If you want a Scooby Doo of your own, you’re most probably considering welcoming a Great Dane into your family. There’s not much to hate about these adorable giants—they’re friendly and sociable, with an imposing size that belies the gentleness underneath.
However, no matter how much you love your dog, drooling can be quite icky to deal with at times. So should you still consider a Great Dane if you don’t want a drooling doggo? We’ve got the answer for you!
First things first—all dogs drool and drooling is completely natural in dogs; in fact, it’s necessary.
Saliva plays many important roles in a dog’s body, aiding in breaking down food for easy digestion (you can’t always be certain that your dog’s going to chew food as you do!), lubricating the esophagus, acting as an antiseptic (which is why your dog licks any wounds), and regulating body temperature.
Compared to the three salivary glands that humans have, dogs have four, and these usually wake up when your dog’s got something in his or her mouth (objects such as toys or a ball), there’s a delicious bowl of food waiting, or when your dog wants to cool down.
However, some dog breeds drool more than others, such as Great Danes (though they’re nowhere close to winning the title of “Greatest Drooler”). All this drooling can be for a range of reasons.
Great Danes drool more than other dogs due to a range of reasons.
The first reason behind a Great Dane’s drooling (and a completely natural, unavoidable one) is the dog’s anatomy.
Some dog breeds, like Danes, mastiffs, and Saint Bernards, have excess skin around their mouth and lips, known as “flews”. This gives them the appearance of having bigger upper lips than most other dog breeds.
These flews act like pouches where saliva and water accumulate. Just like a dam overflows when it’s full, these flews also overflow when there are excessive amounts of water and saliva collected—after which it’s one big drool party.
Excess salivation can occur when dogs teeth, due to the discomfort and pain caused by baby teeth falling out and new, permanent teeth growing in their place. For Great Danes, teething occurs when they’re around four months old.
The amount of drooling may reduce once the teething period is over.
Also Read: When Do Great Danes Stop Growing?
Another normal instance of drooling is the regulation of body temperature. When they’re feeling hot, dogs tend to pant to cool themselves down. The panting is accompanied by drooling, which produces a better “cooling down” effect.
Since Great Danes may be more susceptible to overheating than most other breeds, the panting and drooling can be excessive. If this is accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath, move your Dane away from the heat to a cool place or indoors, and give them a drink of cool water.
If the symptoms don’t recede, consult a vet immediately.
Medical issues could be the culprit behind your Great Dane’s drooling, especially if it’s in excessive amounts.
Hypersalivation, also known as ptyalism, is a medical condition characterized by excessive salivation. If your Dane’s got this condition, he or she is going to be drooling way more than normal (which in itself is substantial!).
Ptyalism can occur due to a range of underlying health issues, such as:
- Issues in the stomach, either from diet changes or from ingesting something toxic
- Oral diseases such as an abscessed tooth, periodontal disease, or disease in the salivary glands
- Injuries in the mouth
- Metabolic disorders
- Pharyngeal disease
- An obstruction or injury in the throat passage
- Neurological issues
Ptyalism is usually accompanied by symptoms such as changes in behavior (aggression, reclusiveness, or being irritable), nausea and vomiting, a loss in appetite, and/or changes to the way they eat, such as weird head positions while eating, using only one side of the mouth to chew, and even refusing their food entirely.
Sometimes, excessive drooling can also occur in motion-sick doggos.
Apart from all the above reasons, your Great Dane could be salivating from thirst or hunger, or in anticipation of something he or she really enjoys.
Another reason could be anxiety and nervousness. Triggers such as unfamiliar people and animals, storms, and loud, continuous noises (thunder, crackers, and the like).
Also Read: Do Great Danes Need a Lot of Exercise?
As mentioned above, some of your Great Dane’s slobbering is completely natural and unavoidable, so you shouldn’t be trying to stop it.
In the case of drooling instigated by some sort of stimuli, such as food or motion sickness, the drooling will subside once the stimuli are taken away.
In the case of medical conditions, pay close attention to your Great Dane to see if the drooling is excessive, and if it is, consult your vet immediately. Also, note any accompanying symptoms so that the root cause is easier to pinpoint.
Once the condition is treated, the drooling should reduce gradually.
Remember—for you to know whether your Great Dane is drooling excessively, you’ll need to be familiar with how much your dog usually drools.
All you can do is to keep calm and clean while your Dane keeps calm and drools on! Keep a drool cloth or towel handy to wipe away any drool. Storing these in several spots around the house will make it easier to reach out for one when necessary.
Always wipe down your Dane’s face after a meal or drink; this will reduce the number of drool puddles that you need to deal with!
Additionally, it might be a good idea to upgrade your furniture to stain-free fabrics, such as leather, if you haven’t already. If not, train your Dane to only get onto furniture that you don’t mind getting drool on.
Finally, during grooming time, carefully clean and dry your Dane’s flews.
Also Read: 7 Officially Recognized Great Dane Colors
Great Danes may be quite naturally slobbery, but there are a ton of other qualities to love about Scooby Drool!
If you still have your heart set on a Great Dane, always look for signs of excessive drooling and if you notice them, work on getting to the bottom of these right away, as medical attention may be required.
It bears repeating—unless the drooling is instigated by some sort of stimulus or underlying medical condition, you won’t be able to stop it nor should you try. However, if you’re finicky about cleanliness, a Great Dane may not be the right dog for you.