Dog Foaming at the Mouth and Shaking [When to See a Vet?]

Seeing your dog foaming at the mouth and shaking is a frightening sight to see, but it’s not always as serious as it seems.

The cause can be something serious such as a heat stroke or it could be something milder such as a dental issue. Understanding why it happens and identifying signs of trouble is key to resolving this problem.

In this post, I’ll cover what causes this behavior in dogs, how you can help your dog if they start doing it, and what symptoms might mean that you should head straight to the vet.

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What is Foaming at the Mouth?

When your dog begins to foam at the mouth, you will notice bubbles of foam or froth appearing on their lips and often around their mouth area as well as out of their nose.

The foam may look like cottage cheese or may just be bubbles in the dog’s mouth.

It is likely white or clear and can vary in thickness depending on how much saliva is being produced by your dog’s body.

When your dog has a lot of saliva building up inside his mouth cavity, he may drool excessively as well as begin to make more saliva than usual due to irritation from something else going on inside his body.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Why is My Dog’s Tongue Blue?

Dog Foaming Versus Dog Drooling

In most cases, the difference between foaming and drooling is pretty clear, but sometimes, it is not.

Read on to find out how to distinguish between the two.

Dog drooling

Drooling is something that is entirely normal.

It is something that all dogs do and there is no reason to panic if your dog starts to drool.

Dogs will often begin to drool when they are excited, nervous, or anxious.

The protracted saliva strands dangling from his mouth’s corners are what I’m referring to, or it can also simply take the form of a teardrop at the mouth’s edge.

That’s drooling.

Dog foaming

Foaming is not as common as drooling, and it can be an indication of something wrong with your dog.

It is not something that you want to see in your dog and it can mean a number of things, including an allergic reaction, a sign of an infection, or a symptom of poisoning.

This behavior is often accompanied by a dog shaking his head and rubbing it on the ground or anything else that is available.

You may also see your dog pawing at his face as if he’s trying to wipe something off of it.

It gets even more tricky if you notice them shaking and twitching, which can be a sign that they are having a seizure.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Spraying Dogs With Water as Training? Does it Work?

What Does a Dog Foaming at the Mouth Look Like?

Dog foaming at the mouth

Why is My Dog Shaking and Foaming at the Mouth?

There are a number of reasons why your dog may start foaming at the mouth, some more serious than others.

Most of the time, foaming and shaking are independent of each other, but when it does happen, it likely means a serious medical condition such as a seizure.

In the following sections, learn the situations where it warrants emergency action from you, and when you can take it a bit slower.

Emergency reasons

1. Gastrointestinal issues

Did your dog swallow something it shouldn’t? Perhaps it took a liking to that wine cork you dropped on the kitchen floor, or it might have been chewing off its pee pad?

When such things happen, there is a risk of having something stuck in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

While some things will pass through in a day or two, some are more dangerous, like rope toys.

The obstructions inside your dog can cause it to retch and try getting the object out, leading to excessive saliva and foaming.

2. Ate something toxic or poisonous

It may seem obvious, but if your dog eats something toxic like chocolate or cleaning products, he may start foaming at the mouth as a result.

This is because these poisons can be absorbed through the stomach and into the bloodstream, causing an overdose of chemicals that can cause problems in many different systems in your dog’s body.

3. Heat Stress

The reason for heat stress, an early sign of heat stroke or exhaustion, is that a dog’s body temperature rises rapidly.

When this happens, he will begin to pant in order to cool himself down.

If your dog is not able to get rid of excess heat sufficiently (for example, if he has been playing outside in hot weather), then his body will try to cool itself by sweating.

This can cause him to drool excessively, which you might notice as foaming at the mouth.

Pugs, French and English Bulldogs, and other flat-faced dog breeds are more susceptible to heat exhaustion.

Why is My Dog Shaking and Foaming at the Mouth?

4. Seizure

A seizure is an uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain that results in changes in behavior, sensation, or movement.

They cause a sudden and involuntary contraction of the muscles and in dogs, they usually affect the head, neck, and legs, which can be observed in them twitching.

A dog will have no control over his movements during a seizure and may be unable to breathe properly.

This can last from a few seconds to several minutes, but most only last a few minutes.

5. Rabies

I kind of suspect that most people would think that a dog foaming at the mouth has contracted rabies, but it is actually pretty rare and can be prevented with vaccination.

It is an infectious viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is usually transmitted through a bite from an infected animal, but it can also be transmitted if saliva or other body fluids come in contact with broken skin or mucous membranes (such as the eyes).

The rabies virus infects the brain and spinal cord of mammals, including humans.

If left untreated, rabies can cause death.

A dog that has rabies may be lethargic, drooling excessively, have trouble swallowing and walking, or be foaming at the mouth.

They may also act aggressively toward other animals and humans.

Non-emergency reasons

1. Ate something foul tasting

It’s likely because they ate something foul tasting.

This can occur if your dog eats an herb or plant that they find tasty but you don’t, or if they eat something that makes them feel ill.

Dogs with sensitive palates may not like the taste of certain foods, and chewing them enough to get rid of them can result in frothy drool.

The good news is that this is not usually a serious problem, and will pass on its own within a few days if the dog does not continue to eat the substance.

2. Dental problems

Dogs with dental disease may have difficulty chewing and swallowing their food, leading them to foam at the mouth.

When they try to chew, they experience pain and discomfort, so they’re likely to stop eating—causing them to lose weight and become malnourished.

In addition, if your dog’s teeth are not taken care of properly, it will cause tartar buildup on the teeth, which can lead to periodontal disease and tooth decay.

This can cause him to foam at the mouth when he eats or drinks anything; it’s not necessarily related to his overall health or diet.

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3. Allergies

Some dogs have allergies that cause them to produce excess saliva and even vomit.

If this happens when they eat something, it can lead to foaming at the mouth as well as vomiting or diarrhea.

If this happens with any frequency, it’s important to find out what food is causing the allergy so you can avoid giving it to your pet in the future.

Dogs often develop allergies as they get older, so it’s important to keep track of what you give your dog and when you give it.

If you notice a pattern of food-related foaming episodes, try switching the brand or type of food, or avoid feeding him anything that contains that ingredient for a few weeks.

4. Overexertion

Have you ever worked out so hard that you threw up? Dogs can experience something similar too.

It’s important to remember that dogs are not humans and they need different amounts of exercise.

When you’re thinking about how much exercise is appropriate for your dog, keep in mind that some breeds are more active than others and do not overwork your dog.

Excessive drooling and foaming are signs of a heat injury, so be sure to immediately let your dog cool off.

5. Stress and anxiety

Due to a mix of panting, whining, and barking, stressed dogs will foam at the mouth.

A dog will drool profusely at first, followed by frothy, foamy drool.

One of the most frequent reasons dogs foam at the mouth is probably this.

Hypersalivation, labored breathing, and other frightened behaviors are all easily brought on by stress.

Your dog’s mouth moves when he begins to breathe rapidly, increasing the amount of saliva and causing it to foam up at the corners of his mouth.

6. Nausea and vomiting

This is another fairly typical cause of frothing at the mouth, and it’s likely what caused your dog’s hypersalivation and foaming during a stressful event.

If it causes your dog to vomit, foaming at the mouth is frequently observed too.

If your dog is experiencing nausea, other signs to watch out for include a loss of appetite, diarrhea, or a lack of energy, commonly known as lethargy.

It could be time to take him to the vet to be examined if you see those kinds of symptoms.

It may not be anything more serious than that because motion sickness, like what he may have experienced on that vehicle ride, can also result in an upset stomach.

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What to Do if Your Dog is Foaming at the Mouth

If the amount, color, or viscosity of the saliva hasn’t changed much and it’s typical for your dog’s breed to produce large amounts of saliva, there is not much you need to do.

In most cases, the condition should go away on its own, particularly in those non-emergency situations mentioned above.

If your dog has an upset stomach and is having difficulties eating, try feeding it a bit of pumpkin together with its food. This should help soothe its troubles.

After a few hours, if the foaming has not subsided and if your dog starts showing a change in behavior, this should be escalated into an emergency situation.

Those who find themselves in an emergency situation, please head to the vet right away.

How to Prevent My Dog From Foaming at the Mouth?

How to Prevent My Dog From Foaming at the Mouth?

Barring a medical-related episode, it is actually quite easy to prevent this from happening to your dog.

Just think about your dog as a baby, care for them in a similar way, and most problems can be avoided.

Keep your dog hydrated

Always offer your dog plenty of fresh water, more so during the summer months when they are more likely to overheat.

This will help ensure that they do not become dehydrated, which can lead to foaming at the mouth.

On long car rides with your dog, make sure you stop every hour or so for fresh air and to rehydrate.

Allow it to cool down

When you are out walking in the heat or playing outside, be sure to bring them inside when it gets too hot so that they do not overheat.

Let them take frequent breaks and allow your dog to cool down.

This will help keep regulate their body temperature and prevent it from rising too quickly.

Never ever leave them in a hot car. They could become dehydrated or even die if left inside a hot vehicle for too long.

Ensure proper dental care daily

Brushing your dog’s teeth is an easy way to prevent dental disease.

You can use a soft toothbrush or gauze pad to gently rub their teeth and gums, being careful not to cause them any pain.

Brushing their teeth daily and providing them with chew toys will help to keep their teeth clean and their breath smelling fresh.

Don’t forget the yearly check-up with your vet!

Keep toxins locked and out of reach

Dogs are curious animals and have a tendency to eat anything they can get their paws on.

Keep all toxic items locked up and out of reach from your dog.

If you have any medications in your home, be sure to store them away from your dog’s reach as well.

I should mention too that it is important for you as a dog owner to know what your dog can and cannot eat too.

This will prevent a lot of unnecessary trouble!

Feed a healthy diet

Your dog’s diet is incredibly important, and you should always feed them a healthy diet.

This will help to keep your dog’s teeth clean, their breath smelling fresh, and also prevent any medical problems that could arise from eating unhealthy foods.

Do not feed it table scraps or human foods, which are not good for them.

Instead, find and invest in good quality dog food that meets all of the nutritional requirements needed by your pet.

I have personally switched to feeding both my dogs Ollie dog food now.

How Much Does It Cost to Treat a Dog Foaming at the Mouth?

If your dog requires immediate medical attention, the cost involved can add up quickly.

Here are a few of the most common procedures that will be involved:

ProcedureEstimate cost
X-ray$150 to $250
Ultrasound$300 to $600
Blood tests $300 to $600
Consultation fees $50 to $100
Medication $20 to $100
Surgery $500 to $3,000

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the signs of poisoning in dogs?

The symptoms of poisoning in dogs can vary from mild to severe, depending on the type of toxin that has been ingested. Some common signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, depression, lethargy, muscle weakness, twitching, and foaming at the mouth.

How do you know if your dog has a seizure?

The symptoms of your dog having a seizure includes drooling, tongue biting, tightening of the muscles, loss of consciousness, and mouth foaming. They may also fall to its side and make paddling actions, somethings accidentally urinating and pooping.

Do dogs’ mouth foam if they have a seizure?

Yes, they may drool and foam at the mouth while having a seizure, but you also need to watch out for other symptoms to be certain.

What dog breeds are prone to seizures?

Idiopathic epilepsy can be inherited in many breeds, including Australian Shepherds, Belgian Tervuren, German Shepherds, Beagles, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Border Collies, Border Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dachshunds, English Springer Spaniels, Finnish Spitz, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Irish Wolfhounds, Lagotto Romagnolos, Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens, Shetland Sheepdogs, Standard Poodles, and Vizslas.

In Conclusion: Why is My Dog Shaking and Foaming at the Mouth?

Knowing how to identify the danger signs can mean the difference between saving your dog in time or something disastrous.

I hope the points made in this post have helped you out, and as always, when in doubt, visit your vet for a proper diagnosis.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hi, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a certified vet tech for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn or check out my about page!.

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