Do Great Danes Drool?

do great danes drool

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Great Danes fortunately are not among the most prolific droolers in the canine world, but some drooling is normal and some Danes are certainly slobbery than others.

So, do Great Danes drool a lot?

Great Danes do drool a moderate amount thanks to their loose lips, square muzzles, and large size. However, some Great Danes drool more than others and the exact level of drooling often depends on genetics, environmental or emotional triggers, and in some cases, medical issues.

In this article, we’ll look at how much Great Danes drool, potential reasons for all the slobber, and what to do about that saliva if you’ve got a drooly Dane on your hands.

Let’s get started!

How Much Do Great Danes Drool?

Unfortunately, we can’t give an exact amount in ounces of how much drool is normal for Great Danes – it simply depends on the Dane. However, you can expect that a Great Dane will drool significantly more than small dogs (based solely on their size) and more than tighter-lipped breeds like sighthounds, but less than these 10 slobber-monster breeds.

However, all dogs will drool at least a little bit at some point – it’s healthy and necessary for digestion! 

In order to understand how much Great Danes drool and whether your Dane is drooling a normal amount, it’s important to look at the potential reasons behind salivation.

Why Great Danes Drool

Every Great Dane will have different drool triggers, but in general, the causes can be divided into physical, emotional/behavioral, and medical reasons. Let’s look at each category more in depth.

Physical Reasons that Great Danes Drool

There are some reasons that Great Danes drool that are physically hardwired into them or simply depend on how their bodies are put together, such as:

Jowls

Great Danes have square jaws and flews, or loose upper lips that often dangle below their chins (especially European Great Danes who have looser skin in general). These loose upper lips mean it’s more difficult to keep saliva in their mouths, and their lower lips can sometimes fill with saliva and then overflow, causing a waterfall of drool.

If you’ve ever had dental anesthesia, you know how hard it can be to keep your spit in your mouth when you can’t fully control your lips – that’s how it is for Great Danes all the time!

Large Size

Great Danes are also among the biggest dogs in the world, which means that they are going to produce a big-dog amount of saliva. Even if you somehow had a Chihuahua that drooled a lot (unlikely, but could happen), it would still obviously be far fewer ounces of drool overall than a Great Dane who drooled at the same rate relative to his body size. So, even a “little bit” of Great Dane drooling can result in a serious puddle.

On top of that, Great Danes grow so fast that even at 8 weeks you’ll have a pup that weighs as much as 30 pounds! That means even a puppy can produce a lot of drool!

Sleeping

Some Great Danes also drool a lot in their sleep, especially if they fall asleep with their mouths open. But let’s be real, that’s happened to all of us at some point! Anyways, since Great Danes are notorious nappers and snugglers, this can lead to a lot of slobber.

Hunger

Hunger or the anticipation of food can also cause Great Danes to drool more than usual, although this is a necessary and healthy thing – as it is for humans as well! 

As you can see, this Great Dane starts drooling at the mere mention of food:

Saliva is a lubricant that keeps the mouth and throat comfortably moist (sorry, I know those two words are gross together), enhances the sense of taste, and enables effective swallowing by forming the chewed food into a bolus – an unpleasant-sounding word that just basically means a rounded, swallowable lump of chewed-up food and saliva. 

Saliva also contains enzymes that get the digestive process started, antibacterial compounds that help keep your Great Dane healthy even if he eats something *ahem* unsavory, and proteins and minerals that help prevent tooth and gum problems.

Plus, we all know that dogs have amazingly powerful sniffers, so your Great Dane might be catching a whiff of bacon frying a block away, thinking it might be his lucky day. If you are starving and think about your favorite meal, you’ll probably start salivating too!

Even if you’ve just fed your Great Dane and then you start cooking your own dinner and creating lots of tantalizing food smells, he might drool despite not actually being hungry. Just take that as a compliment of your cooking skills! 

Drinking Water

Drinking water isn’t really likely to cause a Great Dane to drool more than he already is, but the addition of water can make saliva less viscous and therefore more likely to spill out of his mouth, especially as he puts his head down to drink and immediately after having some water. Plus, dogs in general aren’t the neatest of drinkers, so your Dane might slop around a good amount of water on the floor or himself, which could easily be mistaken for drool.

Heat

Since dogs can’t sweat, they regulate their body temperature by panting, which obviously necessitates their mouths being open and therefore increases the likelihood of saliva spilling out. Your Great Dane will likely produce more saliva than normal to increase evaporation and thus lower his temperature more quickly. Also, if your Great Dane is really panting hard, it’s possible that he could basically be blowing slobber all over with each exhale. Charming, I know.

While some panting is normal and healthy on warm days or after physical exertion, be sure to monitor your Great Dane’s temperature to ensure that he doesn’t get dangerously warm and suffer a heatstroke.

Teething

Young Great Danes will lose their puppy teeth and grow in their adult teeth, usually when they are between 3-7 months of age. And, just like for human babies cutting their teeth, this process can be uncomfortable and result in extra salivation. So, if you notice some excess slobber around that time in your Great Dane’s puppyhood, know that it’s perfectly normal.

Some toys can help with teething and act as the main target for drool but just make sure you get a toy that’s big enough for your Great Dane!

Emotional/Behavioral Reasons that Great Danes Drool

There are some emotional or behavioral triggers that can cause your Great Dane to drool as well, such as:

Excitement

Excitement can cause a significant increase in saliva production. So, your Great Dane might be extra slobbery when he sees you after being apart for a while, if he knows you’re about to take him on a walk, or if he’s playing with his favorite canine companion

Arousal

Typically, excessive drooling due to arousal is an issue primarily for unfixed male Great Danes who see/smell a female dog in the vicinity – especially one who’s in heat. However, fixed males and fixed or unfixed females might also drool over a member of the opposite gender.

Seeing/Smelling Another Dog

Or, your Great Dane might just drool whenever he sees another dog, period. He could be excited about the prospect of a friend, or anxious about meeting someone new, which leads us to…

Anxiety or Nervousness

Drooling can also increase when your Great Dane is nervous or anxious. It’s not clear exactly why this is, but my personal hypothesis is that it’s similar to how humans might get sweaty palms/armpits/body/face as a result of being nervous, and since Danes can’t sweat, they drool out their nervousness. Sounds plausible, right?

Anyways, if you notice that your Great Dane only drools at certain times, see if you can identify possible triggers that could be making him nervous or anxious, such as a menacing mailman approaching the house, your imminent departure, the evil vacuum cleaner making an appearance, etc.

Medical Reasons that Great Danes Drool

Finally, there are several different medical issues that could cause excessive drooling:

Motion Sickness

Just like people, Great Danes can suffer from motion sickness, which frequently manifests as carsickness. While vomiting is a more sure-fire sign that your Dane is carsick, extreme drooling in the car can also indicate that he’s not feeling so hot. Your vet can provide suggestions and potentially even medication to help alleviate the nausea and, in turn, the drooling.

Mouth, Jaw, or Tooth Issues

Almost any kind of problem in the mouth or throat can cause excessive drooling, including broken or decayed teeth, abscesses, gum irritation, tumors, ulcers, throat obstructions, and so forth. If your Great Dane experiences pain when he swallows, he likely will do it as infrequently as possible, which will result in more drool than normal dripping out of his mouth. 

Visually examine your Great Dane’s mouth and brush his teeth and gums regularly. If you notice anything unusual or something that looks like inflammation, take your Dane to the vet as soon as possible to get the issue treated and prevent further pain and suffering.

Upset Stomach

Your Great Dane might also drool more than normal if he has an upset stomach, which can be caused by acid reflux, eating toxic/poisonous/non-edible things, irritable bowel syndrome, and so on. These issues might also present with lethargy, lack of or insatiable appetite, diarrhea and/or vomiting, and other symptoms in addition to extreme drooling.

Sometimes your Great Dane might just have an upset tummy for a short time after eating too fast or having a small amount of something he shouldn’t, but if you notice prolonged or chronic signs of a stomach issue, always consult your vet.

Bloat

Bloat is a very serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs mostly in large, deep-chested dogs like Great Danes. Bloat causes a buildup of air within the stomach, which can cause the stomach to flip over, often dragging the spleen and pancreas with it and cutting off the blood flow to the entire hind end of the body. This can lead to shock and other serious consequences, and it requires immediate medical intervention.

While it’s not known exactly what causes bloat, many vets suggest feeding your Dane small amounts of food several times throughout the day rather than one or two large meals, encouraging your Great Dane to eat slowly by using a slow-feeder bowl, and avoiding strenuous exercise before and after mealtime. 

Excessive drooling, retching, restlessness, and a hardened/painful abdomen are all signs that your Great Dane might be suffering from bloat. If you even suspect that it’s bloat, call your vet immediately.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are essentially doggy colds, which can cause your Great Dane to sneeze, sniffle, and drool more than usual. URIs are highly contagious and can lead to more serious problems if left untreated, so it’s always best to consult your vet.

Disease

Sadly, lots of diseases throughout the body can cause your Great Dane to start drooling more, such as kidney and liver disease, rabies (although your Dane should be vaccinated against this and therefore unsusceptible), and neuromuscular conditions. However, the plus side is that extreme drooling can potentially serve as an early warning system for these types of conditions and with swift medical intervention, your Great Dane may be able to go on to live a long and happy life.

So, if you notice sudden and extreme drooling, always consult your vet. It may just save your Dane’s life!

Ptyalism

Finally, ptyalism is a generalized medical condition characterized by hypersalivation (excessive drooling), which can be caused by any of the above issues as well as things like metabolic or neurological disorders, drug side effects, and so forth.

How Much Drool is Too Much?

There is no exact answer here, but the best metric for deciding whether your Great Dane is drooling too much is to look at how much he has drooled throughout his life. If, for instance, your Great Dane was relatively drool-free until the age of 2 and then suddenly started drooling profusely, that could be a sign of something serious going on. If your Great Dane starts drooling more in his old age or after having some teeth removed, that’s probably par for the course. Or, maybe your Dane has very flappy flews and has drooled his whole life – that’s normal.

You know your Great Dane best, and if you notice an abrupt or unusual change in his level of drooling, it’s always a good idea to get your vet’s opinion on the matter.

What To Do About Great Dane Drool

Unless your Great Dane is suffering from a medical condition that can be treated, there’s really no way to stop or reduce drooling – it’s just part of owning a Dane.

You can, however, manage the drool by investing in a bib or kerchief for your Dane, which keeps the slobber from soaking into his neck and chest and provides a handy wipe for when he really gets going. Or, keep slobber rags handy for the same purpose.

Otherwise, lean into it, appreciate all the positive qualities of saliva that we covered above, and accept all the slobbery kisses your Dane has to offer!

Final Thoughts

Great Danes aren’t among the slobberiest of dogs, but it’s still normal for them to drool quite a bit, especially when they are hungry, excited, or nervous, and if they see/smell another dog, are sleeping, or are panting because they’re warm. An unusually large amount of drool can indicate an underlying issue, and it’s best to have your Dane checked by a vet if his slobber levels suddenly change.