It’s normal for dogs to have often water breaks throughout the day. Moreover, dogs should have always a bowl full of freshwater, especially in hot, summer days. However, if you notice that your dog has often water breaks on a daily level (more than usual), you should be a bit concerned. Can a dog drink too much water? Is that even possible?
Excessive Thirst In Dogs
Before we tackle the issue of excessive thirst in dogs and explain it to you, you need to understand why dogs drink water. The first reason is a simple one – they are thirsty, just like humans.
When their body becomes low in water they must drink to make up the losses. The second reason is linked to how they eliminate sweat from their body. It’s known that dogs don’t sweat, expect from their nose and footpads. Moreover, they eliminate body heat by panting. So, when they pant a lot, they lose water through evaporation. This water loss is physiological and can be readily replenished by drinking.
If your dog drinks more than normally and frequently, and it happens without the specific cause it may be a sign of disease. Moreover, in a variety of conditions, the body is not able to control water loss at normal temperatures. Therefore, this water loss must be restored so dogs drink a lot to find a balance.
Drinking more water is medically named polydipsia and it’s one of the most common problems in canines world. Dogs will become more polydipsic during warm weather, but it can occur in winter as well. All in, this condition usually occurs when dogs don’t have enough time to adjust to the hotter temperature. Also, if there are signs of diarrhea, blood loss, or excessive panting he will drink more water. As mentioned earlier, this is their way to restore normal blood volume.
Good To Know: The most common symptoms of excessive thirst in dogs are increased urination and drinking much more water than usual. In general, there are no other behavioral changes.
How Much Water Intake Is Normal In A Healthy Dog?
Water intake is always connected with the dog’s diet. If your dog is usually fed on wet food, he will drink less. On the other hand, dogs that are fed dry food or often salty treats will drink more and often. Therefore, they will drink more than expected and if the diet is the issue you will fix it fast. Just make sure that your dog gets less salty treats and mix dry and wet food. Still, this water intake is physiologically normal.
Quick Tip: Healthy dog should drink between 20-70ml/kg per day.
You should be aware of your dog’s water intake because drinking too little can lead to dehydration or even a heatstroke in hot days, or it can be an indicator of organ disease.
Also, if your dog drinks more, he is probably peeing more (frequent urination can be a separate problem), and you should be aware that increased intake is often a response to excess fluid loss in urine. But, if your dog intakes a significant amount of water for days the chances are that he suffers from polydipsia.
Ruling Out The Big Problems First
Before you start worrying over your overly thirsty dog you should take a look at your dog’s living environment.
Does your dog have constant access to freshwater? If you are not sure than it means no. So, your dog just needs more water and he is taking advantage of any time water is available.
That being said, make sure that you provide fresh drinking water at all times. After all, this is considered a minimum of optimal care. Also, if it’s hot summer or surprisingly hot day and your dog been surprisingly active, he may just be more thirsty. Last, but not least any changes to diet may make your dog more thirsty (new food brand or new dry food diet).
Water Bowl Management
Dogs are known for loving the routine. They love to walk, eat and play at the same time every day. Every time you change your dog’s routine you are changing his behavior.
Some dogs may react fine to changes, while others will just suffer. So, if possible, stick to the routine. Moreover, if you know your dogs routine you are more likely to notice when something is wrong with your dog. That being said, it’s easier to notice changes in a dog’s thirst of drinking habits if you develop a water bowl routine.
- Fill the dog’s bowl to about the same level each time.
- Refill your dog’s bowl at the same time daily, or roughly the same time.
- Pay attention to how much you put in each day and how much is left.
Checking For Dehydration
Dehydration in dogs is common, but it doesn’t mean that’s a dangerous condition for a dog. Moreover, dehydration is usually the main reason why your dog is drinking a lot of water.
In some occasions, dehydration can be a life-threatening situation, especially for an older dog. There is a simple way that can your show you in three-seconds if your dog is dehydrated or not.
Grad the fur on the back of your dog’s neck and release it. If the fur goes back into the place, your dog is likely not dehydrated. But, if the fur stays up, your dog is likely dehydrated.
If the fur stays up, it’s the sign that you should contact your veterinarian. Inform her or him of your findings and concerns about dehydration. If you know that you have to go to the veterinarian office, be prepared. Make sure that you write (if possible) all symptoms that you notice about your dog’s behavior, habit changes recently and so.
Think if you saw any change in habits, behavior, eating, drinking, and urination. Ask if you have to provide a urine sample and how to prepare it. This way you will save an additional trip to the veterinarian’s office and you will save money.
Polydipsia In Dogs
Polydipsia is a common state in dogs and can be s sign of several diseases, including:
- Liver disease
- Kidney failure
- High blood calcium
- Uncommon abnormalities of the pituitary gland
- Uterine infection (called pyometra)
Your dog has this condition because he is possibly losing an excessive amount of water for any of several reasons. When there is no clear cause why your dog is drinking more, it’s called psychogenic polydipsia. Overall, this a behavioral condition with a physical manifestation of excess thirst.
Primary polydipsia is used to describe excessive water drinking that is not anyhow connected with psychosis or illness. For example, water loving breeds or bored puppies may tank up on water consistently or occasionally. This can be a problem for the veterinarian.
An excessive water drinking if always a signal of an issue. In most cases, the issue is an underlying health problem that can be diagnosed only be the help from your veterinarian. That being said, the first and more important step in diagnosing and confirming the underlying issues is to take your dog to your veterinarian.
Any health condition that can be connected with excessive thirst is serious and must be addressed as soon as possible. Although your dog may currently drink more water than usual, there are some things that you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t restrict access to water. This won’t support your effort to reduce water intake. This can lead to fluid imbalances and dehydration.
- Don’t ignore the problem: the conditions that cause these changes are very serious and can be fatal.
How Will My Veterinarian Diagnose My Dog’s Condition?
Your veterinarian will perform some blood and urine tests. One of the first steps is to determine the urine concentration. That is done by a test called ‘urine specific gravity’. Interestingly, the specific gravity of pure water is 1.000 and polyuria is suspected if the urine specific gravity is less than 1.035.
This can be verified by measuring daily urine output. Several diagnostic tests may be needed additionally to determine the cause of polyuria a dpolydipsia because many different diseases may cause these symptoms.
Bear in mind that the only way to reduce water intake is to manage the underlying condition. Moreover, the majority of these conditions can be regulated and your dog can continue having a normal, happy, and healthy dogie life.
Other potential factors behind polydipsia and polyuria are:
- Low protein diet
The more active and younger the dog is it’s more likely for his urination and thirst to increase. Water is crucial for the dog’s well-being and the dog’s health. Never take the water away from your dog.
Treatment Of Excessive Thirst In Dogs
Treatment will depend on more dog’s diagnosis. Antibiotic treatment will be used if an infection is causing the problem. In some rare cases, if your dog is already taking some medications, adjusting medications may reduce the problem.
Endocrine imbalance requires long term treatment to help normalize hormone levels. However, it’s important to note that hormone replacement can have significant side effects, so this should always be discussed with a veterinarian. Also, diabetes melitus will need to be managed with insulin shots, as well as exercise and a modified diet.
Occasionally, endocrine disorders are related to cancer. If this is the case chemotherapy and/or surgery will be needed. However, this will depend on the level of metastasis. Sometimes, CBD products might help, but stick to reputable companies like Honest Paws.
Kidney disease may be treated with diet change, dialysis treatment, or medication and it will depend on what stage it is at. Furthermore, the treatment for the liver disease will depend on the cause of the problem.
Recovery Of Excessive Thirst In Dogs
Polyuria and polydipsia are common symptoms of many different problems. Therefore, your dog’s chances of recovery will utterly depend on the diagnosis. Moreover, many diseases that cause excessive thirst and urination require long term medical care. But, your veterinarian is the one who will evaluate your dog’s prognosis based on the source of the problem.
Exercise and running on a hot summer day can help strike up a thirst. In those moments you dog usually just needs additional water and good shade. However, if he drinks water as if he was running for hours, that should be your signal that something is wrong with your dog.
No one knows your dog better than you do, so if your dog drinks more water than usual, you will notice that. However, before you start worrying, some causes may explain your dog’s excessive thirst (such as hot temperature, medications, intense training, etc.) and you should rule out those first. But, if the dog’s surrounding is same as usual, there may be an underlying health problem or disease that troubles your dog. In that case, make sure that you visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.