By: Orvis Staff

Photo by: Kathryn, Smithfield

Owning a dog makes life a good measure happier—and messier. Constant fur to vacuum, muddy paws to manage, and full-body fur shakes after rainy walks. But the slimiest canine mess is the dreaded dog drool puddle. Your dog puts your devotion to the test when you sit on a drool-soaked couch cushion, or slide across the hardwood floor on a patch of slobber. The good news is, even if your best friend is a copious drooler, it’s possible to keep the mess to a minimum. Here’s a primer on all things dog drool and how to protect your home from unwelcome goo.

Why Do Dogs Drool?

Just like people, dogs have saliva and, as a result, drool happens. Also like people, dogs may drool more as an involuntary response to stimuli and conditions. For example, most dogs drool on very hot days because it helps keep them cool. Many dogs will also drool around meal times or when they see their people eating as they anticipate their dog food or delicious table scraps. Your dog may continue to drool after eating because digestion (which begins with chewing and saliva) is still in progress.

Some dog breeds are known to drool often and copiously, particularly jowly breeds with big lips and cheeks. Saliva collects in their cheeks, and when they eventually shake their heads, any unlucky bystanders get gooped. If you are really put off by drool, do your dog breed research and triple check that your favorites aren’t famed for slinging saliva. A few beloved dog breeds well known for their drooling: Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, and Bloodhounds.

If your dog suddenly begins drooling far more than he usually does, it could indicate a health issue. Excessive, uncharacteristic drooling is a symptom of heatstroke and requires immediate medical attention. Drooling can also be a sign of dental issues, such as periodontal disease, neurological problems, and separation anxiety or other anxiety issues.

Can Dogs Drool in Their Sleep?

Dogs drool more in their sleep because they are relaxed and not swallowing as often as they do when awake. Drooping jowls and gravity take care of the rest, and you’ve got a damp spot or a puddle wherever they lay their heads.

How to Stop Your Dog From Drooling

Once you’ve ruled out a medical condition for the drooling, accept that you can’t prevent it. Instead, shift your focus to protecting your house from the drool. If your dog drools in abundance and has couch or bed privileges, dog furniture protectors are your best bet. They are soft, inviting, and washable, and provide an extra layer of protection between your dog’s mouth and your favorite chair. If your dog enjoys naps in multiple locations, a protective throw is a good option because you can move it around. If she has a preferred chair or corner of the couch, you could go with a furniture protector designed specifically for a chair or couch.

How to Remove Dog Drool From Furniture

If your dog makes her mark before you get the furniture protector in place, here’s what to do:

  1. If you notice the drool before it’s dried, dab the area thoroughly with a damp paper towel and then clean with a mild dish detergent or dog-safe and furniture-safe cleaning product.
  2. If the drool is dry, move directly to dabbing the area with a mild, dog- and furniture-safe detergent or cleaning product. Repeat if it appears some drool remained after the first cleaning.

Of course, prevention is the best way to avoid dog drool spots on your furniture. When your best friend leaves her drool pools on a blanket or furniture protector, you can simply toss it in the wash.

Reducing Meal-Related Dog Drool

Meal times can get messy. The splashing water. The dog food enjoyed with gusto. And the extra drooling. To help contain the mess, set up a dedicated meal area for your dog. Place your dog’s water and food bowls on a Water Trapper® mat. This will absorb any water that slops over the side of her bowl, and any extra drool she produces while eating.

It helps to establish a consistent time for meals so your dog’s meal-related drooling kicks in only twice per day. And avoid giving your dog table scraps if at all possible. If she gets a taste for table food and you give in even once, she’ll be tableside staring hopefully at you and drooling at every meal.

A final bit of advice: if your dog drools a lot, keep a dedicated, absorbent drool towel handy in every room and in the car. Make it a habit to give a quick swipe under her jowls regularly with the towel and your best friend won’t leave a trail of drool in her wake wherever she roams or rests her head.

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