There are many reasons dogs foam at the mouth but the first thought that usually comes to most people’s minds when they see a dog foaming at the mouth is – RABIES! Fortunately, this is rarely the cause. In areas of the world where dogs are routinely vaccinated for rabies, the spread of canine rabies is at a very low level.
- Some of the reasons a dog may foam at the mouth include:
When dogs are playing hard and exerting a lot of energy they often salivate heavily which may look like they’re foaming at the mouth. As a dog expends more energy or effort, its breathing becomes rapid and the air it breathes turns the saliva into a froth or foam.
Stress or anxiety can also cause a dog to foam at the mouth. Drooling is not the same as foaming at the mouth. However, if a dog becomes highly stressed or anxious, the dog’s drool combined with its rapid breathing can build up foam around the mouth.
If a dog bites or eats something that leaves a nasty taste in its mouth, it may salivate and pant, creating foam that stays around its mouth. If a dog becomes nauseous it can also salivate and pant, creating foam around its mouth.
A dog who is having difficulty swallowing something may also foam at the mouth. If a dog is experiencing a lot of difficulty swallowing, it may also be having difficulty breathing. This is a condition for a veterinarian to check as soon as possible.
If a dog ingests a poison it may foam at the mouth. If you suspect your dog may have been poisoned it’s critical to get it to the veterinarian immediately to prevent permanent damage or death.
Seizures will cause a dog to foam at the mouth. The seizure itself causes a dog to salivate and pant very rapidly which creates foam around its mouth. In this case there is no need to worry about the foaming but the dog may need to be prescribed an anti-seizure medication.
If a dog does develop rabies it will foam at the mouth and display erratic behavior. Instead of the erratic behavior lasting a short time, the dog will be exhibiting the behavior and will foam at the mouth most of the time.
The length of time that dogs foam at the mouth varies in longer or shorter durations and severity. A dog who foams at the mouth during an excitable playtime will resume normal breathing and the foam will disappear once the exertion ends.
While foaming at the mouth is not usually a serious matter, if your dog is having other distressing symptoms you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible to protect your dog’s health.