Creating a Dog Drool-Protected Home

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, how to protect your home from unwelcome goo, and which dog breeds drool the most.

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.

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.

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.

If your dog is slobbery, another invaluable tool is the ‘drool towel.’ Keep dedicated, absorbent drool towels handy in every room and in the car. Make it a habit to give a quick swipe under her jowls with the towel and your best friend won’t leave a trail of drool in her wake wherever she roams or rests her head.

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 into 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.

Which Dog Breeds Drool the Most?

Some dog breeds are known to drool often and copiously, particularly jowly breeds with large, hanging flews (upper lips) and dewlaps—extra skin beneath their lower jaw. Saliva collects within their flews and dewlaps and, when they eventually shake their heads, any unlucky bystanders get gooped. If you’re put off by drool, do your dog breed research and triple check that your favorites aren’t famed for slinging saliva like these known droolers:

The Newfoundland

This outsized breed has a sweet nature that is tough to resist. But excessive dog drool is part of the Newfoundland package, so you must bypass this breed if you can’t stomach slobber. Newfies have jowls that hold saliva until it overflows or they send it flying with one head shake. If you live with a Newfie, chances are you’ve learned to keep a drool towel handy so you can swipe her chin frequently. It can significantly reduce messes around the house and on your clothes. Get familiar with your Newfoundland’s average drool production. The breed is at elevated risk of heat-related illnesses and, because excessive drooling is a symptom, knowing what’s normal for your Newfie can help you spot trouble.

The Clumber Spaniel

This rare sporting dog—the largest of the spaniel breeds—has a droopy appearance with folds on her cheeks and pendant ears. The Clumber Spaniel’s drooping upper and lower lips take the blame for her inclination to drool abundantly. A handy towel will keep gooey messes in check, but some slobber is part of the Clumber Spaniel package—a negative she more than makes up for with her loving and mellow personality.

The Mastiff

Though imposing in appearance, Mastiffs are big softies. They love to snuggle, but be warned—cuddles with your Mastiff may get goopy. Keep a throw blanket on the couch so you can protect your clothes when she lays her head on your lap (a favorite Mastiff spot). The breed can be stubborn, so include wiping your Mastiff’s chin with a drool towel in her early training to ensure she accepts it as part of the daily routine.

The St. Bernard

St. Bernards are contenders for “droopiest jowls” among canines. Their flews dangle below their lower lips, which also hang a little, creating an easy exit point for drool. Their pendulous jowls contribute to the wise, tolerant expression of this kindly breed, and make a large stash of drool towels a necessity. Like Newfoundlands, St. Bernards are prone to heat-related illnesses, making it essential to recognize normal drooling versus excessive drooling. This charming breed is a hug magnet, but a little slobber on your shoulder is well worth the warm and fuzzy embrace.

The Bloodhound

Another “droopiest jowls” contender, the Bloodhound has floppy flews and dewlaps to match her long, pendant ears. Bloodhounds collect saliva in their cheeks and, as a result, they leave soggy drips in their wake wherever they roam. The breed makes an excellent, amiable companion for those who don’t mind a bit of extra cleanup.

Which Dog Breeds Drool the Least?

If you’re something of a neatnik, you’ll want a dog who doesn’t drool and dribble often. Dogs without dewlaps, and with short flews that don’t hang over the lower lip, are good breeds to start your search. The following breeds are not known for their excessive drooling, and some of them are meticulous self-groomers to boot. If dog drool is a big issue for you, another option is adopting a rescue dog. Tell shelter volunteers you’re looking for a dog who doesn’t drool much, and they can help guide you.

The Poodle (Standard, Mini, and Toy)

In addition to light-shedding coats that make them favorite breeds among dog owners with allergies, low-volume drooling is another positive for Poodles of every type. The neat, streamlined snouts of Standard, Mini, and Toy Poodles don’t collect much saliva to drip through the house. If you’re looking for a larger dog breed that doesn’t drool, the Standard Poodle is a good choice. The long, curly pendant ears of Poodles, however, are known to fall into their water bowl and drip after a drink.

The Corgi (Welsh and Cardigan)

Slobber isn’t a common sight on the wedge-shaped jawline of Pembroke Welsh Corgis or Cardigan Corgis. But don’t mistake them for an easy-care breed—Corgis shed abundantly, and are strong-willed and energetic dogs. They require consistent and ongoing training and socialization.

The Italian Greyhound

These sweet-tempered sighthounds are loving, playful, and neat companions. They don’t usually drool excessively, and their short, single coat doesn’t shed much. In cat-like fashion, Italian Greyhounds also spend a lot of time grooming themselves, which keeps ‘doggy’ odors in check. The one caveat about this usually considerate roomie: IGs are notoriously difficult to housetrain, so you’ll have messes to clean up until they get the hang of it.

The Basenji

Basenjis are tidy dogs with muzzles that don’t get too slobbery. They also groom themselves with care and are known as the “Barkless Dog” because of a flat-shaped larynx that makes normal barking impossible. This breed doesn’t win the “easiest, cleanest, quietest dog” prize, however. Basenjis make a yodeling noise instead of barking, they’re challenging to train, and they’re notorious destructive chewers.

The Japanese Chin

The short (brachycephalic) snout of the Japanese Chin is a source of abundant snuffling and snoring—but not of excessive drooling. Good news for your furniture, because the aristocratic Chin tends to climb on couches and perch on the backs of chairs—the better to survey her domain. Like Italian Greyhounds, Chins are often described as ‘cat-like’ and are obliging enough to groom themselves fastidiously.

A final bit of advice: all dogs come with some slobber—whether you choose a breed with a streamlined jaw or flews that hang down like curtains. Embrace your dog and embrace the cleanup. The mess is a small price to pay for the many joys of having a furry best friend at home.

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