Our two Spinoni are similar and yet different. Just like people, they have Spinone traits in common but also have their own characteristics and behavior that is unique to them. One area we’ve noticed this difference is in the amount that each of them drools. Our male is definitely the more slobbery, wet-faced of the two. The female of our pair isn’t exactly dry-faced, but not nearly as wet as the boy. I decided to do a little research to see if this is common for the breed, and if so, what causes it.
Some breeds of dogs drool more frequently, and in greater quantity, than others. Typically, deep-jowled, droopy-lipped dogs like a Spinone Italiano are likely to drool more than other dogs.
Read on to discover more about why Spinone drool, what it means if they drool excessively, and the difference between normal slobber and a sign that something is wrong.
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What Is Dog Drool?
Drool is simply an excessive flow of saliva that has accumulated in the mouth/oral cavity. Saliva serves a variety of functions related to taste, smell, digestion, and mouth health.
Your dog’s saliva provides them with the following important functions:
- Lubrication to help food move down the esophagus
- Moisture to break down food (dog saliva doesn’t have enzymes like human saliva does, and dogs are able to swallow larger pieces of food without chewing.
- Antiseptic to prevent injury and help heal wounds (when dogs lick their wounds, they’re cleaning and helping to prevent infection)
Why Does a Spinone Drool?
Spinoni drool because saliva helps them eat and digest food. Drool is a normal, natural part of the canine digestive process. But excessive or irregular drooling can be a sign of a health issue or injury.
Here are some other more common breeds famous for their drooling:
- Basset hounds and other hound breeds
- St. Bernards (like Beethoven!)
What these dogs have in common is the extra skin around their lips and muzzle, which allows saliva to collect in the folds. As the saliva accumulates, it either drips from their upper lips or is flung into the air when they shake their heads. Either way, it’s not pretty. We’ve learned to keep our eyes shut and mouths closed when our Spinoni shake their heads.
While they don’t drool as much as their canine cousins on the list above, the Spinone does have lip folds and tends to drool more than other dogs. Depending on the shape of the lip fold, some Spinoni will drool more than others.
In addition to their lip folds, the Spinone also has jowls which can increase their tendency to drool. Jowls are loose flesh on the cheeks and throat. This a common characteristic of a lot of hunting dogs.
Unfortunately, drooping jowls don’t effectively hold saliva in and allow the overflow to spill out onto whatever is nearby. Jowls actually have a purpose beyond giving the Spinone his wise, grandfatherly appearance and drool producer.
The Spinone’s jowls are actually very important for their hunting and retrieving work. As a hunter and retriever, the Spinone’s jowls help them do the following jobs:
- When they track down a smell, jowls hang down to the ground, brushing the ground. This helps to collect scents in the dog’s nose. This allows them to find and track scents, however small they may be.
- Jowls help them create an airbag around their mouths, which helps them breathe more efficiently when they swim.
In addition to their lip folds and jowls, Spinoni also have beards. Their beards don’t actually increase their tendency to drool, but they do give it a place to collect. After he eats or drinks, the Spinone’s beard is usually a mess. Be prepared to spend time wiping his face to keep it clean.
Some amount of drooling is normal and common for a Spinone. It is necessary for your pet’s good health.
Here is a list of the most frequent situations in which a Spinone Italiano is likely to drool:
- Food: When your Spinone knows that he is going to eat or there is the possibility of him eating. The smell of food, his mealtime, getting his food ready, or just watching you eat will cause drooling. This is called the “Pavlov reflex”.
- Excitement: When your Spinone Italiano is excited. Being out for a walk, playing in the yard, or sexual desire could cause him to drool.
- Stress: If your Spinone is in an unusual situation that causes stress (an aggressive dog nearby, fireworks, or other loud noises) then he might drool.
- Teething: Teething Spinoni puppies will certainly drool.
These situations certainly don’t require medical attention, but Spinoni owners quickly learn the value of a drool rag. Keeping a cloth on hand makes it easy to regularly wipe your dog’s muzzle before the drool hits you, your floor, or the furniture.
What If Your Spinone Italiano Drools Excessively?
If your Spinone Italiano starts drooling continuously or excessively, it may be a sign of a health issue and that something is wrong with your dog. Contact a veterinarian right away.
Causes of excessive drool vary, and range from unpleasant inconveniences to medical emergencies:
- Mouth disease and tooth decay. Often accompanied by a foul odor
- Heatstroke. Overheated dogs will pant and drool excessively
- Motion sickness and anxiety. Car rides and nervousness can cause open-mouthed breathing, which leads to drooling. These causes are rarely medical emergencies, but they are uncomfortable; you can try pet-safe ginger pills for nausea and training to treat anxiety.
- A foreign object caught in the mouth, tongue, or between the teeth. If your dog is drooling a lot and pawing at its face, something is wrong.
- Ingestion of caustic or poisonous substances (including plants, animal matter, and household cleaners)
- Digestive problems range from a simple upset stomach to bloat. Learn to recognize the signs of bloat, and pay close attention to your dog’s behavior.
What Is Excessive Drooling For A Spinone?
Excessive looks different for different dogs, but you’ll know from spending time with your dog how much drool is normal for them. You’re the best judge of your dog’s behavior and comfort.
If your Spinone starts drooling suddenly and in excess, and is acting strange or stressed, contact a veterinarian right away.
How To Manage Spinone Drool
If your Spinone is a serious drooler, you will want to keep a towel handy at all times. It’s best if you can clean up drool spots quickly before they get crusty and hard to remove.
Here are some other tips that may help:
- Dry your dog’s mouth following a long walk, run, or playtime. A dog that’s just been exercised will drool more than usual.
- Put down a washable rug or towel on the floor near your dog’s food and water bows. Dogs commonly drool lots when they are anticipating food or drinking water.
- Feeding your dog at least three hours before a car ride, as dogs tend to drool more in the car.
- Put on your ‘good clothes’ just before you leave the house and change out of them when you return home. This will keep the slobber stains on your good clothes to a minimum.
Cleaning dog drool from your home
- Dog saliva contains lots of bacteria that may be harmful to children or people with a weak immune system. So, it’s important to clean your home regularly using an anti-bacterial cleaner.
- Dry dog drool can be challenging to remove and will need a bit of elbow grease. If you can, clean it up before it dries. You can clean dry drool from walls, ceilings, floors, and baseboards using a Magic Eraser or a blend of vinegar and water.
- For windows and appliances, use a glass cleaning spray. For sofas and other furniture, fabric cleaners should take care of it.
Why do dogs drool so much?
Dogs drool for a variety of reasons, including to help them digest their food, to cool down, to show excitement or anticipation, or as a result of anxiety or stress.
Is excessive drooling in dogs a cause for concern?
Excessive drooling in dogs can be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as dental problems, an upset stomach, or a neurological disorder. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian if your dog is drooling excessively to determine the underlying cause and receive proper treatment.
What breeds of dogs are known for their excessive drooling?
Some dog breeds are known for their excessive drooling, including breeds such as the Saint Bernard, Bloodhound, and Bulldog. However, excessive drooling can occur in any breed of dog.
And, now we know we can add our beloved Spinone Italiano to the list of excessive droolers.
Can a dog’s diet affect its drooling habits?
Yes, a dog’s diet can affect its drooling habits. Certain foods may trigger excessive drooling in some dogs, while others may not have any effect.
Additionally, dental problems or poor dental hygiene can also contribute to excessive drooling in dogs.
What can I do to manage my dog’s drooling and keep my home clean?
There are several steps you can take to manage your dog’s drooling and keep your home clean. These include regular dental care, feeding your dog smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding foods that trigger excessive drooling, using absorbent materials to protect your furniture and floors, and teaching your dog to wear a drool bib or bandana.
It’s also important to consult with a veterinarian if your dog’s drooling is excessive or sudden in onset.
The Spinone does have a number of characteristics that can cause them to drool more than other breeds. Things like their loose lips and jowls add to their charm, but also can increase their drooling tendencies.
For some people, this just adds to the Spinone’s character, and for others, they can’t imagine anything worse than having to clean up globs of dog slobber every day.
In fact, the Spinone Club of America says a Spinone might not be right for you “If you don’t like cleaning slobber off the ceiling from those shaking jowls.”
Remember that some amount of drooling is normal and common for a Spinoni. It is necessary for your pet’s good health. So, if your dog comes up to say hello and slimes your knee, remember it’s just a little drool. It can be a little bit messy and a little bit gross, but it’s a part of Spinone Life.