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Many dogs drool before vomiting, to the point of the drool dropping to the floor causing messy spills. Turns out though that nausea and drooling in dogs is a common combination. 

Indeed, the drooling is a protective mechanism which happens in humans too. Discover what causes dogs to drool before vomiting. 

Do Dogs Drool When They Are Nauseous?

The medical term for drooling is "ptyalism" and it refers to the abnormal buildup of saliva in dogs.

Basically, the buildup of saliva breaks down into the two main causes: dogs either produce too much saliva, or the saliva is produced in normal amounts, but isn't normally swallowed. 

It is normal for dogs to drool when nauseous. In this case, the drool is caused by the production of excessive saliva. When too much saliva accumulates, the excess will drool its way out of the dog's mouth, causing the visible drool.

On top of drooling, dogs will lick their lips and seek grass to get relief from an upset stomach. Often, within a few minutes, stomach contractions may be noticed followed by vomiting.

As seen, many dogs drool therefore when nauseous, however, it's important finding out why the dog is feeling sick in the first place. 

A picture of a dog drooling before vomiting.

A picture of a dog drooling before vomiting.

What Causes Dogs to Drool Before Vomiting?

As mentioned, nausea causes drooling in dogs and therefore it's common to see dogs drool before vomiting. Some dogs will drool more than others. 

Since this drooling often precedes a bout of vomiting, you may want to move your dog outdoors or on a title floor to protect your carpets and upholstery. Intrigued? Discover why dogs vomit on carpet.

Why do dogs salivate before vomiting? The mechanism is interesting and is the same reason why us humans salivate too before vomiting.

Basically, that extra saliva is produced so to help protect the dog's mouth and throat from the highly acidic stomach contents. 

Its excess build-up therefore assumes a protective role considering that it's meant to help minimize erosions to the mouth and tooth enamel caused by those potent gastric acids.

Drooling and vomiting therefore tend to go hand in hand. 

Did you know? A 20 kilogram dog (around 44 pounds) is capable of producing anywhere between a half a liter up to 1 liter of saliva a day! The amount is usually higher in dogs who are fed dry foods.

Dogs Salivating from Motion Sickness

If your dog doesn't normally drool, but starts drooling copiously when he's in the car, most likely he suffers from motion sickness.

In this case, the drooling is likely a mix of an upset stomach and anxiety. Motion sickness is mostly seen in puppies, and luckily most of them outgrow this problem as they mature. However, your intervention helps. Read more about this here: do puppies outgrow motion sickness?

Because motion sickness causes nausea in dogs, you can expect your dog to vomit so make sure you protect your car seats.

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In some lucky circumstances, some dogs may just drool for the whole car ride and not vomit, but the drooling can get messy too!

 The reason why motion sickness is more common in puppies is likely because the parts of their inner ear responsible for balance isn't fully developed.

Motion sickness indeed is thought to occur as a discrepancy between the signals sent to the brain from areas known for controlling balance and vision such as the inner ear.

When dogs become motion sick, impulses from the dog's inner ear are believed to travel through the chemoreceptor trigger zone (CRTZ) to the vomiting center. 

Drooling in the car can be a mix of nausea and anxiety.

Drooling in the car can be a mix of nausea and anxiety.

Is it Normal For My Dog to Drool After Vomiting?

Normally, dogs should stop drooling after throwing up if the vomiting episode is over, however, in more severe cases the drooling associated with nausea will continue and more vomiting episodes may take place.

Persistent vomiting often warrants a veterinary visit considering that some causes of vomiting in dogs can be serious. 

Serious Cases of Vomiting In Dogs 

In general, your dog should see a vet in these following scenarios: 

  • If your dog vomits several times during the day
  • If the vomiting continues for multiple days in a row
  • If there are other accompanying symptoms such as altered appetite, altered thirst, changed frequency of urination, presence of blood in the vomit, presence of blood in the stool, diarrhea, significant weight loss, your dog has pale or white gums, unusually severe lethargy, fever, abdominal pain, dehydration and collapse.

There can be several serious causes in vomiting in dogs where every second counts. You don't want to delay treatment when the underlying causes are serious.

 For instance, exposure to various toxins may cause excessive drooling and vomiting in dogs. Always keep the poison control hotline number in reach and don't hesitate to contact if you suspect your dog got in contact with some toxins.

 Intestinal blockages can cause lots of vomiting too, considering that a foreign object may lodge somewhere along the dog's digestive tract, causing food to be unable to pass through. 

Veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec here shares info on when you should be concerned about your dog throwing up.  

For further reading:

Vomiting versus regurgitation in dogs

Why is my dog eating grass and vomiting?

Dehydration in the vomiting dog

Bland diet for dog with an upset stomach

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