Sudden and Persistent Drooling—What’s going on?

Chipper had his teeth cleaned by the vet for the first time at the end of June.  He’s an eleven year old cocker spaniel who never drooled much unless you held a piece of bacon in front of his nose. The vet had removed a few small front teeth, but nothing major so I was baffled as to why there were puddles of drool next to the table when my husband and I ate dinner—not just for a few days after surgery, but for months.  Chipper even drooled in his sleep, waking up with slobber all over the side of his face—a mess!

Chipper smiling
Chipper with a smile on his face and no drool!

On return visits to the vet over the summer for an inner ear infection, I mentioned his drooling, but she didn’t seem concerned about it.  I thought Chipper’s heavy drooling might have been due to the heat, since we didn’t always run our air conditioner, although on warm days I left a 20” box fan running on the tiled kitchen floor so he could lie in front of it and cool off.

I just read an article by Healthy pets on 5 Triggers that can Turn a Drooler into a Water Machine. That article prompted me to write this blog.

Chipper’s sudden bout of drooling didn’t really fit into triggers such as food, heat, excitement, car rides or facial structure, although it may have been heat related. But why had his drooling only started after he got his teeth cleaned?  I’ve owned him for three years and the heat hadn’t caused him to drool before, unless he had just returned from a walk in the hot sun.

Eventually the vet recommended trying Famotidine, for acid reflux.  People take this drug as an over the counter medication as Pepcid AC®.  After a few days of 10 mg once a day, his drooling had stopped. I kept him on Famotidine for a few weeks, then decided to cut his pill in half (5 mg) and see if his drooling returned.  After a few more weeks I stopped it all together.  His drooling never returned. Of course by then it was late September and the weather had cooled. We’ll see next summer if his drooling starts up again with the summer heat.  But Famotidine worked wonders on him.

So if your dog starts drooling abnormally, get him checked by the vet since it could signal pain or other conditions.  But if the vet cannot find anything wrong, suggest acid reflux and try Famotidine.  It just might help.

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