Excessive Drooling in Dogs all of a Sudden, in Car, at Night Causes and Treatments

Excessive drooling in dogs

Are you experiencing excessive drooling in dogs and wondering why? The causes for this range from things as simple as the presence of a foreign object in the throat to conditions as complex as liver or kidney disease. We explore the causes of abnormal and sudden drooling, drooling at night in sleep, while left alone and in car.  We also explore the appropriate treatments for your dog’s excessive drooling.

Excessive Drooling In Dogs

Salivation in a dog occurs as a response to stimuli. Saliva is important because it lubricates the mouth, has antiseptic properties, digestive enzymes and prevents gum disease and tooth decay. Drooling is normal among dogs especially when they are excited and happy. This is the reason why you can observe drooling when a dog is about to get a treat. It is usually not a sign of ill health. Some dogs tend to drool more than others depending on the physical conformation of their mouth.

However, excessive drooling in dogs should be of concern. Excessive drooling or hypersalivation, which is referred to as ptyalism in medical terms occurs when more saliva than your dog can swallow is produced by the salivary glands. When it accumulates it could cause irritation and inflammation on the lips and mouth of your dog.

Accompanying Symptoms for Dog Drooling Excessively

As indicated above, drooling is normal and varies among breeds. However, excessive drooling can be uncontrollable and unusual. It can be identified by changes in the consistency and characteristics of the saliva. Some symptoms that show in addition to hypersalivation include:

  • Production of more than normal saliva for no apparent reason
  • Inflammation around the lips and mouth which result from excess moisture
  • Change in general behavior
  • Failure to eat
  • A foamy consistency in the saliva.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

The cause of excessive drooling could be localized to problems in the throat or mouth. In more serious situations, it could be as a result of systematic disorders. Conditions such as rabies are known to cause excessive drooling too. Below we delve into the causes of excessive drooling in dogs.

Causes of Excessive Drooling in Dogs

What causes excessive drooling in dogs? In most cases, excessive drooling in dogs is caused by the presence of foreign objects or diseases in the mouth. Using a flash light to inspect the mouth can at times help in pointing out what the cause is. Some of the common reasons for excessive drooling include:

Foreign Objects

The presence of foreign objects such as pieces of clothing, bone fragments of pieces of wood stuck beneath the tongue, in gums or in between teeth can see your dog drooling excessively. If you identify foreign objects that are not embedded in the flesh, you can try to remove them. In case this is not possible, visit your vet.


Gingivitis is an oral condition characterized by sensitivity of the gums, redness, accumulation of tartar and exposed roots of the teeth. It could occur with or without puss. This condition can cause excessive drooling in dogs.


This is an inflammation affecting deeper supportive structures of the teeth. It is as a result of the advancement of gingivitis. It is a painful condition which will see your dog experiencing abnormally heavy drooling, being reluctant to eat as well as dropping food from the mouth. To eliminate excessive drooling the condition has to be treated so see your vet immediately.

Tooth Abscess

An abscessed tooth is painful and will bring along various symptoms one of which is unusual drooling. Additionally, a tooth abscess will see pus oozing out and swelling which may be visible from outside just below the dog’s eyes.

Oral Tumors

Tumors in the mouth could cause your dog to drool excessively. They are usually accompanied by bad breath difficulty eating and a difficulty in breathing.


Excessive drooling and panting in dogs is common when your dog has been in the sun for long. If unchecked stroke can be a life-threatening condition. In addition to drooling the saliva will be thick, tongue bright red. Vomiting may also be experienced. Seek immediate treatment for heat stroke.

Objects in Esophagus

The presence of foreign objects in the esophagus will result in sudden gagging, regurgitating and drooling. It will also experience difficulty in swallowing as the foreign object causes partial obstruction. To avoid further damage such as perforation of the esophagus and a worsening of the symptoms, see your vet immediately.

General Pain

Pain in various part of the body can see your dog suffer from excessive drooling. The pain can be as a result of various conditions such as insecticides, food and antifreeze poisoning in dogs, bloating, infections in the eyes or ears, gland impactions as well as bloating.

Liver Disease

When the liver cannot function properly, it fails in the removal of excess ammonia from the dog’s body. This results in dysfunctionality in the brain. This produces additional symptoms such as drooling, weakness, and disorientation.

Motion Sickness

Some dogs will experience motion sickness while traveling by car. As a result, they will experience nausea and extreme drooling. This can be resolved by feeding your dog some ginger before the onset of your journey.


Rabies may result in paralysis of the muscles responsible for enhancing swallowing. When these malfunction there is excessive drooling in dogs. Your dog will also exhibit irrational behavior such as incoordination, aggressiveness and disorientation.

Consumption of Poisonous Plants

Some dogs chew on plants, and certain plants can be toxic for dogs and could see your pet suffer excessive drooling. These include azaleas, tulips, and chrysanthemums.

Allergic Reactions

Some dogs will be allergic to some foods resulting in increased drooling. This is in addition to symptoms such as panting, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Injuries in the Mouth

Physical injuries in the mouth may result in immediate excessive drooling in dogs. A quick inspection of the mouth will reveal gums and surrounding that are purple in case of bruises and red where the injury resulted in bleeding.

Inflammation of the Tonsils

Inflamed tonsils make swallowing hard for your dog. This leads to an accumulation of saliva in the mouth and drooling with time.


Infections are indicated by the presence of pus in the mouth. The discharge usually has a foul smell and is colored green or yellow making the mouth have unusual bad breath. While minor irritations can be taken care of at home, serious oral infections require immediate attention from your veterinarian.


In addition to the above, there are various conditions known to result in excessive drooling in pets. These include metabolic disorders such as uremia and hyperthermia as well as neurologic disorders such as botulism and tetanus. When you cannot pinpoint the cause, visit your veterinarian immediately for a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

My Dog Is Drooling Excessively

A dog that starts to drool a lot progressively as opposed to suddenly may be telling you something. It could be an indication of a developing infection which if left unchecked will see the dog’s excessive drooling become constant.

Conditions affecting vital organs also start developing slowly until such a time when the drooling becomes severe. To best dead with a lot of drooling in dogs, it is best to have your pet checked immediately you notice a change in its drooling pattern.

Why is My Dog Drooling all of a Sudden – Sudden Excessive Drooling in Dogs

Sudden excessive drooling in dogs can be as a result of reasons discussed above. When a dog consumes poison in the form of household items, plants or toxic foods, the drooling may appear suddenly. The presence of foreign bodies in the throat can also be indicated by an immediate onset of drooling as soon as the object gets stuck.

Excessive Heavy Drooling in Dogs while Sleeping in Crate and at Night

In most cases, excessive drooling that occurs in dogs at night and when they are sleeping is caused by their sleeping position. When dogs sleep with their heads to the side their mouth is likely to get slightly opened and gravity will cause the saliva to drain out as opposed to getting swallowed. Where this only starts happening suddenly, any of the causes discussed above could be the reason.

Excessive Drooling in Dogs While Left alone and in Car

As discussed above, motion sickness is one of the causes of increased drooling in dogs. Additionally, any other situation that leads to the dog getting stressed will lead to drooling. Some dogs will suffer anxiety when left alone causing drooling.

Additionally, dogs could experience excessive drooling from other health conditions. It is common for dogs to drool more after vomiting. Conditions that make them lethargic could cause hyper-salivation too.

Excessive Drooling in Dogs Treatment

The treatment offered for excessive drooling in dogs is dependent on the cause and as seen above, these can be varied. Some remedies for the condition include:

  1. Dental cleaning and surgery for dental issues.
  2. Removal of foreign bodies. This may require your pet to be sedated or anesthetized.
  3. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory medication to treat infections.
  4. Endoscopy to get rid of foreign bodies in the esophagus.
  5. Appropriate therapy for kidney and liver-related excessive drooling.