If you own a dog, you may have noticed that he tends to drool when he’s excited. Why do dogs do this? What kinds of things or situations can make a dog excited? And how do you calm your dog down? Here’s everything you’ll want to know.
So, why do dogs drool when excited? Dogs commonly drool when excited as a physical reaction to a particular stimulus. An increase in saliva, forgetting to swallow or a physical inability to keep saliva in their mouths can all result in drooling. All of which can be caused by different types of thrilling situations, whether they’re watching or participating.
You’ll often see your dog drooling when he meets another dog or when he smells delicious food.
Now, this may seem like a strange response, but it’s actually very common in dogs.
And drooling is one of those things that they tend to do in response to a number of different developments, whether internally or externally!
Let us now delve into the reasons why dogs drool, specifically when excited.
We will then turn to what can cause excitement, reducing excitement and calming down an already worked-up dog.
So stick around.
Besides, it should help to prevent some drool and slobber from being displaced all over your home. Or you!
Reasons Why Dogs Drool When Excited
Dogs typically drool when excited due to an increase in saliva, forgetting to swallow, or the inability to keep salvia inside their mouths.
Let us look at these among a few others!
Overflow Of Saliva
Dogs’ mouths have soft and loose jowls, where the skin folds to form pockets.
These pockets fill with saliva and overflow when there’s an excess.
Some dogs drool more than others just because of how their mouths are shaped.
Most of the time, your dog’s mouth has trapped normal amounts of saliva, and he releases it all at once because he’s excited.
For instance, a Saint Bernard who gets excited and jumps or shakes his head can send an impressive spray of saliva!
A Physiological Trigger
Your dog’s salivary glands make extra saliva when he’s excited because he’s anticipating something.
For example, he can be waiting to eat, to get into the car, to play with you, or to meet another dog.
Forgetting To Swallow
Sometimes your dog will forget to swallow if he’s very excited, so the saliva will just spill out.
For instance, if your dog is used to being fed tidbits of food from the table, he will likely forget to swallow while watching other people eat.
His excitement will be such that he will only be thinking about when he’s going to eat – not the drool that’s dribbling onto the floor!
If you don’t normally feed your dog human food from the table, but you see your dog acting this way, it could be that one of your guests has succumbed to those pleading eyes!
They Can’t Keep The Saliva Inside Their Mouths
Some breeds drool more than others, mostly because they can’t keep their excess drool in their mouths.
Breeds like Saint Bernards and Mastiffs have mouths that are shaped in such a way that saliva tends to fly out as they shake their heads.
Not all dogs are like this however, for instance, Huskies are not known for drooling, as much.
What Can Make A Dog Excited?
We all know that most dogs get excited at the idea of going on a walk, but there are additional things that can make a dog excited.
The Smell Or The Thought Of Food
Just as you may find yourself salivating when you smell cookies right out of the oven or bacon frying, your dog will salivate when he smells food.
Dogs have over 200 million scent receptors (as opposed to our 400!).
Your dog will have just as strong a reaction (if not stronger) when he smells either his own food or your food.
In fact, your dog may start salivating from excitement when he hears you opening his can or bag of food! He knows that food is coming, and just the thought of it can make him drool.
A Car Journey
Some of us may not get too excited at the thought of a long car journey.
However, there are dogs who will literally tremble (and drool) with excitement at the thought of getting into a car for a ride.
Grooming Or Brushing
If your dog loves being groomed or brushed, he is likely to drool from excitement.
Some dogs drool during the grooming process, and others start slobbering as soon as they see you with the brush.
A Chase Or Game
Any kind of chase, game, or favorite toy is likely to have your dog drooling with excitement.
He may spot a squirrel in the park, or you might have gotten out his preferred ball or tug-of-war toy, and he knows you’re about to play with him.
The Presence Of Other Dogs
Most dogs drool when in the presence of other dogs.
Sometimes they can do this if they’re stressed or anxious, but dogs also drool when sexually excited by another dog.
If your dog hasn’t been spayed or neutered and appears to be happy, he may be drooling out of sexual excitement.
How To Reduce Excitement In Your Dog
In addition to a well-balanced doggie diet, there are several foods that can calm dogs down:
- Blueberries. High in fiber and vitamins, you can pop a few in your dog’s bowl as a calming treat that’s also low in calories.
- Oily fish. Oily fish helps suppress the adrenalin response, and it’s also good for your dog’s skin and coat.
- Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are also helpful for your dog’s digestive tract. Just be sure to serve them cooked, never raw.
- Beef. Beef is a natural antidepressant because of the B vitamins it contains. It’s also a good source of protein.
- Turkey. Turkey is another good protein source that also has L-tryptophan, a ‘feel good’ chemical that helps induce sleep as well as feelings of well-being.
- Hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil contains not only Omega-3 but also Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids, all of which contribute to stress reduction.
- Brown rice. Brown rice (cooked) is excellent for dogs because it won’t spike their blood sugar levels. Brown rice also helps in the production of serotonin (another ‘feel good’ chemical).
- Whole oats. Like brown rice, whole oats are another good source of complex carbohydrates which can help calm your dog.
Ensure you are providing your dog with enough exercise so that he can burn off his energy and not become frustrated or even aggressive.
If he has enough exercise, he’ll be more likely to stay calm afterward and rest (provided he’s allowed to do so).
Once you’ve taken him out for a nice, long walk or run, let him have some quiet time.
Younger dogs and puppies will keep going until they collapse from exhaustion, so let him enjoy a rest in a comfy place that he’ll want to come back to.
Be mindful of the amount of exercise your dog needs: different breeds have different requirements.
Larger breeds can need as much as 2 hours or more, whereas some smaller breeds can get by with as little as two brisk walks daily of 15 minutes each.
Keep Your Dog Occupied
Keeping your dog’s mind occupied is as important as providing him with sufficient exercise.
Have your dog work for his treats by giving him games or toys with hidden treats. Play fetch with him or take him through an obstacle course.
Note: While playing with your dog, set some boundaries. If your dog gets too excited, stop the game. Your dog needs to learn that if he gets overexcited, playtime will stop (see below).
Reward The Behavior You Want To See
Reward your dog with verbal praise, affection, and perhaps a tasty treat when your dog is calm.
By rewarding him when he’s submissive and quiet, you are showing him what you expect of him. Your dog will soon understand that calm behavior will get him the rewards that he wants.
Other Things You Can Try
There are other things you can try to reduce excitement in your dog:
- CBD oil (pet-specific). There are pet formulations of CBD oil that some people use to help reduce their dog’s excitement levels.
- Herbs. Some natural herbs can help calm dogs, such as oat, astragalus, skullcap, chamomile, and valerian. Herbs are potent, so check with your homeopathic vet for recommendations and dosing.
- Calming music. Many YouTube channels and other websites offer calming music specifically for dogs.
How To Calm Down An Excited Dog
There are several things you can do to calm down an excited dog.
It may seem difficult, but one of the best ways to calm down an excited dog is to ignore him.
The more you pay attention to him, the more he’ll associate being excited with the rewards of your attention.
If your dog tries jumping on you or is showing other signs of too much excitement, don’t stroke him, don’t talk to him, and don’t make eye contact with him.
Turn your back on your dog and move away. He’ll soon calm down on his own when he sees his tactics aren’t working.
Take Him To A Quiet Place
If your dog is getting overly excited from lots of stimulation (house guests, for example), you can help him calm down by taking him to a quiet room in your home.
Stay Calm Yourself
Dogs are experts at picking up on our emotions. If you are stressed, angry, or frustrated, your dog will pick up on this, and he won’t be able to calm down.
If your dog is frustrating you, the worst thing you can do is shout at him. Shouting will only make his overexcitement worse, and it will add fear into the bargain.
An exception to this rule is if your dog is about to do something dangerous, like run into traffic. At that point, anything you can do to get his attention quickly is fair game!
Some more than others.
And then there are times when dogs drool more often, such as when they are excited.
For the most part, this is normal behavior, even if things can get a little messy.
That being said, if you do notice other worrying accompanying behaviors, or signs such as your dog experiencing mouth pain – do be sure to contact a vet.
You do want to rule out any other medical issues first and foremost.
And it’s always good to check.
Otherwise, if you know it’s purely simply out of excitement, then your best bet is to do two things: prevent, or at least limit excitement in the first place, or calm your dog down when in an excited state.
Want to continue researching drooling in dogs? Then my other guides may be of interest:
- Why Does My Dog Drool Around Other Dogs? [Top 5 Reasons]
- Why Do Dogs Drool When They See Food? [Can You Stop Them?]
- Do Puppies Drool When Teething? [Or Is It Something Else?]
- Dog Is Drooling Clear Slime [Why & What To Do]
- Do Bloodhounds Drool? [You’ll Be Pleased To Checked!]
- Do Saint Bernards Drool? [What You Have To Know]
- Do Huskies Drool? [Expectations, Potential Causes & Solutions]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.