Excessive drooling (ptyalism) in cats and dogs

One possible cause of excessive salivating or drooling may be caused by your pet's allegries

One of the more urgent common phone calls to veterinary offices and emergency clinics across the country is when a dog or cat suddenly starts drooling excessively without warning. Sometimes the saliva can be so thick and profuse that both dogs and cats experience difficulty/heavy breathing. There can be many possible causes heavy salivating in cats or dogs. The first thing to always consider is whether the pet potentially was recently exposed to a toxin or pesticide in the environment outside or inside the home. Even certain topical pesticides, including topical Frontline Plus and Advantage II, can cause drooling in sensitive pets, especially if the product is inappropriately applied, or in an area where the pet can lick it off.

Electric cord injuries and burns, especially seen in puppies and kittens, can cause difficulty breathing as well as excessive drooling, and such pets should get immediate emergency care. Allergic reactions to common household cleaning agents, and pesticides on the lawn or inside the home are also common causes of drooling. Even certain prescription and bitter tasting medications, such as the commonly prescribed drug Metronidazole can cause heavy drooling particularly in cats.

Many dogs and especially cats will drool to varying degrees, often accompanying nausea and vomiting seen in so many acute and chronic conditions and diseases. When drooling is more chronic, especially if the drool has a foul odor, one of the first category of diseases to consider is periodontal disease in both dogs and especially cats. Our feline friends sometimes can develop severe painful gum inflammation known as feline gingivitis/stomatitis syndrome, which can often make it difficult for them to eat.

All such pets should have an immediate veterinary exam with thorough evaluation of the oral cavity for any dental/gum disease, ulceration of the tongue, as well as a check for any foreign bodies, gum growths or tumors in the mouth or throat. Upper respiratory infections such as feline calicivirus can not only cause sneezing and nasal congestion, but also oral ulcers that can lead to heavy drooling. If the drooling persists and no known causes can be found, a full baseline workup at the veterinarian, including blood work, urine analysis, and x-rays are needed.


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  1. My cat started off sneezing last night and now is starting to drool and his eyes are a little watery. I call to see if my vet was on call and found out the vet on call is in Pittsburgh.what can I do for him? He’s around 9 years old and never had any problems before.

  2. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    You can try chlorphenirimine at dose of 2 mg twice daily, as well as DMG liquid from 1800petmeds. If signs worsen or persist, see vet for evaluation.

  3. Thank You so much for answering.When we got up this morning rushed him to the vet.I thought he was only 9 but hubby said he’s 12yr. old.Anyway they took him temp.and it was 104 and an x-ray and said he has asthma and pneumonia.Game him a steroid shot and an antibiotic and said we should see results in 2 hours. After the 1st hour he was looking pretty good then about an hour later he was drooling again and keep opening and closing his mouth to breathe. I called the vet again and this time a different one answered and said she saw his x-ray and didn’t think he looked good that there was fluid on the inside and outside of his lungs.She said if he didn’t get any better to take him to Pittsburgh to be put in an oxygen tent, but the other Dr. said not to stress him out but it would (it’s a 2 hr drive)He’s a little better,as a matter of fact he just came down for a drink while I’m typing.I got a small oxygen tank from my mom but can’t get him to want to use it. So trying to think of a way that he will let me,cause it has a canal( I know spelled wrong) on it so he needs to be able to breathe in to use it. I also have 5 other cats and several of them are sneezing off and on.Thank You

  4. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 7, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Good luck. Sounds like vets disagree on this one. Perhaps some lasix could help reduce fluid in chest even with steroid/antibiotic shot. In cat this age, fluid in chest can indicate heart issues and/or sometimes cancer. Sometimes analysis of the fluid by needle aspirate can help with diagnosis.

  5. My dog is suffering from cancer and the vet can’t do anything except to give him carprofen for the pain. I also been giving him liver protector and Anti-oxidant tablets as health supplement. He was diagnosed of cancer in Jan this year. Everything was fine until 3days ago he started to salvation excessively. I do not know what to do. I just want him to live comfortably for the rest of his remaining days. Please help!

    Thank you

  6. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Sorry to hear of your dog Rita. i would consider consulting with a holistic vet in your area http://www.AHVMA.org or consult with vet homeopath if possible http://www.doctordym.com If still eating consider oncosupport from Rx Vitamins company which you can find on line

  7. My puppy will be 10 weeks old shes due for her 2nd set of shots Oct 22nd. Shes been fine up until about an hour ago when she started drooling and breathing heavy. Ive tried to call her vet but with no answeron the emergency number. I need help!

  8. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 10, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Take to nearest emergency clinic for evaluation as not much you can do at home.

  9. My kitten is drooling he is 3months olds – is there anything to give him to ease the pain of teething? He has had his shots and the vet saw him drool but didn’t feel it was anything serious. teething made sense. Are there remedies or recomendations for easing the discomfort or pain for a kitten?

  10. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 4, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I doubt it is teething but I would check with your vet. If truly teething the homeopathic remedy calcaria phosphorica can help in many cases at a potency of 6c potency 1 pellot twice daily. Can get this from health food store.

  11. My cat has started drooling and licking his lips a lot what could this be is he sick?

  12. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMay 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Many possibilities including nausea from virus, toxicity, etc. Best to have vet exam if persists.

  13. I just applied some Frontline Plus on my cat where I believe was just below her shoulder blades about an hour and a half ago. I then fed her about 20 minutes ago and when she was finished eating she started excessively drooling and darting around the room. Could she have somehow licked the Frontline and is having a reaction? She does not normally have this reaction when getting the flea drops put on her.

  14. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMay 6, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Sounds like possible reaction. She may have ingested small amount of the front line. See vet if signs persist for supportive care.

  15. My cat has started drooling accessivly and stopped grooming herself. She also has or looks like her eyes are watering and gets a build up in the corners.

  16. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 4, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Best to have vet exam and evaluation to help sort out underlying possible causes.

  17. Hi frank Is your cat still experiencing drooling also right now?.. Are you still struggling with this issue? If so, I can reply to you here or faster via email if you still need help, at answers@immuneiq(com) – Cynthia”

  18. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 13, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Please do not advertise your products on this forum. Thank you.

  19. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 13, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Please do not advertise your products on this forum.

  20. I have a 14 yr old cat , started drooling today and a little bit of blood coming from his nose , he wont eat or drink, his gums are white as well and don’t seem very comfortable.. iam taking him to the vet in the morning but they are closed on the weekends where i am located .. he has no known health problems that iam aware of.. and has always been a indoor cat, anyone know what might be the problem?

  21. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 23, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Severe anemia is likely which can be due to chronic viral infections like Felv/FIV, severe parasitism with fleas or worms, as well as chronic disease,, including bacterial infections and cancer. Need to see vet ASAP. good luck

  22. Hi,
    My year old cat suddenly started drooling. She had recently been out on my balcony when I noticed her run back inside. She made a yowling noise and jumped on my bed. I then noticed a coupios amount of clear frontage from her eyes and she looked as if she were trying to swallow something. I immediacy grabbed her and attempted to rinse out her mouth with water and inspect her mouth. She now is acting like her usual self and grooming. I gave her a treat to see if she would eat and she did. Her bowel sounds are hyperactive but her lungs sound fine. Should I be concerned?

  23. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 23, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Perhaps she got into something like a lizard or frog that was outside or some other toxic exposure. Monitor her. If drooling continues or worsens, see vet in your area. In my area of Florida, sometimes toads and lizards can cause this reaction.

  24. Hi we are dog sitting a black Labrador he is 9 and around 4 hours ago he has started to hyper salivating and drooling everywhere it won’t stop and he is drinking more water than usual What should we do???

  25. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Need to have vet exam and assessment including possibly blood work and x rays to sort this out

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