Most dogs drool and dribble. It comes with the territory of being a dog owner. But are Frenchies any different, do they drool and dribble a lot? And if so, could it be a sign of a health problem. I wanted to take a closer look.
Do French Bulldogs drool and slobber? French bulldogs do drool, and more so after eating or drinking. Some will also drool after excessive exercise and start slobbering uncontrollably. However, a Frenchie that dribbles, slobbers, and drools a lot can also be a sign of a bigger problem such as a medical condition or health problem.
Our personal experiences with Frenchie dribble
Our Frenchie, Claude, dribbles a lot after a run out at the park with other dogs. He will get this stringy dribble around his mouth.
On really bad days, it can actually make him look rabid. He’s not of course, but it doesn’t look good, particularly to other dog owners!
He will also be very slobbery after he has had food and drink. Just like most French bulldogs as he’s quite a messy eater and is the greediest dog I’ve ever known.
He is our first ever Frenchie, so when he first started drooling my wife and I wanted to be 100% certain that there were not any medical conditions or warning signs we should be looking out for.
In this guide, I am going to tell you what we learned, and what you should look out for if your French bulldog has excessive drooling and licking.
Why is my French bulldog drooling all of a sudden?
So firstly, don’t panic if yours does have dribble all of a sudden. It’s perfectly natural, and Frenchies are known for drooling, slobbering, and dribbling and they do it a lot!
They aren’t the perfect house guests that’s for sure!
Dogs drool for a number of reasons, but in the main it boils down to eating and digestion. The slobbery dribble helps to wet their mouth, digest the food down, and help to stop tooth decay and gum disease.
Why do French bulldogs drool so much?
Due to this breed being of a brachycephalic nature, it means they have short and wide snouts, with overhanging lip folds, and the occasional underbite. That means a lot of slobber from time to time.
And let’s give these guys a break – you would dribble too if you were constructed that way!
However, there is normal drooling and not normal drooling. The time you should pay more attention is if the situation becomes excessive.
So, what is excessive drooling?
If your dog is drooling in situations which you can’t put down to exercise, eating, or drinking, and it’s becoming sudden, regular and sustained outside of those activities, it’s the time to investigate.
Why is my French bulldog drooling excessively?
Excessive drooling can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Excitement and food
- Mouth disease and tooth decay
- Heat stroke
- Motion sickness
- Anxiety and stress
- Mouth injuries
- Organ disease
We’re going to now look at those all a little closer.
This is by far the most common reason why your French Bulldog drools. I see our own dog Claude doing this on an almost daily basis after our morning walk. In the mornings we will play stick, and after 5 minutes he will have started to drool. It’s long and stringy, hanging out of his mouth, and bits of grass, dirt, and leave stick to it. When we saw Claude with this, we call them “lip hangers”.
2. Excitement and food
I’ve never met a Frenchie who doesn’t get excited, and that excitement ramps up ten-fold once food is on the agenda.
Imagine someone placed your most favourite food in front of you for 2 hours, and you weren’t allowed to touch it.
Well, that 10 seconds it takes you to fill their bowl up with dog food probably seems like the same amount of time for them – and so you can understand why French bulldogs drool a lot when presented with food.
It seems like a lifetime to them!
But it’s nothing to worry about in this case.
Pavlov’s experiments with dogs and saliva
As an interesting aside, the famous Russian physiologist Pavlov conducted some experiments with dogs, in particular how much they drool and why. He found, as you would expect, that when they smelled food, dogs would salivate and drool. This was no surprise, as saliva is generated to help in the digestion of food.
However, and this is where it gets interesting; he also found that he could get dogs to drool a lot by triggering events unrelated to feeding. For example, just before feeding he would open a door into the room. He found that just by the door opening, the dog would drool. This is because the dog had learned what the door opening meant – and this would happen in the absence of any food and food smells.
You can read more about Ivan Pavlov’s experiments on the Psychologist World website.
3. Mouth disease and tooth decay
Just like us, Frenchies are prone to teeth and gum problems.
As well as drooling a lot, you should also check for red and swollen gums, receding gums, bad breath (in other words, worse than usual!), bleeding, bloody dribble, lumps in the mouth, not wanting their head to be touched, and loose teeth.
Handy Hint: I recently developed a guide to French Bulldog puppy teething which includes a timeline of what to expect.
All of those symptoms are signs of mouth disease, and the dog’s mouth will work overtime to try to medicate itself by keeping the area wet with dribble.
To help prevent mouth disease in your French bulldog, make sure he has plenty of chew toys, good quality food, a regular cleaning.
You can see some products I recommend for Frenchie dental care in my recommend products section.
4. Heat stroke
Our French bulldog doesn’t know when to stop running and playing, and he will literally do so until he is completely exhausted and can’t run anymore.
We often have to calm him down and take him home from the park early if he’s over-doing it.
And this is a prime cause of drooling.
In the summer months we even have to cut his walks down by half, and only go out early in the morning or late in the evening once the sun had gone down.
By drooling when hot, your French bulldog helps to cool his body temperature down. You can help him achieve this by giving him plenty of cool water.
Our dog Claude will also find the nearest stream on a hot day and get himself cooled down that way too.
To summarise this point though, keep your Frenchie cool. And if he’s dribbling when hot or over-worked, it’s just his body trying to combat the heat.
You do need to bring that heat down though, and quickly.
5. Motion sickness
Not all dogs like travelling in cars, but it’s virtually essential for most owners that they travel at some point with them in the vehicle.
All dog breeds can suffer from motion sickness, but it is more prevalent with puppies who aren’t used to travelling on the road.
To help prevent motion sickness drooling, take the following steps:
- Try to have them sitting forward, possibly with a dog seatbelt
- Leave windows open a gap to get air circulating in the car
- Limit how much they eat before the journey
If your Frenchie is particularly prone to travel sickness, work up slowly to big trips, bring some special toys with you, and possibly even change vehicles to try avoid their association with a previous unpleasant experience.
6. Anxiety and stress
A stressed-out dog can also drool a lot.
Most of the time this anxiety and fear will come about from a change in his environment, loud noises, or anything he isn’t used to or expecting.
In fearful situations you might find that as well as drooling a lot, your French bulldog will also exhibit other behaviours such as a loss in appetite, aggression, indifference, hiding, and shaking.
If you see any symptoms like this, get your dog into a relaxed place at home, and surround him with things that he knows and understands.
Put simply, you need to take away anything that is causing your dog stress, leading to dribbling.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times we have had to hook something out of Claude’s mouth such as child toy’s, pens, cleaning products, and even other dog’s excrement.
It’s disgusting, but younger French bulldogs in particular are not fussy about what goes in their mouths.
Whilst it might look funny, it can lead to poisoning, which in turn will mean they will start dribbling and drooling more than usual.
Things to keep well out of your French bulldog’s way include:
- Cleaning products
- Cosmetics and makeup
- Deceased animals
- Another dog’s excrement
- Gardening toxins
If you think your Frenchie has eaten something he shouldn’t have, and the excessive drooling suddenly starts, seek veterinarian help immediately.
8. Mouth injuries
Dogs naturally try to heal themselves, and the way they do that with their mouth, is with dribble.
If excessive dribbling comes on quickly, do a mouth inspection to check for any cuts.
Drooling could also be a sign that they have something stuck in their mouth or throat, which isn’t that unusual with Frenchies of all ages – like young babies, they like to explore things by sticking them in their mouth.
Rabies is extremely unusual in the Western world, so it’s extremely unlikely that your Frenchie is affected. Here’s what the BBC have to say about rabies instances in dogs:
“Rabies was eliminated from domestic animals in the US and UK during the middle of the last century. Dogs, cats, ferrets and other susceptible animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies are required to remain in quarantine for six months before they can enter the UK, in order to keep the UK rabies-free”
If your Frenchie has been abroad, or come into contact with a possible rabies’ carrier, you should be aware that this could be a cause of drooling.
Other signs of rabies to look for include:
- Fever and seizures
- Jaw is dropped
- Inability to swallow
- Change in tone of bark
If your French bulldog is drooling excessively, it’s one of the items on the tick list to check for albeit the most unlikely cause.
10. Organ disease
If your French bulldog is drooling a lot, and you’ve eliminated the other potential causes here, then it could be a sign of a very serious health problem.
The first sign of a kidney or liver problem will often be excessive drooling and licking.
Get your dog to a vet quickly, but also make sure that you have regular health check-ups for him.
Symptoms to look out for
As well as the excessive drool, which will be the main indicator, also think about what might have changed in your Frenchie’s life, for example:
- Has anything changed with the way he behaves?
- Have you changed his diet?
- Did he eat anything whilst on a walk?
- Has he been involved in a fight with another dog?
- Has he over-exerted himself?
- Are his teeth in good shape?
- Has something changed in the household that could make him anxious?
French bulldog drooling while sleeping
This is another time when dribbling is very common.
The narrow nasal passages and short snout means that your Frenchie will snore. Virtually from the moment he’s falls asleep, and many times even when’s he’s awake!
Because he can’t close his mouth, or perhaps can’t breathe through his nose, drooling will be very common.
Some owners will pay for nasal surgery, but I would only advise this if your dog has Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) and is struggling to breathe.
Don’t put him through surgery just to try and prevent the dribble!
The same goes for snoring. Surgery can help the drooling and snoring but should be carefully considered. I wrote a help guide on how to reduce snoring in Frenchies which I advise you read before opting for a more serious option.
French bulldog drooling when walking
If your Frenchie is drooling when walking and not at any other times, then it’s most likely excessive slobber due to exercise. At a guess, it probably means you’ve been walking your Frenchie when the weather is too hot or too much.
Frenchies cannot deal with heat (read more here) and will start to slobber uncontrollably when they overheat.
During the summer we only walk Claude when it’s cool in the morning and cool in the evening. He cannot deal with direct heat from the sun, and will start drooling suddenly when too warm or over-exerted.
French bulldog drooling on one side of mouth
Excessive drool and slobber aren’t unusual with Frenchies, but you might be concerned if you only see the drool come from one side of his mouth.
It could be that there is something irritating that particular side of the mouth so try washing his mouth out with clean water. If he continues to drool from one side of his mouth, talk with your vet.
How to stop a French bulldog from drooling
If you have gone through the list of possible causes and symptoms displayed above, then hopefully, and most likely, the drooling is nothing to worry about.
It’s more than likely down to excitement, hunger, or heat (or anxiety)
Here are my 3 top tips to stop your Frenchie drooling:
- Give them food or drink
- Get them cooled down with a drink of water, or a dip
- Remove any scenario making them fearful and anxious
Ultimately you will never stop him from drooling completely, but most of the time it’s nothing to worry about.
Which dog breeds drool the most or least?
As with a lot of my research on the French Bulldog Owner website, I also like to see how Frenchies compare to other dribblers.
Below you can see a table where I have ranked the best and worst dribbling dogs with a column for those that drool the least and most.
It’s not a scientific study by any stretch – I simply saw what other bloggers and dog owners were saying online so I could try and assemble a league table!
|Drools the Least||Drools the Most|
|Australian Cattle Dog||St. Bernard|
|Cardigan Welsh Corgi||Great Dane|
|Schipperke||Bernese Mountain Dog|
Despite all the drooling, snoring, and farting, Frenchies are very lovable and make for amazing pets. These characteristics would certainly be a turn off in a human, but with this breed of dog it just adds even more to their personalities.
Is it normal for French bulldogs to drool?
French bulldog dribble is just something you will have to get used to.
However, if your French bulldog has sudden drooling a lot, that is much more than usual, and you can’t pin it down to food, excitement, heat, or anxiety, then you should act and take him to the vets.
It could be the sign of poisoning, something he ate, mouth disease, internal organ problems, or internal blockages.
You know your Frenchie best, so take care of him or her, but do keep an eye out for dribbling more than usual.
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