You love your curly-haired poodle: he’s smart, doesn’t shed, and usually doesn’t drool much. But sometimes, your furry buddy drools more than is normal. When this happens, it’s normal to become concerned and wonder if there is something more going on.
Drooling in poodles is a normal bodily reaction to stimuli and is not, in and of itself, a cause for concern. Poodles drool as a result of hunger, stress, teething, a female’s heat cycle, or excessive external temperatures. In rare cases, drooling may be something more serious and require the advice of a vet.
Read on to find out what to be on the lookout for when it comes to your poodle’s drooling, when it may be time to take him to the vet, and some tips to prevent excessive drooling in your pet.
Why Do Poodles Drool? (And What to do about it)
While poodles do drool, they are actually known as one of the least likely dog breeds to drool excessively. If excessive drooling is bothersome or causes allergy problems in your home, poodles are usually a good choice. However, if you find your poodle is drooling beyond what is normally produced at mealtimes, you should take a look at your poodle’s environment and try to determine the cause.
Poodles often drool as a result of:
1. Hunger or The Anticipation of Food
When your poodle smells or sees food, it’s not unusual for the mouth to produce additional saliva, as an involuntary reaction. Saliva helps break down food and helps prepare your poodle for a tasty treat. There’s nothing wrong with this very natural response.
What to do about it: If your poodle is drooling regularly as you are about to sit down to eat your food, it may help to feed him at the same time. That way, your pup won’t sit near the table drooling, because he is happily eating his own meal.
2. New Stimuli Causing Excitement or Stress
Is Your poodle’s environment stressful with excessive noise, new people, or frequent relocation? Poodles are an intelligent and easily trained breed, but they are also very sensitive and easily stressed. Introducing your dog to new situations can often trigger a drooling response.
What to do about it: Keep your voice down, be gentle, patient, and reassuring with your poodle. If possible, take a break from stressful situations and offer comfort.
If your poodle is young, he may be teething just like human babies do. Your poodle puppy will want to bite objects as this feels good on the gums. However, as with human babies, drooling is almost always associated with teething
What to do about it: Power through with some chew toys. You can even put some of his toys in the freezer to make the gnawing experience one that provides cool relief.
4. A Female’s First Heat
Do you have a female poodle? If so, when she goes into her first heat, drooling is a common symptom.
What to do about it: Spay your poodle as soon it is safe to do so. Spaying your female poodle can often prevent drooling, but can also reduce the chance of developing infections and a variety of cancers in your dog.
5. Extreme External Temperature
When it’s hot out, you may notice your poodle drooling more. This makes sense as panting is a dog’s way of cooling off. When dogs pant, the mouth is open longer, and drool can seep out.
What to do about it: Get your dog to a cool place, give him a drink, and ice cubes if available. Let your poodle cool down so he won’t have to pant – and drool – so much.
Most reasons for your poodle’s drool are very natural and are usually easily managed. However, sometimes, there are less common reasons for your poodle’s drool.
Less Common Reasons a Poodle May Drool
If you can’t pinpoint the cause for your poodle drooling to a normal response to the environment, there may be a more uncommon reason for your poodle’s drool. Sometimes drooling can be a symptom of other, more serious health concerns.
Less common reasons a poodle may drool include:
1. Difficulty Swallowing
Difficulty swallowing can be caused by any number of conditions. Your dog may have choked down a piece of a tennis ball. He may have caught a cold, which is giving him a sore throat, making it difficult to swallow his saliva. Your poodle could even have an esophageal disease.
2. An Upset Stomach
Your poodle’s sudden excessive drooling may be because of an upset stomach and nausea. Like humans, poodles may react negatively to a change in diet or certain foods, rich foods, or even stressful or new situations.
3. Reaction to Something Poisonous
Though frightening, your poodle may have gotten into a cleaning product or eaten something that has gone bad.
4. Oral or Dental Disease
Your poodle may have dental issues such as a cavity or mouth sores that are causing him to produce excess saliva due to the pain.
5. Fever or Heat Stroke
Your poodle may have a fever or rabies. When dogs have overheated, they pant, which produces saliva and drool. ‘
Rabies will appear as a very excessive, foamy drool and would be present with other symptoms of rabies, such as agitation, disorientation, or a stumbling gait.
Because rabies has multiple symptoms and is extremely serious, you should contact a qualified veterinarian immediately to determine what is going on.
How to Stop a Poodle from Drooling Excessively
So now that you know some of the common and not so common reasons for your poodle’s excessive drool, what are some things you can do to help stop your dog’s drool when it starts?
Ways to help stop your poodle from drooling include:
- Look for a blockage in the throat. If he will let you, use a flashlight to look into his mouth and throat to see if there is any foreign object blocking part of the airway. Unless it is very easily removed, don’t attempt to remove the object from the throat yourself. Get to the vet.
- Check out your poodle’s teeth. Poor oral health can be a major cause of excess drool. If there is a dental issue going on, you may be able to spot the cause. This will also require a trip to the vet.
- Look for Behavioral causes. Try to pinpoint the stressors and provide comfort, reassurance, and positive reinforcement. If your poodle’s anxiety is hard to reduce on your own, talk to your vet.
- Create a low–stress environment. Make sure your dog has a quiet place to go when the house is loud, or guests are noisy. A relaxing, uncluttered spot with room to move around and comforting toys is a great location to allow your dog learn to retreat to.
- Learn to manage the drool. If there are times you know your dog will drool, like in the car, bring along a towel and let your pup wear a bandana to help soak it up. Sometimes, you can’t prevent drooling, and you just have to deal with it.
In many cases, a trip to the vet is an important part of knowing how to treat the cause of your poodle’s drooling.
Ask Your Vet for Help
Your poodle needs regular visits to the vet, regardless of whether anything seems to be wrong. If he spends any amount of time outside, he risks contact with animals who have rabies. Additionally, he may pick up ticks or fleas, which may give him illnesses resulting in excessive drooling.
Regular visits to the vet can provide him with the right vaccines and medications to protect him and ensure he stays healthy and happy.
Tips to Help Prevent Your Poodle’s Excessive Drool
As mentioned above, one of the best things you can do to help prevent your poodle’s drool is to create that stress-free environment. Now, no house can be 100% stress-free, but I do have some ideas to help.
Owners should be consistent and have boundaries to limit their poodle’s stress and keep them healthy, happy, and safe.
1. Develop a Routine with Your Poodle – and Stick to It
Picking a routine and sticking with it is so important to managing stress and lets your poodle know what to expect on a regular basis.
TIP: Poodles are creatures of habit and routine; Routines make them feel safe and comfortable.
For example, if you get up during the week at 6 AM, feed your poodle breakfast, and then take him for a walk before work, then go through the same routine on the weekend.
2. Keep Your Poodle Active with Regular Exercise
Make sure your pup is getting regular exercise to help burn off that excess energy and reduce drooling. If your dog has some anxiety, this is even more important. Regular exercise has been found to be very effective in reducing anxiety and drooling in dogs.
TIP: It is recommended that poodles get anywhere from 30-60 minutes of exercise a day.
Take your poodle for walks or play fetch. Humans get bored when they do not have enough activity to occupy their minds, and poodles are no different.
3. Be Mindful of Your Own Behavior
Keep the finger shaking and scolding tones to a minimum. Poodles are sensitive, so be gentle in tone and body language.
TIP: Be consistent in the way you discipline your poodle verbally.
For example, if your poodle is barking and you want him to be quiet, use one word to tell them, so he does not get confused.
4. Maintain Important Boundaries
This one’s all about safety. It can be tempting to give in to the big, sad, pleading eyes, but do your best to avoid giving them table scraps, or if you do, take note of their physical reactions afterward.
TIP: Poodles may have a sensitivity or allergy to certain foods – and that can cause drool.
Young dogs and especially puppies see everything as a toy. So, if they come across something that looks chewable, they will go for it. With that in mind, be sure to keep cleaning products securely closed, locked, and away from your dog. When in doubt, use child locks on the cabinets where you keep them stored.
While all this information may seem to be a lot just for a little bit of extra drool, you can see that the causes can run the gamut from harmless to life-threatening.
So, the more you get into the habit and observe your poodle and his needs, the more you will start to pinpoint how, when, and why they get anxious and need your help. You’ll also be able to determine when drooling is something more than environmental, and you need a vet’s help to address the underlying issue.