Why Does Your Dog Drool?

When not related to food, licking the lips and drooling can be signs of doggy despair.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
1-minute read

A quick in-and-out flick of a dog’s tongue over her lips is generally an appeasement signal. Watch a dog being walked on a choke collar or being trained by the old-school leash-pop method. You’ll probably see the dog lick her lips every time the collar tightens abruptly or the trainer jerks on the leash. Appeasement isn’t a bad thing in every context, and some dogs offer it much more readily than others. But appeasement gestures delivered over and over and over again, in any context, tell you that something in the situation is producing an unhappy dog.

Constant profuse drool not elicited by a nearby barbecue may be an issue. Drool is typical for a Mastiff, but otherwise may signal that the dog needs to see a vet.

Acute drooling that isn’t typical for your dog may indicate significant fear. Remember, when interpreting this or any of the other signals I’ve discussed, it’s important to look at the whole dog, not only at one part.


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Then check out The Dog Trainer’s Complete Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Pet!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).