Do German Shepherds Drool
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Do German Shepherds Drool?

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If you plan on owning a German Shepherd, there are some common issues that you need to be aware of, like most dogs. For starters, they are sometimes called “German Shedders” because of how much they shed their coat. Additionally, they are also extremely intelligent and need to stay busy and active to avoid boredom and negative behaviors. But what about those slobbery smooches that dogs love to give? Do German Shepherds drool?

Yes, German Shepherds do drool like all dog breeds. While they aren’t known as being heavy droolers, they do produce saliva which serves a couple of important purposes. Like humans, its number one function is to help them swallow food. It also has antibacterial properties that help fight infections.

This article will take a look at several different topics regarding a German Shepherd’s slobber including why they do it, how much saliva they produce, and how safe it is for humans to let their dog lick and kiss them.

Why Do German Shepherds Drool?

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “mouthwatering food.” Similar to humans, a German Shepherd will salivate a lot when they see or smell their food or a treat.

Dog drool is the buildup of saliva or spit. Saliva is secreted via 4 salivary glands in a GSDs mouth. When a dog gets hungry, those glands kick into action and start to lubricate the mouth.

Saliva is composed of 98% water but also contains antibacterial compounds, enzymes, and electrolytes that are important to overall health.

VCA Hospitals – Dealing with Drooling

That drool serves three purposes that are important to a dog’s health:

Digestion:

Dog saliva aids in digestion by lubricating the esophagus, making it easier for the food to be swallowed. But unlike humans, their spit lacks the enzymes that actually break down the food first.

This means dogs can swallow food quicker. That is why you will see them gulping down a big piece of meat or their favorite dog treat. They don’t need to chew their food with saliva to kick start the digestion process.

Their stomach does all the work enzymes and acids that break down the food proteins into amino acids that are smaller. This allows them to be absorbed into the body easier.

Fight Infection:

If you’ve ever seen a dog lick its wounds, there is a good reason for that. The saliva in a dog’s mouth has many antimicrobial properties that help heal and fight infections. That is why wounds in the mouth heal much faster than on the body.

When a German Shepherd licks its wounds, the histatins in the saliva or spit speed up the healing process by promoting the growth of new skin cells. However, this isn’t always the case.

Often times too much licking of the infected area will only inflame or irritate the wound more. That is why you will see dogs wearing the round plastic collar that prevents licking.

There is also a product called Lick Sleeve that is specifically made to prevent a dog from licking the hind legs.

Prevent Periodontal Disease:

Believe it or not, drool helps to prevent gum disease by keeping those pearly whites nice and clean. The saliva coats the dog’s mouth in proteins and minerals that guard the teeth and protect them from cavities or decay.

It does this by removing any leftover pieces of food from the surface of the teeth. Additionally, the antibacterial properties help keep germs at bay resulting in an overall cleaner and healthier mouth.

We’ve all probably heard the phrase “a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth.” Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Incredibly, dogs and humans have billions of bacteria present in their mouths from approximately 700 species.

How Much Do German Shepherds Drool?

The breed drools pretty consistently with an average amount of spit and slobber. That being said, they aren’t a dog breed that is known for drooling a lot.

Some other breeds have much more of a problem with excess saliva. Breeds like the Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Mastiff, Newfoundland, and Saint Bernard have much more of a reputation for being a slobbery mess.

Unlike their cohorts who drool excessively all the time, the German Shepherd tends to only drool after getting excited, exercising, or anticipating its next meal.

Can German Shepherds Drool Too Much?

While a normal amount of dog drool is normal and perfectly acceptable, excess drool can be an indicator of various health issues. There is a wide array of different problems that can stem from excess drooling.

Some can be more minor while others can be a serious medical issue that calls for an immediate trip to the emergency veterinarian. Here are some signs that drooling is a problem:

Anxiety or Motion Sickness:

A trip to the vet can make some German Shepherds anxious. A lot of dogs will cope with the anxiety and stress of a car ride with open-mouth breathing and panting. This can cause them to drool a lot.

The best way to avoid this is to slowly introduce them to longer and longer trips in the car. Start out by letting them explore the car while it is parked. Once they seem comfortable sitting in the car, take them on short trips up and down the driveway.

Eventually, you can drive them around the neighborhood. This should help ease any motion sickness and make those trips to the vet less stressful for the dog.

Foreign Object:

While it is rare, a foreign object stuck in the mouth or throat can cause excessive drooling and pain. Additionally, the dog may not be able to swallow and may start vomiting if something is blocking the esophagus.

A good way to avoid this is to learn the proper types of bones to feed your German Shepherd. You want to avoid rib bones which are small and can get stuck in the throat or pork bones which are likely to splinter.

Large raw beef or lamb shank bones are the best. Also avoid any cut bones as they can splinter as well.

Heat Stroke:

German Shepherds have a thick double-coat of fur and are prone to a heat stroke if left outside in the extreme heat for too long. To counter act the heat, they will pant heavily to try to cool down.

Along with that panting, will come excessive drooling and a myriad of other symptoms like diarrhea, red gums, vomiting, uncoordinated movement, and even collapse or lose consciousness.

Another tell-tale sign is a rapid heartbeat. If you are suspicious of a heat stroke, you can place your hand on their chest. If their heart is beating quicker than normal or beating irregularly, there is a good chance they are overheated.

Mouth or Throat Issues:

There are several issues in the mouth or throat that can cause a German Shepherd to salivate a lot. If a dog’s teeth aren’t brushed and cleaned properly, tarter can build up. Once it is thick enough, it can rub up against the gums which causes drooling.

Tooth decay can also lead to excess saliva. Cavities or decay also make it harder for a dog to chew its food. Additionally, they can lead to an abscess or infection. Aside from the excess saliva, there may be bad breath, discoloration of the tooth, or a foul odor coming from the tooth.

Bumps in the mouth or lumps in the throat can also cause drooling. It can be something as harmless as a benign wart or as serious as a cancerous tumor.

Poisonous Substance:

There are a lot of different poisonous substances that can be toxic for the breed and make them drool. GSDs have a high prey drive and may lick or indulge in small insects or animals around the house or on a walk.

Certain bugs or spiders can be poisonous along with animals like frogs or toads. Certain plants are poisonous as well like azaleas, chrysanthemums, and tulips.

Stomach Issues:

Sometimes a German Shepherd’s appetite or curiosity gets the best of them and they eat an item that their stomach doesn’t agree with. Veterinarians find a wide array of foreign objects inside the stomachs of dogs.

From tennis balls to rubber duckies, non-digestible toys can give a GSD an upset tummy causing them to drool or vomit. Dogs will normally get X-rays to determine what inside is causing the belly ache.

Bloat is another cause of panting and drooling. It comes on suddenly and usually without any warning. Other signs include dry-heaving and pacing around. The abdomen will be firm when you touch it and swollen.

Do German Shepherd Puppies Drool?

Yes, like adults, young puppies will drool. This is especially true during their teething stage of development between the ages of 3 and 8 months old.

Pups that are going through teething will have a lot of pain and soreness in their gums and mouths. This can cause an excess of saliva and lots of drooling.

On top of that, they may drool during nap times with their brothers and sisters. Last but not least, they love to give slobbery kisses to anyone close.

Can Your German Shepherd’s Drool Make You Sick?

A lot of owners are curious as to whether or not letting your dog lick your face is safe. For the most part, a dog’s saliva is pretty harmless to your skin. And though it has bacteria, it also contains antibacterial properties.

However, while letting them kiss your face is virtually harmless, you want to make sure they stay away from the mouth. This is a more susceptible area.

Additionally, if you wear any skin care products, you don’t want your German Shepherd licking and therefore ingesting any potentially toxic products.

In Closing:

German Shepherds do slobber but not as much as some other breeds who have a reputation for producing massive amounts of saliva. While drooling can be an indicator that something is wrong, it can also mean that your dog is happy! It just depends on how much they are drooling and what other symptoms are present.

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Do you own a German Shepherd? If so, how much drool does your GSD produce? Let us know! We would love to hear about your personal experience!

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