Great Dane drooling

Why do Great Danes drool?

While they’re not quite in the same league as the world’s top droolers, Great Danes can still hold their own when it comes to drooling! However, the exact amount that your dog drools compared to other Danes is largely determined by their genetics.

Great Danes drool more than most other breeds due to their facial composition. Their square jaw and loose lips are not well suited to containing drool i.e. saliva. The folds in the skin allow it to pool and easily run out of the mouth. The worst drooling often occurs immediately after eating, drinking, or exercise.

How much drool should I expect?

If you were hoping to get a concrete answer like 16 oz (500 mL) per day then you’re going to be disappointed. The amount of saliva produced varies from dog to dog and is determined by genetics. This is much like the variation found amongst humans in height, eye color, or their favorite foods.

One of the variables responsible for the amount of drool is your Great Dane’s face. Some Great Danes have a naturally tighter face that better contains their saliva. Whereas other dogs may have looser faces that allow it to easily escape.

Facial structure aside, some Great Danes simply produce more saliva than others. This increase or decrease of natural saliva production will make your Dane more or less drooly compared to others. While this isn’t the case for every Great Dane, there are certainly some that do seem to drool the majority of the day. This is more often seen in males, but can also affect females as well.

With most Great Danes you will find that the majority of drooling closely coincides with eating, drinking, or hearty exercise. These situations produce additional saliva in the mouth that escapes through the dog’s loose lips.

Due to this large variance in normal or expected drool, it’s important to understand what is normal for your Great Dane. This is useful for helping identify when your dog is drooling an abnormal amount as it could be related to a medical condition.

Lets take a look at some of the scenarios that could lead to increased drooling.

Oh, the Anticipation!

Perhaps I’m just a foodie, but boy does my mouth water at the thought of a delicious meal headed my way! Similarly, your Great Dane may also drool more when anticipating something tasty coming their way. This isn’t just limited to food items such as treats or meals, but could also be excitement about a car ride or trip to the dog park.

Saliva contains enzymes that aid in the digestion process, so it’s actually a beneficial step when associated with food. The good news is that this increase in drool is temporary and nothing to be worried about (medically speaking). Your couches may think otherwise, but that’s a separate issue 😉

Temperature regulation

Also falling under the umbrella of “good” drool is its function in temperature regulation. The act of panting better exposes water in the dog’s mouth allowing it to evaporate more quickly. This creates a cooling effect and helps lower their body temperature. If you’ve ever seen your Great Dane panting on a hot day then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

On its own, this isn’t a cause for concern as it’s part of a normal bodily function. However, it’s worth pointing out that Great Dane’s are prone to overheating. If they’re panting heavily, appear fatigued, or struggling to breathe then it’s time to get them out of the heat. Take them to the shade, or better yet indoors, and provide some cool water to help them cool down. If you’d like more information on this topic, take a look at our dedicated article on hot weather tips for Great Danes.

Motion Sickness

Some Great Danes drool in excitement over fun car rides, however, some drool for another reason – motion sickness 🙁 While the most obvious symptom is vomiting, many dogs will also heavily drool when they’re dealing experiencing motion sickness.

This shouldn’t be a life-threatening scenario, but it’s certainly not a fun one for your Great Dane. Frequent practice with short car rides or the use of motion sickness medicine are just a few of the ways to alleviate your dog’s motion sickness. For more details, check out our full article on car travel with Great Danes and treating motion sickness.

Ptyalism (Hypersalivation)

The excessive flow of saliva (hypersalivation) is a condition medically referred to as “ptyalism”. This volume of drool would fall well beyond what’s normal for your Great Dane. While easy to describe, its source can be due to a variety of issues. These include oral and Pharyngeal diseases, salivary gland diseases, metabolic disorders, neurological disorders, and the ingestion of drugs or toxins.

As you can see the list is quite extensive, so pinpointing the exact source on your own wouldn’t be easy. A better approach is to keep an eye out for the symptoms other then increased drool that are associated with ptyalism. You can then share these with your veterinarian while they help to locate the ultimate source of the issue.

Additional symptoms of ptyalism include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in eating behavior such as a refusal to eat, only chewing on one side, or holding their head in a strange position during eating
  • Behavioral changes such as increased irritability or aggressiveness, or a desire to be reclusive
  • Regurgitation or vomiting
  • Pawing at the face

What can I do about the drool?

If the source of the extra drool is medically related then it’s likely to subside once the condition is treated. How long that takes is dependent on the condition itself, but know that the extra drool shouldn’t be permanent. If the source of excessive drool results from sources like food anticipation or motion sickness then the drool should decline once the stimulus is removed.

In the meantime, your best bet will be to keep towels or rags handy to wipe away the drool. Staging several of these around your home will make chasing down your hounds drool that much easier. In particular, wiping their face off immediately after eating or drinking should help to prevent most of the mess.

Know that leather or other stain blocking measure will be a must if you’re going to allow your Great Dane on furniture. Believe me, they’ll want to be on it! Without these protections in place, it will only take a few months for Scooby’s drool to ruin their appearance. You could also choose to only allow your Dane on older pieces of furniture, but training them to follow these specific guidelines takes more effort.

Keep calm and drool on

Please note that these are only a few of the common conditions that could result in increased drool from your Great Dane. Anytime that they don’t feel well more drool is likely headed your way! If you’re concerned about your dog’s health it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian to help find the source of the issue.

Until then, keep calm and drool on my Dane-loving friends!

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