Taking your dog out for their daily exercise is usually a pleasurable experience. But you may have become concerned by your dog’s drool,
mainly if it follows interactions with other dogs. What does this mean, why does a dog do this, and is it a cause for concern? Let’s find out.
So, why does my dog drool around other dogs? Dogs drool around other dogs instinctively; it’s a reactionary response to an emotion, typically anxiety, fear, or excitement. As such, salivation is most common in younger dogs and those that have not been adequately socialized with other dogs. Excessive salivation can also indicate sickness, so it must be monitored.
In reality, dogs interact with their environment in their own way.
And while many behaviors and traits are purposeful responses, such as barking, drooling is something that happens instinctively.
But it is still a response and one that can be a particular concern.
Especially when you first begin to notice the pattern.
So, let us take a closer look at why a dog may do this and what you can do going forward to ensure that they are confident and content in the company of other dogs.
Why Does My Dog Drool When Around Other Dogs?
A dog drooling around other dogs is an automatic, impulsive response to their emotions. These emotions could be positive, negative, or somewhere in between.
Nevertheless, for the most part, drooling is considered a normal response and not something that usually signifies something is wrong.
Salivation is simply a response to external stimuli, and in this case, the other dog is the stimuli.
It naturally follows that the higher a dog salivates, the higher they are experiencing the emotion.
And, of course, some breeds of dogs are more prone to drooling than others.
For instance, we all can relate to that image of a Saint Bernard or Bloodhound with excess drool around their mouths.
Nonetheless, drooling can be experienced by all breeds.
And it is more common around other dogs.
And this is generally when and why:
Anxiety in dogs is common, particularly when they are put in a new situation or do not know what is expected of them or how to respond.
Besides, we all need to experience things several times to build our confidence.
The same can be said for dogs.
Dogs that have not spent a lot of time around other dogs, perhaps they are still young, maybe they have not had the opportunity to meet other dogs very regularly.
Either way, meeting new dogs can cause anxiety in your dog.
Especially if they are particularly unfamiliar – such as encountering a new breed or one that behaves in a particular way.
And drooling is merely a response to this unease.
There is also the chance that your dog is scared of other dogs, or perhaps distinct dogs or breeds, in particular.
This can happen around much larger dogs or even those who act in a certain way.
Nevertheless, your dog may be fearful of the dog or the interaction.
A fearful response will often see other behaviors in your dog, such as growling, pulling back, or even baring teeth.
Drooling in dogs is not always an unfavorable response; sometimes, it can indicate excitement and happiness.
This commonly happens in more socialized dogs or those that do better in the company of others.
Perhaps they have seen other dogs running around or playing.
Drooling here often means they just want to get a little closer or even get involved!
Unfamiliar or Scents of Food
A dog’s sense of smell is between 10,000 – 100,000 times greater than ours, depending on the breed.
It comes as no surprise that they use their noses to perceive the world around them.
And just because we are at the park does not mean that food or other scents cannot be picked up.
It could be a picnic, somebody on their lunch break; either way, your dog may actually be drooling over the smell and not of other dogs (even if they are present).
Lastly, it could very well be that your dog is sick or suffering from a health condition.
While it may just be something as temporary as motion sickness from any traveling you did just before or running around excessively, it could indicate something more severe.
If you notice excessive saliva that continues long after interactions with other dogs; its time to consult a vet.
When Should I Worry About My Dog Drooling?
Drooling should be a cause of concern when it is excessive, gets worse than usual, or is accompanied by other problems, such as excessive panting, lethargy, avoidance of food, etc.
However, it is important to note that some drooling is to be expected in dogs, and some breeds will drool quite a lot naturally.
First and foremost, you will need to identify the potential cause of drooling and how long it goes on.
We’ve covered drooling around other dogs here today.
Well, you have various responses here depending on the emotional cause of drooling.
For instance, if drooling appears due to excitement and happiness, and there are no other signs of concern, then there is nothing you need to do.
However, if you notice that drooling is accompanied by other stress or anxiety-related behaviors, and drooling does not reduce around other dogs in time, you may need to intervene.
Taking them to a vet at this juncture is advised.
That way, they can run multiple screenings and tests to identify what may be going on.
Some vets will provide anti-anxiety drugs, whereas, in the case of something more severe, they may receive some other form of medication.
Then there are animal behavioral specialists you may want to consider working with.
These can help your dog adapt to stressful environments with certain techniques and build their confidence over time.
Nevertheless, if you discover your dog is drooling and there is no medical reason for it, there is generally little you can do.
It may reduce in time and with greater exposure around other dogs.
It may not.
But if they are otherwise fine and well, it should not be a cause for concern or worry.
And if they are unfortunately poorly for any other reason, they can be treated accordingly.
How Do I Train My Dog To Be Calm Around Other Dogs?
Training your dog to be calm around other dogs is all about consistency and repetition in positive, calm interactions. It will require specific techniques, considerations, planning, and management.
And the process should begin when a puppy is young, with short, constructive interactions with other dogs.
Nevertheless, even in older dogs, the reality remains the same:
Dogs need to get used to being around other dogs. They need to know how to behave.
What is acceptable, and what is not.
And they need to learn that interactions should be calm.
For this reason, you need to be particularly mindful of your own behavior and those that you are reinforcing in your dog.
For instance, shouting at your dog, pulling them back from their harness/leash – can exacerbate the problem.
It can make your dog more excited.
At the same time, you need to consider your routine and ritual.
If every walk or interaction with other dogs begins with the same actions, such as getting the leash, getting in the car, allowing your dog to pull to get to other dogs, etc.; well, these become a recognized and reinforced part of your dog’s behavior.
And the more you allow this to happen, the more reinforced it will become.
So, you need always to ensure that you and your dog are calm before any interaction.
If a situation begins to unfold that causes excitement, anxiety, or fear, you must remove yourself and your dog from the situation.
From here, there is a range of methods and techniques you can use to train your dog to behave around others.
Just be sure that you can restrain your dog during any training. A harness is best for this.
Simultaneously, be sure to train your dog around calmer dogs; and have treats on hand to reward your dog for calm behavior.
This is an excellent method to try:
- Step One: Have a friend with a calm dog meet you on a walk. Ensure both dogs are on their harnesses.
- Step Two: When you notice your friend and their dog in the distance, ask them to stop. Your dog should still be calm. At this point, as your dog to sit and to stay.
- Step Three: Allow your friend and their dog to approach. When your dog begins to get excited, ensure your friend and other dog walk away.
- Step Four: Wait until your dog has calmed down. Then get your friend and dog to come toward you both again. So long as your dog remains calm, your friend and dog can keep walking. Otherwise, you will need to repeat step three.
- Step Five: Repeat the process over various interactions until your dog learns that by being calm, they get the reward of interacting with another dog. And excitement means they miss out on the opportunity.
Of course, this is one approach to try, but it works very well.
This is the kind of technique an animal behavioral specialist will use.
And if you are really struggling to keep your dog calm around others, you can always consider contacting a reputable specialist to help train your dog.
Nevertheless, be consistent in your approach and your training.
It may take some time and planning, but you should notice that your dog is calmer around others when they are effectively taught to do so.
And you may even find their drooling starts to stop!
Dogs will naturally drool around other dogs. It is normal and a reaction to expect.
To some extent.
In fact, you will likely notice it more in younger dogs, unsocialized dogs and even specific breeds.
That being said, drooling can be caused by various different emotions.
And for this reason, you must be observant of any other accompanying behaviors.
For some of you reading, a small amount of drooling here and there should not be a concern.
For others, it could indicate a wider problem. Perhaps even a medical issue.
So, be sure to monitor your dog’s salivation. Consider the circumstances, contexts, and environments.
And if you are ever concerned or noticed other worrying symptoms, do contact a vet.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
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.