Can vary from mild to severe.
Table of Content
- Key points
- Excessive thirst is known as polydipsia
- The underlying cause of your dog’s excessive drinking will need to be determined by a veterinarian
- Behavioral problems like Obsessive Compulsion and anxiety can cause polydipsia, which is known as psychogenic polydipsia
- To find out if there is a medical cause, your veterinarian may need to do blood tests and assess a urine sample
- The treatment your veterinarian recommends will depend on the underlying cause of your dog’s water consumption and other symptoms present.
Most causes of excess water consumption are more common in middle-aged or senior dogs.
Symptoms & types of dog drinking a lot of water
It might not be a surprise to you that increased thirst in dogs is often accompanied by increased urination.
The increase in your dog’s water intake might also be apparent as an additional symptom, for instance, if your dog is losing fluid in the form of vomit or diarrhea, they’ll need to drink more so that they don’t get dehydrated.
However, the increased amount of water your dog is drinking might accompany a variety of other symptoms, including weight loss, thinning of the fur, reduced appetite, a pot-bellied appearance, excessive panting, nausea, or blood in the urine
Diagnosing the Cause of Dog Increased Water Intake
To determine why your dog’s water intake has increased, your veterinarian will take a full history of when the symptom started and what their routine has been like recently. This will help rule out an environmental cause or a side effect of medication as the cause of more water intake. They’ll give your dog’s body a physical examination from head to tail, checking for signs of underlying disease.
If the cause of increased thirst isn’t clear, they may recommend testing a urine sample or taking blood for a complete blood count. The vet may also choose to perform an ultrasound scan or x-ray, to give more information.
Causes of Increased Water Intake in Dogs
Temporarily increased thirst in healthy dogs can be due to warm weather or exertion. Drinking excessively can also be a side effect of some medications, including steroids and diuretics. Exactly how much water dogs drink can also change after surgery, especially if the dog has been on a drip since the body will have to get rid of extra waste products from the anesthetic via urine output.
There are also behavioral causes of increased water intake, which can be out of habit (known as psychogenic) or due to anxiety. For example, if your healthy dog is drinking excessive amounts of water at night, it could be because they’re suffering from separation anxiety when left alone.
Drinking a lot of water can be a sign of kidney disease or liver disease. In the case of kidney disease, dogs might be losing body weight, not eating, and throwing up. If liver disease is causing jaundice, you might also notice a yellow/orange tinge to the skin, gums, and urine output.
Aside from kidney failure, a urinary tract infection or cystitis can sometimes cause your dog to drink excessively, especially if you notice your dog straining to urinate and not peeing much after drinking water. It’s important to know that if your dog isn’t able to pass any urine at all, this could indicate a serious life threatening blockage, so you should get them checked by a vet urgently.
Other common causes of increased thirst in dogs are the hormonal conditions Diabetes Mellitus and Cushing’s disease (scientific name Hyperadrenocorticism). Just like humans, diabetic dogs tend to gain or lose weight, drink excessive amounts of water, and pee a lot. Dogs may also experience a loss of appetite may appetite, nausea and vomiting.
On the other hand, dogs with Cushing’s disease tend to have a great appetite but have symptoms like excessive panting, thin skin, hair loss, and a pot-bellied appearance.
Some rarer causes of excessive thirst in dogs include high calcium levels and Diabetes Insipidus, a hormone deficiency that prevents the kidneys from regulating the body’s fluid levels effectively, which may result in you filling up your dog’s water bowl more often.
Best Treatment Options for Increased Thirst in Dogs
The best treatment for your dog’s excessive thirst will depend on the underlying cause. Conditions like Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetes Insipidus can be treated by replacing the deficient hormone.
In the case of Diabetes Mellitus, this means giving your dog injections of insulin, whereas for Diabetes Insipidus it means giving synthetic anti-diuretic hormone, often by nasal spray.
Sadly, not all causes of liver disease and kidney disease are curable, although some do resolve with antibiotics. Improvement of your dog’s condition can often be seen with a prescription diet, which can include wet or dry food, a fluid drip, and supportive medication to control nausea and improve your dog’s appetite.
If your dog has psychogenic polydipsia (excessive thirst for behavioral reasons), anti-anxiety medications and calming products can improve the increased water intake symptom. However, as a pet owner, you might also need the help of a veterinary behaviorist.
There are lots of reasons why your dog might be drinking a lot of water. If their drinking habits suddenly change and the cause isn’t clear, you should make an appointment with a veterinarian. This is especially important if you’ve noticed that they have other symptoms, too.
With your vet’s help, you can ensure that your canine companion is as healthy as possible.
Sudden changes in your dog’s thirst could be due to changes in the weather. You may notice excessive water drinking on hot summer days or after their routine changes. However, there are also many medical causes when dogs drink too much water.
If you’ve noticed an unexplained change in your drinking habits, and you notice your dog drinking his entire bowl of water quicker than normal, speak to one of our veterinary team about your dog’s health.
There are many causes of excessive thirst, however, a senior dog has older organs, so it’s more likely that their liver or kidneys may not be working as well as they used to. Chronic kidney disease can also be a worry for older dogs. Speak to one of our veterinarians if you are concerned about your dog.
Excessive thirst can be normal in some dogs, especially if they are well and have always drunk a lot. However, if they seem unwell or their thirst has changed and they are drinking more water than normal, it could be a sign of a medical problem.