My Dog is Foaming at the Mouth, What Do I Do?
Is your dog foaming at the mouth? What does foaming at the mouth look like, anyway? How do you know when this is a serious problem and when it’s something fairly normal?
Foaming at the mouth is often cited as one of the most notable symptoms of rabies in dogs. However, rabies is not the only potential cause of this symptom, and it’s important to learn about the different causes of foaming at the mouth before panicking.
Read through the article below to find out more about what could be causing this issue and what you can do about it.
What Does a Dog Foaming at the Mouth Look Like?
Foaming at the mouth is the common term given to excessive, frothy drooling. Foamy drool often takes on a thick, whitish appearance and is different from more typical drool which is thin and clear.
Some dogs may foam at the mouth as a result of overactivity. If your dog has just been playing and has been more active than usual, there is probably nothing wrong with her even if she is foaming at the mouth a bit.
However, if your dog has not recently been active or if she is exhibiting any other strange or concerning symptoms, the foaming at the mouth could be a sign of a more serious issue.
What Causes Foaming at the Mouth in Dogs?
Foaming at the mouth can be caused by many different factors and have different levels of severity. If you’re ever questioning the reason why this is happening to your dog, you should contact an emergency vet right away. Even if the underlying cause doesn’t turn out to be something severe, it’s important to always be on the safe and proactive side when it comes to your pet’s health.
Below are some common causes for a dog foaming at the mouth:
Ingestion of Toxins
If your dog has ingested something toxic, she may foam at the mouth.
Ingestion of Something Bitter
Ingestion of something bitter or foul tasting, can sometimes cause dogs to foam at the mouth. This often develops and resolves rather quickly.
Many dental diseases cause foaming at the mouth. The symptom gradually worsens over time.
Heatstroke can cause foaming at the mouth in dogs, even in early stages of the condition.
Seizures may sometimes cause dogs to foam at the mouth.
Nausea may cause dogs to drool excessively or foam at the mouth.
Rabies can cause foaming at the mouth however it is pretty rare to see Rabies as most of our dogs are vaccinated against it. Rabies may also present with multiple other symptoms, including:
- Severe mood changes
- Difficulty breathing
- Sensitivity to lights, sounds and touch
What Can I Do to Help My Dog Stop Foaming at the Mouth?
Please call VEG right away if you are concerned that your dog’s foaming at the mouth may be due to something serious or if you can’t easily explain the cause for it. Identifying the reason for this behavior will be key in making sure the proper care is given.
Our veterinarians can perform a physical examination and certain tests to try and diagnose the cause for your dog’s signs, then offer solutions and options to help her recover whenever possible.
Treatment options will vary depending on the cause of the condition:
When Your Dog Ingests Something Toxic or Has Heatstroke
If your dog has ingested a toxin or is suffering from heatstroke, she needs to go to the emergency vet immediately. The sooner you take your pet to the emergency vet, the more likely she will be to make a full recovery from this condition.
When Your Dog Ingests Something Foul Tasting
This is usually self-limiting and will resolve on its own as the taste fades. If her signs don’t resolve quickly or worsen, please seek emergency veterinary care.
When Your Dog Has Dental Disease
If you suspect that your dog’s dental disease is the cause of her signs, she should see her regular vet as soon as possible. Your veterinarian may recommend dental cleaning and/or even removal of the damaged teeth, depending on the severity of your dog’s condition.
If you are unsure whether dental disease may be the cause of her signs, please seek emergency veterinary care.
When Your Dog is Nauseous or Having Seizures
If your dog is feeling nauseated or is having seizures, consider the situation.
Is the nausea coming from a known issue, like a new medication or a change in her food? If so, you may be able to start by monitoring at home and see if it resolves. If it continues or worsens, she should be seen by a veterinarian.
Are the seizures new, or is this a known condition? If it is known, you can probably also wait—unless the seizures are long, frequent or associated with a change in behavior or other signs of illness.
When Rabies is a Concern
Although rabies is rarely a concern, if you suspect that your dog may have rabies, please seek veterinary care immediately.
Call ahead and let them know to expect you as they may need to make special arrangements for your arrival and will also help provide guidance over the phone. Because rabies can be spread from pets to people, it is very important to follow provided instructions and care.
If you don’t feel you can safely transport your pet, please reach out to your local Animal Control Officer for assistance.
Call VEG Right Away if Your Dog is Foaming at the Mouth
At VEG, we care about your dog’s health and are always prepared to handle any emergency situation that may occur. We have locations all over the country, with most being open 24/7, including holidays. If your dog is foaming at the mouth, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We have emergency veterinarians who are ready to talk with you and guide you on the next best steps to make sure your pet gets the care she needs.
Dr. Katrina Abell Medical Director, VEG Cambridge
Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine
VEG is a network of Emergency Veterinarians located across the country. We are dedicated to helping people and their pets when they need it most. If your pet is ever in an emergency situation, use the link below to find our nearest location so we can get your pet the help they need.