Why Has My Dog Got Thick Saliva

Why Has My Dog Got Thick Saliva? Is Thick Mucus Becoming A Real Problem?

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Dogs with thick saliva are usually suffering from dry mouths. There are several underlying causes of dry mouth, the severity of which may vary. Nevertheless, if your dog does not show other signs of dehydration even though it has thick saliva, it is probably dehydrated.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Why Has My Dog Got Thick Saliva? Is Thick Mucus Becoming A Real Problem?“.

Each dog owner enjoys having a dog at home.

Why Has My Dog Got Thick Saliva

They are great companions at home; they understand when you’re down and lift your mood and they protect you when they sense danger and we tend to forget that they are full of tricks that keep you happy so happy that you forget your sorrows. 

Nevertheless everyone knows that dogs drool.

Dogs drool naturally but if the saliva that is coming out of your dogs mouth is slimy instead of the normal drool you should be concerned.

Is your dogs mouth filled with a thick slime? 

Why is that possible and what to do when your dogs attitude raises eyebrows? I explain in this article.

What role does saliva play in a dog’s mouth?

The saliva of dogs contains no digestive enzymes unlike that of humans. It is not necessary for dogs to chew their food before swallowing because chewing does not cause digestion. 

No matter what dog saliva plays a crucial role in lubricating the mouth so food can reach the stomach where digestion begins.

The saliva of dogs also plays a crucial role in preventing canine cavities. A dogs saliva is slightly alkaline which buffers the acid produced by bacteria preventing enamel erosion.

Last but not least the saliva of the dog has antibacterial properties. As a result when your dog licks its wounds it is primarily doing a cleansing action that promotes healing especially for shallow wounds.

Although licking may cure some superficial infections it may not cure-all. I recommend using veterinary antiseptic products as your first choice when dealing with wounds on your dog.

What does it mean if my dog has thick saliva but is otherwise okay?

Dogs with thick saliva are usually suffering from dry mouths. There are several underlying causes of dry mouth the severity of which may vary. Nevertheless if your dog does not show other signs of dehydration even though it has thick saliva it is probably dehydrated.

Dogs can also suffer from thick saliva as a side effect of their medications. You will probably notice that your dog has thick saliva when they are taking a certain medication.

Your dog cannot produce adequate saliva to moisturize its mouth when it is dry which is why its saliva is thick. Although your dog may seem fine a dry mouth should be addressed immediately as your dog can develop other oral problems such as dental diseases dry or cracked tongues or oral mucous membranes cavities bad breath and even difficulty chewing and swallowing.

How can I fix my dog’s thick mucus?

Your first step should be to ensure your dog is well hydrated. In case your dog is dehydrated make sure you provide enough water for him. As your dog becomes thirsty you will see him lap as fast as he can.

In the case of thick saliva caused by medications it is best to consult your vet about reducing its dose or changing its medication. Antihistamines diuretics decongestants atropine sedatives and many others may cause thick saliva in pets.

However you may want to discuss your dogs thick saliva with your vet as your dog may exhibit a few symptoms that you may not have noticed. Being safe is better than being sorry.

What could it mean if my dog has slimy saliva and appears unwell?

If your dog has a thick slime in its dry mouth you should be concerned as that isnot a good sign. If your dog seems unwell and has slime in its mouth then it might be suffering from the following conditions:

  • Medication side effects

The issue may be resolved with a simple change in medications in less serious cases. More severe cases can cause drowsiness itching vomiting diarrhea etc. as well as slimy saliva. Veterinarian care should be sought immediately. Veterinarians may have to pump the animals stomach immediately then treat any damages sustained.

  • Thermostroke 

Heatstroke can occur when the dogs body temperature rises in a hot environment. When your pet is outdoors they are most likely to suffer from heatstroke if they are left in a car or if they are not given shade or water. 

Heatstroke is characterized by excessive panting vomiting diarrhea mental dullness and collapse. 

The effects of heatstroke can be fatal for your dog so it is considered a veterinary emergency. Keep your dog as cool as possible on the way to the vet if you suspect heatstroke in your dog.

Fluid therapy intravenously will be necessary to replace fluids and minerals lost. Additionally there will be close monitoring to ensure there are no complications such as kidney failure changes in blood pressure etc.

  • Nerve damage

It is also possible for your dog to have slimy saliva although this is quite rare. Due to surgery a tumor traumatic injury etc. your dog may develop a dry mouth when the nerves controlling the salivary glands have been damaged. It can also occur in conjunction with neurogenic KCS (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) also known as dry eye.

  • Radiation therapy

A dogs dry mouth and sticky saliva can also be caused by cancer radiation treatment. When your dog has a dry mouth during or after radiation therapy you should contact your vet immediately.

This condition may also be caused by many more rare causes so you should consult your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of your dogs slimy saliva. To diagnose your dogs condition and nurse it back to health your veterinarian will need to conduct a few tests and observe your dog closely.

Why do some breeds of dogs drool excessively?

Some dogs drool more than others even though all dogs drool. They have loose mouth skin short snouts and large jowls because they have loose mouth skins. Dogs with this problem are unable to hold saliva which instead gathers in their cheeks causing them to drool.

Excessive drooling in dogs is often caused by

  • Saint Bernard
  • Bulldog
  • Bloodhound
  • Newfoundland
  • Boxer
  • Mastiff
  • Basset Hound
  • Bullmastiff and many more.

These breeds are hard to care for so if you own one or plan to own one you have got your work cut out for you.

What is Ptyalism?

The accumulation of excessive saliva in the mouth is known as ptyalism or hypersalivation. Most dogs suffer from this condition when they produce more saliva than they can swallow. The condition is more visible in dogs with extra skin on their lips and muzzles as they cannot retain the saliva they produce.

When dogs are expecting something delicious like a piece of steak a treat or a whiff of delicious food they become ptyalistic. It may get their mouths watering.

It is a natural condition that cannot be cured. To manage it you can tie a handkerchief around the neck of your dog so that the drool is absorbed before it messes up the ground. You can also manage this condition with a drool rag.

If you wipe your dogs face whenever it eats or drinks or if you notice drool just before it starts falling you will greatly reduce messes. This may seem difficult but it does work.

How can you make sure that your dog’s saliva is healthy?

We humans and even your dog can be harmed by bacteria in your dogs saliva. You can not completely eradicate this bacteria from your dog but you can make it healthier by brushing its teeth regularly.

Cleansers for the mouth are also beneficial. As a result your dog will be healthier as bacteria will be lowered in its mouth. Additionally it reduces the incidence of mouth diseases such as periodontal disease which is common in dogs.


Individually as a family and even as a community dogs are extremely important to us. Therefore it is vital that you carefully observe how your dog behaves and communicates so that any changes in their behavior can be detected earlier and dealt with.

Keep your dog hydrated at all times. Your veterinarian should also perform regular checkups. If anything unusual happens to your dogs behavior you should contact your vet right away since he is an expert in this field.

Clean dogs are healthy dogs healthy dogs are happy dogs and happy dogs are happy families. You will experience the joy of treating your dog well when it returns the favor.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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