Thanks to popular media, the first thing that pops to mind when you hear "frothing at the mouth" is, you guessed–rabies. But, don't jump to this conclusion! Frothing at the mouth in dogs can point to anything from the dreaded "R" word to medicinal side effects. Check out some of the reasons why
A dog's frothing of the mouth may be a sign of rabies, a very serious viral disease. Toward the later stages of infection, you may observe a variety of symptoms other than foaming, including loss of coordination, confusion, overall bodily weakness, convulsions, appetite loss and jaw and throat paralysis. The frightening and dangerous disease usually kills animals within days.
Medication Side Effects
Foaming of the mouth in dogs can also sometimes be a side effect of medication use. For dogs who suffer from stress and anxiety, veterinarian-prescribed tricyclic antidepressants are sometimes associated with mouth foaming, notes the ASPCA. Veterinarians may prescribe these medications for dogs in order to manage issues such as separation anxiety and obsessive licking. Never allow your dog to use these medications -- or any medications -- without veterinary approval. Some possible effects of the antidepressant, besides foaming of the mouth, include increased thirst, dry mouth, diarrhea, constipation and rapid heart rate. Immediately notify your veterinarian if you observe any of these symptoms in your precious pet.
Excessive salivation or frothing may point to extreme anxiety and stress in pooches. If your dog is so nervous that he's making the floors of your home damp with his drooling, then something is seriously upsetting him, whether it's being away from beloved companions for an extended period of time or being confined too long in a cramped crate.
Frothing may also indicate a reaction to poison in doggies. For example, if your little one somehow got his mouth on a tulip's bulb segments, excessive drooling may be a possibility. Other signs of tulip toxicity in canines are seizures, appetite loss and digestive distress.
Excessive drooling and mouth foaming sometimes is a symptom of motion sickness in canines. If your poor cutie just doesn't mesh well with rides in your car, whether to the veterinarian's office or the groomer, then motion sickness may just be the culprit. Some key signs of the problem, apart from foaming, are vomiting and low energy levels. Consult your veterinarian for options in managing your pet's frustrating motion dilemma.
By Naomi Millburn
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation: Rabies
The Merck Veterinary Manual: Rabies
ASPCA: 17 Poisonous Plants
Animal Humane Society: Separation Anxiety
ASPCA: Behavioral Medications for Dogs
ASPCA: Separation Anxiety
ASPCA: Fear of Riding in Cars
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.