a little bit of drool around the mouth when they smell you cooking dinner or you open a pack of their favorite treats.
But if they start drooling more than is normal for them, this should call you to observe your dog closely. Look at their surroundings and other symptoms to try and determine what is happening with your dog and how worried you should be.
If you notice any of the following symptoms in addition to drooling, contact your vet as soon as possible:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drowsiness or confusion
- Shaking or trembling