Reasons for Excessive Drooling in Cats and Dogs

The old saying goes that cats’ rule while dogs drool. We, as animal lovers, can see the truth in this, especially if we have both dogs and cats. I have plenty of both so I can see the logic of this statement.

Cats are fastidious groomers and rarely drool in the way dogs do. If they do, you need to go and see your vet as there is probably something wrong. In the same way, if you have dogs that start drooling excessively, there is probably a reason behind it. A trip to the vet is recommended.

Yes, it is normal for dogs to drool when they are happy. Saliva is important because it lubricates the mouth as well as having antiseptic properties. You may notice that dogs drool when they are getting a treat. However excess drooling is a cause for concern.

So what can be the reason behind their drooling? It could be as simple as a foreign body lodged in the throat or more worryingly, it could be liver or kidney disease. In-between these two extremes there is a host of other factors that could be causing the excessive drooling.

Symptoms for Dogs Drooling

You will notice that your dogs have a problem if you examine their saliva. They will probably produce more saliva than usual, and you might notice inflammation around the lips and mouths. They might also have diarrhea and vomiting, and the saliva may take on a foamy consistency.

Symptoms for Cats Drooling

As I said, it is unusual to find cats drooling. If they are, you may notice bad breath, a failure to eat, and weight loss.

What Causes Excessive Drooling?

Dental Disease

Dental disease can affect both dogs and cats and cause them to drool. They might have a tooth abscess or oral tumors.

A tooth abscess is extremely painful. Apart from the increase in saliva you will find pus oozing out of the abscess and there will also be swelling. I once had a fantastic cat called Oberon who kept on having ulcers. He had to have them lanced and he went on antibiotics to get rid of the infection.

Oral tumors can also cause your pet to drool too much. They will have bad breath and difficulty eating as well as breathing.

Gingivitis is an oral condition which can be seen if the gums of your dogs and cats are red and there seems to be an accumulation of tartar. There could be pus as well, although this doesn’t always occur.

In the extreme, your pets may have periodontitis. This is an inflammation of the supportive structures of the teeth. It causes heavy drooling as well as a lack of appetite. This is a condition which needs help from your vet

Cats can get feline resorptive lesions, also called FORL. It can be seen as a red line along the gum although a lot of tartar can hide it. It is very painful and can even cause fractures of the teeth, bad breath, little appetite, and drooling. If it’s not treated, your cat will be in considerable pain and will lose weight.


If your pets are in the sun too much, they may get heatstroke. In dogs you may see excessive drooling and panting, but it might not be so obvious in cats. If the weather suddenly becomes hot, keep an eye on your cats and dogs. As well as drooling, their saliva will be thicker and their tongues bright red. You will need to get veterinary help immediately as heat stroke leads to death.

Foreign Objects

Foreign objects in the esophagus can cause serious problems in both dogs and cats, although it is more likely with dogs. They do like to chew on anything that they find and what can you do about it? I’ve tried, but it still happens.

If there are foreign objects in the esophagus your cats or dogs will start to gag, regurgitate, and drool.

You can try to remove these foreign objects if they are not embedded in the flesh. Otherwise go and see your vet.


Unfortunately, your cats or dogs may be poisoned. This can be deliberate as it is here on the island of Crete where I live. Not everyone loves animals as we do and here, they put poisons out near the dustbins to get rid of strays. It’s not nice, but it is something we have to contend with. We are always careful near bins and stop our dogs from eating anything near them. With cats it can be more difficult which is why I have decided to just have indoor cats.

Cats are less able to metabolize drugs or chemicals than dogs, so things like laundry detergent and other cleaners can be corrosive in cats, while in dogs they just be an irritant.

If your cats ingest any household products you will see burns in their mouths and on their tongues. Accidental poisoning can result in a lot of drooling in your cats. If this is the case try and wash their mouths out with water and give them something tasty to eat, like chicken broth or canned tuna water. This should help them to get back to normal. If there seems to be some doubt that this is working, take your cats to the vet to be looked over.

Certain plants can also cause your cat to drool. This includes plants such as calla lily, peace lily, umbrella plant, and elephant ear plant. Luckily these plants are minimally poisonous to cats, unlike the Easter Lily which is deadly for them. For some reason it is completely toxic to cats and you shouldn’t bring it into your home if you have cats. They can even cause kidney failure so beware.

Dogs are allergic to azaleas, tulips and chrysanthemums so don’t bring any of these into the house if you have dogs. They can be toxic and will result in excessive drooling.


A dog or cat can be hit by a car or attacked by another animal causing injury. This is more likely to happen to an outdoor cat which is why I only have indoor cats. In the past, I’ve lost too many outdoor cats to injury so now I’m doing what I think is the best for my cats.

Trauma can often initiate excessive drooling in an animal especially if they have severe jaw fractures. If this has happened, you are best seeking the advice of a vet.

Inflammation of the Tonsils

If your dogs have inflamed tonsils, they will probably drool all the more. This is because swallowing is hard for them.


If your dog or cat has an infection, there will probably be pus in their mouths and the discharge smells absolutely awful. This does mean another trip to your vet.


Both cats and dogs can develop cancer which naturally is very worrying for the owners. White cats and dogs are more at risk of developing malignant cancer because they have little pigmentation. The most likely places for this cancer to grow is in their mouth, eyes, or ears. Signs that indicate that your pet has cancer include excessive drooling, bad breath, lack of appetite, weight loss, and inability to close the mouth.

Motion Sickness

You are more likely to take dogs with you in the car rather than cats. Sometimes they can get motion sickness which will cause them to drool. A great solution to this is to give your dogs some ginger before they go out with you in the car. It can eliminate nausea and drool in one go.

What to do to Stop Your Pets from Drooling

It is better to stop your cats and dogs from drooling rather than remedy the causes when they happen although this can’t always be the case. They might experience dribbling even before you know what is going on.

Firstly, look after their teeth. It’s always a good idea to give them kibble as part of their daily diet as this helps to get rid of tartar and plaque.

If your cat or dog has an infection, be sure to go and visit your vet as soon as possible to get either antibacterial or anti-inflammatory medication.

Foreign bodies need to be removed, but this might require that your pet is sedated or even anesthetized.

Why is my Pet Drooling all of a Sudden?

If your cat or dog suddenly starts to drool, it can be a sign for concern. It could be that they have consumed a foreign body or that they have been poisoned. Either of these can cause sudden drooling and you will need to go and visit your vet.

Wrap Up

If your pets suddenly start to drool, it can be worrying. Yes, dogs will drool, but if they do it excessively, there might be something wrong. Cats don’t generally drool so if they start, this also means that you have to look into the causes. It could be anything from a foreign body lodged in their throat or even cancer or kidney failure. If you are the slightest bit worried you should take your pets to the vet to see what is wrong.

About the Author

Hi, my name’s Irena. I often write about topics similar to this over on my blog

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