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Increased Thirst in Dogs – Why is Your Dog Drinking More Water

Picture of a dog drinking water

Is your canine friend drinking more water than usual? We all know that dogs get just as thirsty as we do, but sometimes you might notice some changes in your pooch’s appetite for fluids. Whether it’s due to the hot weather, a lot of exercise, or an underlying health problem, polydipsia can be something perfectly physiological or a worrying sign. 

In this article, we’ll look at what causes an increase in a dog’s thirst level, what you can do about it, and when you should be worried. We’ll also look at several possible medical conditions that can cause increased thirst and how they can be treated. 

How much water is too much?

Water intake can vary depending on the dog’s diet, the amount of exercise that he or she gets throughout the day, and whether or not you’ve given your pooch any salty treats, for example. The ideal amount of water that a dog should drink in a day is somewhere between 20 and 70 ml, but this quantity varies depending on the dog’s breed, age, weight, and activity level.

If your dog drinks more water, he/she should also pee more. In general, anything more than 100 ml per day is considered something to be concerned about, but you should correlate your dog’s thirst to the factors that we have mentioned and that can influence his/her appetite for water. 

Another aspect that we have to note is that you should pay attention to your dog’s water consumption over a period of time before you bring him or her to the vet. The reason for this is that his/her thirst could get back to a normal level after just one day if its cause was physiological. However, if you notice any other changes in your dog’s behavior, pain, fever, or any other such symptoms, take your Fido to the vet clinic as soon as possible. 

Causes of polydipsia in dogs

If the dog’s increased thirst isn’t physiological, it can be linked to some medical conditions, medications, or even behavioral disorders. Some of the best-known health issues that cause increased thirst, among other symptoms, are diabetes, kidney failure, as well as Cushing’s disease. Unspayed females that have developed pyometra can also drink more water than usual, also because they typically have a fever.

If there is an abnormally high amount of calcium in the dog’s blood, he or she can also tend to drink more water than usual. 

The medications that lead to the same clinical sign are varied, but corticosteroids are some of the best-known drugs to commonly cause this. 

Psychogenic polydipsia, a behavioral problem that consists of excess thirst, can show up in bored puppies, but also in dog breeds that love water. Dogs that spend a lot of time alone at home can also tend to drink more water compared to those that have company throughout the day. 

Polydipsia and senior pets

Because geriatric dogs are more prone to developing diabetes and kidney disease, they should be kept an eye on in terms of their water consumption. If an older dog develops a urinary infection, the symptoms that the pet parent will notice are excess urination, blood in the urine, a suspicious smell or appearance of the dog’s pee, and in general, difficult urination.

Diabetes is a little more complicated to spot, but it’s usually characterized by excess thirst and urination, weight loss or weight gain, and a significant change in appetite. Fortunately, diabetes can be managed with insulin injections, and in some cases, it is even reversible. 

What will the vet do?

To find out the reason your dog might be drinking more water than usual, the veterinarian will first perform blood work and a urinalysis. Both of these can reveal whether there is any infection or inflammation in your pooch’s body and following these tests, your dog might be performed an ultrasound or an X-ray or additional diagnostic methods, in any case. 

If there is an underlying condition to your dog’s increased thirst, the vet will do their best to discover it. It would also be quite helpful for you to write down the type of dog food that you feed your canine companion and whatever he/she has had to eat in the past couple of days. 

The treatment depends on the dog’s diagnosis. If there is an infection causing the issue, a broad-spectrum antibiotic might be able to eliminate it, although we would recommend doing a lab test first so as to get a highly specific antibiotic. If there is an endocrine imbalance, your dog might receive treatment with hormone replacements.

In most cases, chronic kidney disease can’t be treated per se, but it can be managed so that the animal continues to live a good life for several years. Liver disease therapy also depends on what caused the issue in the first place. 

Cushing’s Disease

We wrote an entire article on this disease, but we decided to make a separate section on it in this post because it can be very dangerous if it’s left untreated. Also called hyperadrenocorticism, Cushing’s Disease is a hormonal disease that consists of overproduction of cortisol, which is a natural steroid hormone.

One of the symptoms of Cushing’s Syndrome is excessive thirst, but it’s also associated with other clinical signs, such as baldness, weight gain, excessive shedding, frequent urination, increased appetite, lethargy, and shortness of breath. Most dogs that have Cushing’s Disease are prone to skin, ear, and urinary tract infections. 

The problem with Cushing’s Disease is that it’s not treatable — it’s only manageable. Depending on its cause, it can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or medication. It is a quite dangerous disease, especially if it is left untreated, as it can lead to additional conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, kidney and liver failure, or pancreatitis. 

The dog breeds that seem to be more likely to develop this health problem are Beagles, Boxers, German Shepherds, Jack Russells, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers, but it can affect other breeds, too. Females are more likely to develop it compared to males. 

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