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dog foaming at mouth causes concerns

Dog Foaming at the Mouth - Potential Reasons Why and Is It a Cause for Concern?

Written by Ryan Gliozzo


Learn why your dog might be foaming at the mouth and discover if it's a sign of a health concern or a benign cause. Read our quick guide for concerned pet parents.
A big brown dog foaming at the mouth.


Witnessing your dog foaming at the mouth can be a startling experience for any pet parent. This concern is not unwarranted, as the causes of foaming at the mouth in dogs can range from innocuous to a serious health issue.

If you ever suspect that your dog may be displaying this symptom due to a health issue, particularly when it's out of the ordinary for their typical behaviour, it's imperative to seek veterinary care without delay.

Understanding the various reasons behind mouth foaming can help you determine the urgency of your canine companion's situation, whether it means rushing to an emergency vet or simply monitoring their recovery post-exertion.

Key takeaways

  • Identify when dog foaming at mouth is a sign of play or a serious concern.

  • Discover the common causes of foaming in a dog's mouth.

  • Learn when immediate veterinary attention is necessary for your pet.

  • Recognise symptoms that necessitate a visit to the emergency vet.

  • Understand the importance of being a proactive pet parent in monitoring health issues.

  • Strategies to prevent the causes of your dog's foaming at the mouth.

Understanding dog foaming at mouth

If you have ever noticed your dog foaming at the mouth, it's important to recognise whether this is something to worry about.

Foaming at the mouth can be caused by excessive drooling or foaming that appears quite frothy and is more pronounced than normal drool.

This physical sign in dogs might be foaming due to innocuous reasons such as an upset stomach or more serious health concerns.

For instance, after a fun run around the park or during a particularly vigorous play session, your dog might be foaming at the mouth due to heavy panting that aerates the saliva.

This type of mouth-foaming is relatively harmless.

However, it is essential for pet owners to discern the difference between this frothy appearance and excess drooling that could signify deeper health issues.

Sudden onset of foaming, when the dog is at rest, could indicate a medical concern.

Persistent and heavy drooling or foaming, rather than intermittent or activity-based, should prompt further investigation.

Understanding the cause behind foaming at the mouth in your dog involves observing the circumstances under which it appears and any additional symptoms.

A comprehensive assessment of your dog's overall well-being will help you decide whether a trip to the vet is warranted. Below is an outline of factors to consider:


Possible benign cause

Potential serious concern

After vigorous activity

Normal panting-related froth

Check for distress or heat exhaustion

During rest or inactivity

Recent drinking or drooling

Assess for possible toxins or dental issues

With other symptoms (e.g., lethargy, loss of appetite)

Stress or anxiety

Seek immediate veterinary attention

Becoming attuned to your dog's behaviour and knowing their habits will serve you well in identifying when to be concerned about mouth foaming.

Be observant of the cause of your dog's foaming at the mouth, and when in doubt, consult with a professional. A vigilant pet parent can be the first line of defence in safeguarding their canine companion's health.

Remember, If you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member, you can
access our 24/7 video vet to help answer any concerning questions. Not a member?

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A dog howling.

Other common causes of foaming at the mouth in dogs

When a pet owner observes their dog with mouth foam, it's crucial to understand the potential underlying causes.

These range from ingestion of toxins to dental issues, each requiring specific attention and care.
Here's an overview of common factors that could cause excessive drooling and foaming in canines.

Ingestion of toxins

One of the most alarming reasons a dog may exhibit foaming at the mouth is ingesting toxins.
Household chemicals, plants, or contaminated food can be highly dangerous.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested something toxic, it is essential to consult a vet immediately.

Besides foaming at the mouth, you may notice your
dog licking their lips and swallowing. If this is the case, you should also contact your vet as soon as possible.

After any potential exposure to toxins, knowing how to bathe a dog properly can help in cleaning up and ensuring your pet's comfort.

Read our guide ‘
How to Bathe a Dog’ for helpful tips.

Dental health issues

Various dental diseases or oral health problems can lead to hypersalivation. If your dog shows signs of excess drooling paired with discomfort when eating or a foul odour, dental disease might be the culprit and your dog may foam at the mouth.

Regular dental check-ups can prevent these painful conditions.

Heatstroke and overexertion

During the warmer months, dogs can suffer from heatstroke, evidenced by heavy panting and a foaming mouth. In such a stressful situation, it is imperative to cool your dog down and seek veterinary assistance, particularly if the panting is intense or doesn't settle.

Stress-induced foaming

Another common reason is a highly stressful situation which can cause your dog's mouth to foam.

Such reactions can often be mitigated by removing the stressor and comforting your pet. However, if the foaming is persistent, professional advice may be required.

If your dog is breathing fast and showing signs of discomfort, this could be a symptom requiring immediate attention.

Discover possible causes in ‘
Dog Breathing Fast: Why?’ for insight into rapid breathing in dogs.


Seizures are an additional serious condition that can cause dogs to foam at the mouth.

This neurologic episode can lead to the loss of body control and excessive dog drooling and foaming.

Any seizure activity should be reported to your vet, as it can signify an underlying medical condition.

In all these cases, understanding the cause of the foaming can guide appropriate responses—ranging from providing reassurance in a moment of stress to calling the emergency vet's number without delay.

Always monitor your furry friend for additional symptoms and changes in behaviour, as they may offer critical clues about their health status.

A close up of a dog's mouth.

When to seek immediate veterinary care

Discerning when to seek veterinary care immediately for a dog foaming at the mouth requires careful observation of accompanying symptoms.

If the mouth foaming is partnered with signs such as severe disorientation, unexpected behavioural shifts, or extreme respiratory distress, these may herald a dire emergency, suggesting possible rabies exposure or toxic substance consumption.

In such instances, time is of the essence, and it's critical to contact an emergency veterinary service as soon as possible.

Below is a guide to help pet owners understand potential emergencies that necessitate immediate action:


Possible cause


Continuous seizures

Neurological disturbance

Seek veterinary intervention promptly.

Persistent vomiting

Gastrointestinal upset or toxin ingestion

Visit or call a vet for urgent advice.

Difficulty breathing

Respiratory compromise

Have the dog seen by a veterinarian without delay.

Erratic or agitated behaviour

Stress or pain response

Transport to the nearest veterinary care facility immediately.

Sudden mood changes

Cognitive dysfunction or illness

Continue to monitor and if behaviour deteriorates, be sure to contact your vet.

Regular vet visits are essential for maintaining your dog's health, but it's also important to consider the financial aspect. For insights into how much is pet insurance, including average costs and coverage, read ‘How Much is Pet Insurance? Average Costs & Coverage’.


Through careful vigilance and prompt action, you can play a crucial role in safeguarding the well-being of your furry companion.

It could be as simple as a case of overexertion or an underlying issue.

Recognising symptoms like foaming at the mouth could very well be a signpost guiding you on the next best steps to take, whether that involves a dash to the emergency vet or close monitoring at home.


Why is my dog foaming at the mouth?

There are several reasons why your dog may be foaming at the mouth, including overexertion, motion sickness, an abscess, or something bitter or foul they’ve tasted.

What does it mean when I see my dog foaming at the mouth?

Foaming at the mouth can also be caused by issues such as drooling, bad breath, or an oral cavity problem. It's essential to monitor your dog's overall health.

Should I be concerned if my dog is foaming at the mouth?

Foaming at the mouth can indicate something serious, like a central nervous system issue. It's crucial to seek veterinary advice if your dog is foaming extensively.

What should I do if my dog is foaming at the mouth?

If your dog is foaming at the mouth and showing other alarming symptoms, take them to the emergency vet immediately for proper evaluation and treatment.

Can vomiting also cause my dog to foam at the mouth?

Yes, vomiting can lead to foaming at the mouth in dogs, especially if the vomit leaves a bad taste that triggers excessive drooling and foaming.

Are there any common household items that can cause my dog to foam at the mouth?

Certain household items or substances, if ingested, can result in foaming at the mouth in dogs. It's crucial to keep harmful items away from your pet.

How can I differentiate between normal drooling and excessive foaming at the mouth in my dog?

Excessive foaming at the mouth may appear more intense than regular drooling, often involving a significant amount of foam.

If this does not subside, contact a vet immediately.

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.

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