Why Does Your Dog Foam at the Mouth?

When people see a dog foam at the mouth, their initial reaction is “rabies”. In the majority of instances, this is not the case. In areas of the world where regular immunization is practiced, the rabies vaccination has brought the existence and spread of canine rabies to a minimal level. But there are other reasons that a dog may foam at the mouth, some of which require veterinary care.

Common Reasons a Dog Foams at the Mouth

  • Dogs that play hard or are exerting a lot of energy may foam at the mouth. When the dog is exerting a lot of energy, he may salivate heavily. As he exerts energy or effort, his breathing becomes rapid and the air of the heavy breathing turns the saliva into a froth or foam.
  • A dog that gets a nasty taste in his mouth may salivate and pant, developing foam that lingers around its mouth.
  • Nausea can also cause a dog to salivate and pant, creating foam around his mouth. Depending upon the cause of the nausea, it may be necessary for your dog to see a veterinarian.
  • Stress or anxiety may be another cause for your dog to foam at the mouth. Drooling can be triggered by a nervous reaction. The drool, combined with the rapid breathing of a stressed or anxious dog, can build up foam around his mouth.
  • If your dog has ingested a poison of some type, he may foam at the mouth. If you suspect poisoning, it is important to get your dog to the veterinarian immediately to prevent any permanent damage, even death.
  • A dog who is having difficulty swallowing may also foam at the mouth. If your dog is experiencing difficulty swallowing, he may also be having difficulty breathing and should see a veterinarian right away to determine the cause of the problem.
  • Oral health problems can also cause a dog to hyper-salivate and pant due to stress. Abscesses, injury and tumors can prompt this kind of activity and require veterinary attention.
  • Seizures can cause a dog to foam at the mouth. The seizure activity often causes a dog to salivate and rapidly pant, creating foam around the mouth. Depending upon the severity of the seizure activity, wild or erratic behavior may accompany the foaming at the mouth. This type of activity will appear briefly if the foaming is caused by seizures.
  • Rabies can also cause foaming at the mouth and erratic behavior. But, instead of the behaviors lasting a short time, the dog will act erratically and foam at the mouth for a long time. Again the foam is caused by excessive drooling and rapid breathing.

The causes for a dog to foam at the mouth are varied in their duration and severity. While a dog who foams at the mouth during play may obviously return to normal once the exertion ends, a dog who exhibits the mouth foaming symptoms without a known cause should be monitored and potentially taken to the veterinarian to determine the reason for the hyper-salivation and rapid breathing. While foaming at the mouth is not serious in most cases, if it’s accompanied by additional symptoms, veterinary attention is the important next step to ensure your dog’s health.