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Do Golden Retrievers Drool Excessively? 7 Vet-Approved Causes Explained

Written by: Cheryl Regan

Last Updated on May 31, 2024 by Dogster Team

happy golden retriever

Do Golden Retrievers Drool Excessively? 7 Vet-Approved Causes Explained


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It’s normal for dogs with drooping jowls, such as Bloodhounds, Saint Bernards, and Mastiffs, to drool a lot. But, excessive drooling, medically known as ptyalism, is not always normal for Golden Retrievers. Sometimes, it’s a sign that something’s wrong.

Not all excessive drooling is a cause for concern. Like all dogs, Goldern Retrievers drool in anticipation of food. In this article, we’ll take a look at when drooling is normal and what excessive drooling might mean.

Why Do Dogs Drool?

All dogs, including Golden Retrievers, drool for the same reason as humans. When they smell food, anticipate a meal, or see tasty treats, their glands release saliva into their mouth to help them digest food.

A delicious meal will get a Golden Retriever’s mouth watering more than usual. Coincidentally, the same reaction can happen for unpleasant-tasting foods or items, such as medication.

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The 7 Causes of Excessive Drooling in Golden Retrievers

What if your Golden Retriever drools excessively outside of meal times? Several issues may prevent your dog from swallowing properly, leading to a buildup of saliva in their mouth and other conditions that may cause excessive saliva production.

1. Teeth and Gums

Several dental and oral issues could cause your Golden Retriever to drool excessively. It could be due to a bone or other foreign object stuck between their teeth or in their throat. In this case, it’s their body’s natural reaction to having an uncomfortable item lodged inside their mouth.

Fractured teeth, tartar, and irritated gums, amongst other oral issues, can lead to excessive drooling, too. Other signs of dental issues include reduced appetite, whining, and pawing at the mouth. Your dog’s drool might even contain a small amount of blood. Check their mouth for red, swollen gums, and look out for brown spots on their teeth.

If you suspect there’s an issue with their teeth or gums, it’s best to take your pup to a vet for a proper check-up. Swift action can prevent serious problems like major trauma, infections, or tooth loss.

A happy Golden Retriever adult male dog relaxing in a park
Image By: Neelsky, Shutterstock

2. Toxins and Digestive Issues

If your dog has ingested something poisonous, whether a plant in the garden, an insecticide, or nicotine, their body will react to the toxic substance. If poisoning is the cause of excess drooling, it will usually be accompanied by other signs such as nausea, vomiting, shaking, or wobbliness, among others. 

Nausea can also cause your Goldie to drool excessively and display lip-smacking and a refusal to eat. Other digestive issues, such as bloat, may be the culprit. Bloat is a potentially life-threatening condition, so it’s important to act fast. If you think poisoning or bloat is the cause of your dog’s excessive drooling, you should call a vet as soon as possible.

3. Heatstroke

When it comes to regulating their body temperature, dogs don’t have sweat glands. On hot days, you’ll notice your Golden Retriever opening their mouth wide and panting. Along with plenty of water and shade, this should be enough to cool your dog down.

However, excessive drooling on particularly hot days may indicate your dog is overheating. Make sure they have access to drinking water, and do not take them on long walks in the sun. Remember to offer them plenty of shade and preferably a nice pool for them to dip in.

4. Anxiety

Excessive drooling may be a sign that your Golden Retriever is anxious about something. New situations, thunderstorms, and fireworks can make your Golden Retriever anxious.

5. Idiopathic Trigeminal Neuritis

This illness can affect any breed, but Golden Retrievers seem more susceptible. Idiopathic trigeminal neuritis affects the trigeminal nerves on each side of the head, making the dog unable to close their mouth (dropped jaw). The main signs are difficulty in eating and drinking and excessive drooling.

vet checking up on sick Golden Retriever
Image By: StudioByTheSea, Shutterstock

6. Oral Tumors

Tumors in the mouth or throat can cause excessive drooling in dogs. Sometimes, the drool is blood-tinged or foul-smelling. A dog with a tumor may also have bad breath. Other signs include difficulty eating, drinking, and swallowing.

If your dog finds it difficult to swallow, it’s strongly advised that you take them to a vet.

7. Other Problems

There are several other conditions that can cause Golden Retrievers to drool excessively. For example, neuromuscular conditions (e.g., botulism and paralysis), rabies, liver disease, and ear, nose, and throat infections can be causes of excessive drooling.

While some conditions are easier to solve with vet-prescribed medication, others are more serious and need a good care plan.

Wrapping Up

It’s not normal for a Golden Retriever to drool excessively. If there’s no sign of food, excessive drooling in Golden Retrievers usually points to an underlying issue. While some issues, like a small amount of food stuck between their teeth, are easy to solve, others can be life-threatening.

If your dog has suddenly started to drool excessively, look for other signs. Loss of appetite, lethargy, shaking, vomiting, and whining are all signs that require swift action. In the end, you know what’s normal for your dog, and if they are acting in a way that’s concerning, it’s best to take them to see a vet.

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Featured Image Credit: archimede, Shutterstock

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