Why Do Dogs Drool When They See Food?

dog looking at food and drooling

Dog’s drool when they see food because their body is preparing to eat. When the brain (in both humans and dogs) anticipates something, the body reacts as if it’s already happening. Saliva is essential in the digestive process. When your dog drools at the sight of food, its body is preparing to digest.

Just like most other creatures, dogs are fond of food. They are likely to get excited upon seeing something delicious, whether this is their regular food or a yummy treat. They may even whip out the puppy dog eyes next to the table if they see their humans have something incredibly delicious on their plate!

You may notice that your dog sometimes drools when begging for food or seeing something delicious. When dogs eat, they produce saliva to help with digestion. If your dog sees food, its mouth will likely salivate ahead of time.

Benefits of Drool

Drool is not harmful. The only drawback is the mess it creates. The good news is there are plenty of benefits to saliva. It keeps the digestive system running correctly and can also help keep their teeth clean!

Digestion

Drool, as mentioned, is helpful in the digestive process. It helps get food into the stomach by pushing it through the esophagus.

In humans, this process is done through chewing, which is what produces enough saliva to help digestion. In dogs, enough saliva is usually already produced to get the food into the stomach. The digestive system, from the esophagus on, will do the rest of it.

Antibacterial

If your dog has a cut or an injury, you will often see them licking their wound. In most cases, this is actually beneficial! The saliva can help get rid of harmful bacteria, which can prevent infection.

Of course, saliva alone isn’t always enough to prevent infection. If it is a deep wound or something more than a superficial injury, visit your veterinarian.

Anti-Cavity

Believe it or not, your dog’s saliva is also helping their teeth! Because dog saliva has a slightly higher pH than human saliva, it has alkaline properties. Your pup’s saliva helps stave off bacteria from their teeth and is the reason your dog’s enamel is likely to last longer than your own.

Drooling in Dogs

Now that you understand the reason for drool, let’s go over why some dogs drool more excessively than others.

Excitement

When dogs are excited, they are less likely to control their mouth. This means they are likely to drool a lot more. Their salivary glands may also kick up a bit because of their excitement. This is a normal response, so there is no need to worry.

Your pup may start drooling as they get close to an off-leash area they enjoy or if they see a dog they want to play with. Something as simple as seeing a fun toy could also cause this response. Drooling is a typical sign of excitement in many dogs.

Other than preparing for digestion, your dog may drool at the sight of food because of excitement.

Anxiety

Stressed or anxious dogs are likely to pant or drool excessively as a nervous system response. If a dog has separation anxiety, they may start drooling more when they notice their human is about to leave.

Many dogs who are stressed in cars will drool as soon as the vehicle moves. If your dog is in a new place or around new people, it could cause them to be stressed and drool more than usual.

The best thing to do is provide comfort for your dog or train them to get used to these stressors. If there is a clear external stressor, like a loud alarm freaking them out, you can try removing it.

Exertion and Heat

If your dog is hot or has been running around, they will probably be panting. This can cause excess saliva. Panting is a way for them to cool themselves down.

Always make sure your dog has enough water when running around. On hot days, make sure they have plenty of shade as well.

Can You Stop Dogs from Drooling?

The short answer is no, you can never completely stop a dog from drooling. If your dog is drooling excessively because of the heat or exertion, you can try using air conditioning to bring their body temperature down. In the summer, it is best to avoid walks during the hottest part of the day to not risk heat stroke.

Make sure they have fresh water available throughout the day. This will calm down their salivary response for a bit. If it is extra hot, you can add ice cubes to your dog’s water. Change the water often so that your dog is getting fresh water and is not consuming any bacteria.

For dogs that drool a lot, you may need to get a bandana or a bib for them. You may also need to wipe their mouth after a run or playtime.

Dog Breeds Prone to Excess Drool

Some breeds are more likely to excessively drool. For example, hunting dogs are prone to excessive drooling because of their large jowls.

If excessive drooling bothers you, avoid the following breeds.

Bloodhounds

Bloodhounds are known for their incredible sense of smell. They are often used for hunting or as working dogs. However, because of their long faces, they also are likely to drip a lot of saliva!

Saint Bernards

Saint Bernards are known as gentle giants. They are great, sturdy dogs and usually very friendly. They are also often working dogs. But they definitely are prone to excessive drooling because of their large jowls.

Bulldogs

Bulldogs have a bit of an underbite, which results in there being no seal. This causes most of their saliva to dribble out rather than stay in their mouth.

Mastiffs

Because of their wrinkles and loose jowls, mastiffs will also drool a lot. They are also huge dogs that used to be used as guard dogs but were also used for hunting. They have very loose lips, which also results in less of a seal. More saliva is produced than can be contained in their mouths, resulting in drooly dogs.

Drooling and Food Go Hand in Hand

Dog’s drool when they see food because they are excited about food and are likely preparing their digestive system. Some dogs drool way more than others, and you can never completely eliminate drooling.

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