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Causes, solutions for dog drool

By HELEN PALMER

Contributing Writer

Some friends and I were talking and one mentioned that she had just purchased a puppy about four months ago and suddenly he has started drooling. What a discussion that subject created! Here are some of the comments and ideas that were batted around at that get-together.

First, our friend had purchased her pup without seeing any adult of the breed. Unfortunately there are a number of breeds that drool and she had selected one of the worst.

I encourage all my readers to prepare themselves before selecting a breed or even a mixed breed. Go to the library and read about all the breeds that interest you. Then, plan to go to a dog show.

If this reader had checked the breed at a show, she would have seen large bibs or terry towels tied around the necks of the dogs as they waited their turns in the ring. She would have seen the handlers carefully wiping the dogs’ mouths during the grooming process. Finally, she would have seen small towels tucked in the pockets or crushed in the hands of the handlers as they gaited and posed the dogs in the ring.

Our friend was so distressed by the amount of drool that she was talking about “getting rid of it.” However, she has bonded with the pup and hates the idea of giving it up.

After listening to her, I responded that if she came to the point of looking for another home for her pet, she should first contact the breeder of the dog and see if that person would help in finding a suitable home. If the breeder cannot or will not help, there are rescue groups for this breed who screen and check on potential new homes for returned animals.

Although there are the breeds known to drool constantly, all dogs may drool under certain conditions. Motion sickness is one cause of excessive drooling. Apprehension is another. Any dog taken into a strange situation may start panting rapidly from fear. This results in hypersalivation or drooling.

This is one reason people, wanting to show their dogs in conformation or obedience, take the animals to classes and then to fun matches. Such exposure teaches the dogs that there is nothing to fear.

Tranquilizers can cause drooling, so if the dog is accompanying you on vacation and you get a sedative from the veterinarian, you should be prepared with paper and terry towels “just in case.”

One of my dogs dug up an ancient chop bone and wedged it across the roof of her mouth. She was pawing at her mouth when I checked on her, and the fear in her eyes turned to panic as we drove to the veterinarian. Fortunately she responded to calming tones during the ride as I mopped up the saliva that poured from her open mouth.

However, if you are not familiar with the dog, you should not even try to look into its mouth to see if there is a foreign object. Both rabies and distemper cause hypersalivation and the veterinarian is the one to diagnose and treat those problems.