13 Reasons Why Pugs Drool (But When Is It A Problem?)

Drooling is considered to be normal behavior for dogs, as long as it’s mild. Pugs are no exception, and there are numerous reasons that can trigger them to slobber about. It may not be sanitary, but it’s a natural occurrence that comes with the package of dog ownership. So, why do pugs drool?

Drooling in pugs can be more common since they are brachycephalic dogs. Their flat facial structure often means they have to keep their mouth open to breathe, thus allowing saliva to flow outside of it. However, when the drooling is excessive, this can be a sign of an underlying medical problem.

While some causes of dribble might be harmless, others can be potentially fatal, especially when there is an abnormal amount of it. When it’s problematic, veterinarian intervention may be necessary. To ensure a full recovery, it’s crucial that owners know what to look for, so that their pug can get the help that’s required.

1. The Scent Of Food

To the surprise of nobody, the sights, sounds, and smells of food can trigger a dog to start salivating. Ever heard of the Pavlov experiment? This study has proven that dogs salivate as an unconditional response to food. Pavlov also realized that dogs would begin drooling if they were able to associate a type of stimulus with being fed.

For example, the sounds of opening the packaging of their dog food will set off their salivation. That’s because your pug has probably associated that specific sound with being fed. Similarly, if you take out your pots and pans in the kitchen in preparation to cook a meal, it may trigger the same response. This is especially the case if they’re used to being fed a snack in the process of you cooking.

Additionally, if you brought your pug’s favorite treats nearby, then the thought of eating it may also lead to drooling. It is very normal for dogs to demonstrate this behavior around food. Pugs are also known to be food lovers, and aren’t normally picky with what they eat. It’s a common sight to see a pug licking their chops in preparation of being fed.

2. Rabies

Rabies is a contagious disease that can lead to severe madness. It leads to convulsions and is easily transmissible in the form of saliva, so even humans aren’t safe from it. Rabies is a pug owner’s worst nightmare, as this condition is often fatal. Thankfully, this viral disease is preventable as long as the dog is vaccinated.

While there is minimal chances of your pug contracting rabies, it is still important to be aware of its dangers. Rabies is most commonly contracted from being scratched or bitten by an infected animal. It is not limited to just dogs, as bats, foxes, raccoons, and other critters can be rabid.

Continuous drooling, paralysis, confusion, and muscle spasms are some key indicators of the infection. It’s crucial that you rush your pug to the vet if any of these symptoms are noticed. And to be on the safe side, if your dog is ever bitten by another animal, you should go for a precautionary check up at the vet for an examination. Getting your pug vaccinated for rabies and other diseases is highly recommended.

3. Distasteful Treats

Despite being unfussy with most foods, even pugs will avoid anything that’s foul tasting. If your dog eats something that they don’t enjoy or tries something new, but it tastes horrible, it will automatically produce saliva to wash the taste away. It doesn’t happen with every dog but it is a possibility and is considered harmless.

Medication is usually the culprit of this, and pugs will masterfully filter it out of their mouth even if it’s been mixed in with other foods. The distinctive taste of it will encourage them to drool since they can’t sustain the terrible taste of it. Some medicines also make dogs drool as a side effect, but your vet will likely warn you of this beforehand.

Make sure you consider all these factors before jumping to conclusions regarding your pug’s health. It’s a natural occurrence for dogs to drool as a response to this, since they can’t go and easily rinse it out with water like we can.

4. Spices

Dogs should not be fed any chillies or spices. They cannot tolerate it and will drool in response to it. When consumed, the inner parts of a dog’s stomach and esophagus start burning. In order to cool down and alleviate the burning sensations, they produce more saliva than what is normally needed.

It’s a natural canine response to protect itself from the heat of the spices. Other signs include lip licking, head shaking, excessive water drinking, and rubbing their face along the floor. It can also lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and an upset stomach. Try and keep these ingredients out of reach as best as you can.

5. Motion Sickness

Just like humans, dogs can feel motion sickness too. It may not be something that they are accustomed to deal with, and car rides can make them sick. When it’s triggered, their salivary glands will activate to warn them that they are about to vomit. An uneasy car ride can lead to your dog feeling queasy and result in them puking. However, it isn’t fatal.

The best way to handle it is by not offering food to your pug during or immediately before the car ride. You should also invest in a decent canine seat or seatbelt to help prevent this. It will keep the dog in place, preventing any unnecessary swaying while in the car. You should also stop and take breaks from driving every once in a while, so your pug gets a time out if there are signs of motion sickness.

6. Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Pugs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have a flat face and short nose. While these features give them their distinctive look, having a compressed skull can have several consequences. They often suffer from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, which predisposes them to respiratory issues that long snouted dogs aren’t as prone to.

During and after physical activity, breeds like the pug need to rely on breathing through their mouth. This is because their short muzzles, small nostrils, and elongated soft palate (tissue at the back and roof of their mouth) obstructs the required airflow to cool down. By leaving their mouth open, this increases the chances for drool to flow outside of it. They’re also more focused on breathing, rather than keeping in their slobber.

You can’t change the structure of a pug, but you can manage this condition from causing other issues. For example, when water and saliva is left in their skin folds, this can lead to skin infections. To prevent this, make sure you wipe your pug dry after they catch their breath.

7. Teething For Pug Puppies

During a puppy’s teething process, they will drool more than what you’re used to. This is normal, and they will begin teething around the age of 6-7 months. It’s a natural response as their adult teeth is making their way through, and will be triggered by the discomfort that they’re experiencing. A chew toy can be very helpful in alleviating the irritation in their gums.

This is a temporary phase in their life, but expect to see pools of saliva every now and again. Some pups may drool more than others, but you can always seek the advice of your vet if concerned about how excessive it is.

8. Diseases

The thought of your dog being sick and being diagnosed with a disease can be very distressing to owners. However, if caught early and treated immediately, it can increase the chances of a full recovery. One key sign of being ill that’s associated with several medical conditions is drooling.

Excessive saliva production can help vet and owners detect conditions such as gum disease. Your vet will likely check for gingivitis, tumours, and mouth ulcers. The best way to prevent such conditions is to have good oral hygiene. That includes brushing your dog’s teeth every 2-3 days, and providing dental treats to accompany their meals.

Organ diseases related to the kidney or liver can also cause drooling. This is more common in older dogs, so ensure that you increase the frequency of veterinary check ups as your pug ages. Upper respiratory infections in the throat, nose, or sinuses, can also cause excessive drooling. Usually, this is contracted from other animals, so be sure to take the necessary steps to protect your pug.

9. Abdominal Pain

Pugs have sensitive stomaches and can contract an upset belly when eating foods and items that they’re not used to. In reaction to this, they may drool excessively. They’ll often produce more gas, feel irritated, and have terrible bowel movements.

This can happen during a change in your dog’s diet. If you decide to replace their usual food with another mix, then you should aim to transition them gradually. By adding the new dog food with the old, and slowly increasing the ratios over the course of a week, it will help prevent the onset of a bad belly.

Finally, they may have also eaten something that they shouldn’t have, which will cause them to drool and feel nauseas. It’s important to keep your dog supervised when they have things in their mouth, as vets have reported to find foreign objects like tennis balls and other strange items from a dog’s stomach.

10. Heat Stroke

Overheating is a possible cause to excessive saliva production since they don’t suit extreme temperatures. When exposed to constant heat or the sun without shade and access to water, a pug may suffer from heat stroke. Drooling is a result of this, and you will need to take your dog to the vet for immediate treatment.

As previously mentioned, pugs don’t breathe as well as long snouted dogs, and will need to pant to regulate their body temperature. Sometimes, this isn’t enough if the necessary precautions aren’t taken. Owners should keep their pug indoors and in a cool environment during days of extreme weather.

When outside and exercising, be sure to provide your dog with access to plenty of water and shade. Take many breaks, even if your dog is reluctant to, as the onset of heat stroke can happen really quickly without even realizing. Lastly, never leave a pug left inside a parked car with the windows closed. This is an easy way for a dog to overheat.

11. Toxic Materials

If you’re an avid hiker in the open fields, be sure to keep your pug on a leash and supervised. Exposure to poisonous plants and animals can cause your dog to fall ill and drool as a response. For instance, flowers such as tulips, azaleas, and chrysanthemums can be toxic when ingested by dogs.

Your pug might even run after poisonous spiders, toads, frogs, and other animals that can be troublesome for their health. By having it in their mouth, licking it, or even eating it, can have many consequences. If this happens and you notice drooling, be sure to rush your pet to the vet sooner rather than later.

Within the house, you should avoid having hazardous objects that’s within reach of your pug. Indoor plants, chemical products, electrical cables, and harmful foods like chocolate, can poison a dog.

12. Tooth Decay

Similar to a puppy teething and gum problems, tooth decay can cause similar problems. The build up of tartar can rubs against the inside of their lip which causes drooling. Tooth decay can lead to cavities and a lot of pain. The saliva production can also be a natural reaction to wash away the bacteria that’s building inside of a dog’s mouth.

Check for swollen gums, bleeding, discolored teeth, and build up of plaque. Having good dental hygiene is imperative to a pug’s health, since they can be prone to such issues due to their overcrowded teeth. Oral problems can even lead to issues with the heart and lungs if left untreated.

13. Anxiety

Stress and anxiety is another factor that owners should be aware of if their pug is drooling without a physical cause. Boredom, lifestyle changes, and neglect can cause a dog to develop behavioral issues such as separation anxiety. Pugs are a companion breed and have been bred to be more naturally dependent. This comes with owning a pug, and if there isn’t enough dedication and time for one, then you really shouldn’t adopt one.

During training, harsh forms of punishment can induce a lot of stress. As a reaction, a pug may drool or even defecate. Rather, owners should have patience and focus on positive reinforcement styles of training. By rewarding good behavior, they will learn to associate the command with an action while enjoying the process.

Overexcitement can also cause excess saliva production. When becoming hyperactive in certain situations, their open mouths will inevitably leave some room for them to dribble. While this is the opposite to anxiety, it is still a hyper form of emotion nonetheless. To control this behavior, be sure to keep your dog exercised and socialized as best you can.

14. Sleep

When a pug is fully relaxed and usually asleep, their mouth might be so relaxed that it leaves room for saliva to flow out. Since they’re not actively swallowing it, pools of their dribble builds up in their mouth which can eventually leak out during the night.

This may be a common occurrence for your pug, and if so, it may be handy to keep a towel under their head. Unfortunately, this can stain their bed, sheets, clothes, and couches. It may leave a foul stench, so you regularly clean and wash anything that is necessary. If the drooling is accompanied by excessive snoring, wheezing noises, and breathing difficulties, then you should get this checked out by your vet. It can be symptoms of an issue such as sleep apnea or worse.

Final Thoughts: When Drooling Is Problematic

While there are many instances where drooling is completely normal, owners need to look out for signs of a problematic issue. Some of these can be potentially fatal if ignored. There some helpful tips owners can follow in order to properly care for their drooling pug.

  • Always look of behavioral changes in your dog. A difference in their day-to-day interaction with you and overall mood can be a good indicator to a potential problem. Lethargy, irritation, loss of appetite, and reluctance to do something they normally enjoy are some key signs to an issue.
  • Regular vet check ups is essential to ensuring that you pug is at optimal health. Owners can easily miss signs of a problem since we’re not actively looking for them. A professional can help diagnose problems that we might otherwise think is normal.
  • Good hygiene and regular maintenance of a pug will help prevent issues from arising. Daily brushing of their teeth and healthy dental hygiene will prevent oral diseases and infections. This will stop the excessive drooling from aforementioned issues.
  • Exercise is necessary to keep a pug fit, but it’s also a great form of mental stimulation. This helps prevent behavioral issues associated with boredom and neglect, as anxiety can cause a dog to drool. However, plenty of rest, shade, and water is necessary during physical activity. Heat stroke can be fatal, and drooling is a common symptom for overheating.

Related Questions

Pug drooling and coughing? When drooling is accompanied by coughing, this can be related to a respiratory infection, such as kennel cough. I would recommend checking in with you vet for a proper diagnosis.

My pug’s chin is always wet! Whether it’s from drinking water or lying in a pool of drool, a pug’s chin and neck can stay quite wet. Owners need to wipe it dry whenever this is noticed, as sustained moisture in the area can lead to fungi or yeast infection.

Pug frothing at mouth? Foaming of the mouth is never a good sign. It can be related to seizures, rabies, or dental diseases. Sometimes, it can be a build up saliva that’s mixed with the air, and this can indicate that they’re about to vomit.


Fetch by WebMD, 2021. Why Does My Dog Drool So Much?

Gibeault, S., 2021. Why Do Dogs Drool? When It’s Natural and When It’s Cause for Concern.

Rehman, I., Mahabadi, N., Sanvictores, T. & Rehman, C., 2021. Classical Conditioning.

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