While we may associate drooling with a hungry dog eyeing up a big bowl full of tasty food, excess salivation is not something we would expect to see in a healthy dog. Some breeds are certainly more prone to drooling than others (such as the Saint Bernard and Rottweiler), but if we notice them drooling more than normal, alarm bells should start ringing.
What can cause increased drooling?
Potential considerations would include:
- Dental disease (which can include gingivitis, a build-up of calculus on the teeth, a fractured tooth and rotten teeth).
- An oral mass. This could be a cancerous tumour or a benign growth such as a gum epulis or wart.
- A foreign body such as a piece of wood or plastic lodged in the roof of the mouth or between teeth.
- Nausea. Feeling sick can make a dog drool and this is typically accompanied by vomiting and a reduced appetite.
- Toxin ingestion can cause a sudden and marked increase in drooling. Depending on what has been ingested, we might also see wobbly walking, dilated pupils and vomiting.
- Oral ulcers. Whether caused by a dog having eaten something they shouldn’t have or a disease such as kidney failure, mouth ulcers can make a dog drool quite a lot.
What are the signs of dental disease other than drooling?
Most owners assume that a dog with diseased teeth will stop eating. However, this is rarely the case. In fact, for a dog to go off their food completely would be almost unheard of. Instead, most dogs plod along despite the great deal of discomfort they are likely in. Certainly, their appetite may dip and we might notice they opt for soft rather than crunchy food.
On top of a change in appetite and drooling, we may notice: Bad breath, bright red gums, discoloured teeth and chewing on one side of the mouth or slower eating. With significant dental issues, dogs may also yelp and tremble when eating.
What should I do if I think my dog has dental disease?
There is only one real course of action for those with established dental disease. They will need to have a dental treatment at the vet under a general anaesthetic. This will allow for all of the teeth to be scaled and polished and for any rotten teeth to be removed. Most will be prescribed a course of pain relief and anti-inflammatories and some will also need antibiotics and medicated mouthwash.
While a procedure under an anaesthetic may sound worrying, dental procedures are commonly done and are generally very safe. Many worry about their dog coping when they are an advanced age but vets are well used to performing dentals in seniors. Indeed, not performing the dental would typically pose much more of a risk to a dog.
Is there any way to prevent dental disease?
Absolutely! Although some dogs are more prone to dental issues (namely small dogs like Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus as well as Greyhounds and their relatives), we can vastly improve the dental health of most by following a few simple steps:
- Brush teeth daily using a small brush and doggy tooth paste
- Discuss preventative care products with your vet (such as Logic Gel or Plaque Off powder)
- Consider feeding a hard kibble rather than a wet food
- Offer treats aimed towards maintaining dental health such as Pooch & Mutt’s Fresh Breath Mini Bones and Dental Meaty Treats
Can Dental Treats really help?
There is no doubt that feeding the right treats can go a long way towards maintaining good oral hygiene.
Fresh Breath Mini Bones are ideal to feed when out and about and to offer as training and reward treats. The added peppermint oil and parsley both have antimicrobial properties, limiting the level of bacteria in the mouth. A reduced bacterial load means less plaque and thus a reduced calculus build up and healthier gums. Of course, the minty fresh smell they deliver is a lovely bonus!
Dental Meaty Treats are new to the Pooch & Mutt range and are sure to become firm favourites with many. Shaped like teeth and flavoured with duck and herbs, your dog will find them irresistible. The rosemary and sage that have been added are naturally antibacterial, meaning less plaque and better breath. These little treats also contain collagen, which aids gum repair and reduces gingivitis. On top of this, Dental Meaty Treats are packed with Sodium HMP, which has been scientifically proven to aid in plaque breakdown.
So, when it comes to caring for your dog, don’t forget about their pearly whites. There is lots that can be done to keep them in tip top shape and to keep that breath smelling clean and fresh.