If you are reading this you are probably wondering, why do some older dogs drool when a new puppy is added to the family?
Bringing a new puppy into the household is a big change and a major adjustment—especially for the existing family dog.
Adult dogs can have a range of reactions to the fuzzy new addition.
Some older dogs completely ignore the young whippersnapper.
Other adult dogs immediately want to play with their new little sibling.
Sometimes the resident dog reacts with aggression. When this happens, it is best to seek the assistance of a qualified positive reinforcement dog trainer to help get things back on track.
Many people notice that their older dog starts to drool during the first few days that a new puppy is in the house. Why does this happen?
Drooling in dogs is generally a sign of mild stress or anxiety, and it usually goes away once the older dog gets comfortable with the new puppy.
In this article, we will take a closer look at why dogs drool when a new puppy comes home, and what we can do about it!
What Exactly is Dog Drool Anyway?
Drool is simply another name for canine saliva. Some people also call it slobber.
Canine saliva is produced by multiple sets of glands in your dog’s mouth.
Canine saliva has many important functions for your dog. For example, saliva helps with chewing, swallowing and digestion.
It also contains enzymes and it removes harmful bacteria from the mouth and teeth. Drooling can even help with regulating body temperature by cooling down dogs that are overheating.
A little bit of drooling is perfectly normal. For example, most dogs salivate around mealtimes. Pavlov demonstrated this fact in a very famous experiment!
Their owners sometimes carry a “drool rag” to mop up excess slobber from their jowls.
However, excessive salivation can also be a sign that something stressful is going on in your dog’s life.
What Does Drooling Indicate?
Excessive drooling is a common sign of stress, anxiety or nervousness in dogs.
Many dogs drool during thunderstorms, on car rides, or during trips to the vet or boarding kennel.
If your older dog starts drooling when you bring a new puppy into the home, your adult dog is probably a little bit stressed out by the new addition.
Other common signs of stress in dogs include:
- Stiff body
- Tucked tail
- Flattened ears
- Loss of appetite
If you look closely, you will probably see your adult dog displaying some of these other signs of stress along with the drooling.
Do not panic. A little bit of anxiety is normal during a transition.
It will take time and patience, but your dog will start to feel more comfortable with the new pup and the drooling will subside.
If your dog’s increased drooling coincides with a major change in the household (such as the addition of a new puppy), the cause of the drooling is most likely anxiety or stress.
However, there is always the possibility that excessive drooling could be an indication of a medical condition.
For example, excessive salivation is commonly associated with dental disease.
Drooling can also be an indication of nausea or some kind of foreign object (or even a tumor) in your dog’s mouth.
Therefore, if your dog’s increased drooling does not go away within a couple of days, give your veterinarian a call to rule out a medical issue.
Your vet can perform a thorough exam of your dog’s mouth, teeth and throat to make sure that there is not an underlying physical cause of the drooling.
What to do About the Drool?
What can you do to make your dog’s drooling stop?
The good news is that the drooling should decrease as your dog feels more and more comfortable around the new puppy.
This will usually happen naturally over the course of a few days.
There are certain things that you can do to help your existing dog feel less stressed.
- Give your adult dog plenty of “down time” away from the puppy. Your existing dog should not be expected to be around the new puppy 24/7—especially not at first.
- Take the two dogs on lots of walks and outings together. Going on adventures together is a great way for two dogs to bond with each other.
- Give your older dog praise and treats for being around the new puppy. Your dog will start to associate the new puppy with good things!
- Feed the dogs separately so that your older dog does not feel like the new puppy is competing with them for resources.
- Give your older dog lots of attention and one-on-one time with you.
- Give your older dog a “safe space” like a crate. Do not allow the puppy to constantly pester your older dog. Keep the puppy on a leash at times to give your older dog the choice to interact with the pup or not.
- Use products that help reduce your older dog’s anxiety such as a Thundershirt or an Adaptil collar.
- Keep the environment as calm as possible. For example, do not invite lots of friends over right away to meet the new puppy. Give the dogs time to adjust to each other before adding more excitement to the household.
With time, patience and effort, your older dog will adjust to having the new puppy in the family.
Just be prepared to mop up some doggie slobber during the adjustment process.
If your older dog is still showing signs of stress and agitation after a few weeks with the new puppy, seek the assistance of your veterinarian and/or a qualified positive reinforcement trainer to help with the family dynamics.