Do you find yourself suddenly refilling your dog’s water bowl more than usual? Has your furry friend turned the toilet into his personal spare water bowl? Since excessive thirst can indicate a serious medical problem, paying attention to your dog’s drinking habits is a crucial part of monitoring his health.
Your thirsty pooch may be battling episodes of polydipsia, which is the technical name for excessive thirst and water intake. You may not notice your dog’s excessive drinking until it leads to an increased need for urination. While it alone is not a major cause for concern, veterinary experts warn that polydipsia is often indicative of a more serious, underlying health condition. The most common health problems associated with polydipsia include Cushing’s disease, kidney failure, and diabetes.
If your faithful friend is getting up in age, his increased thirst might be a sign that he is experiencing the onset of Cushing’s disease, a hormonal imbalance. Since it mostly affects older dogs and can be difficult to diagnose, many pet parents confuse the symptoms of Cushing’s disease with the normal signs of aging. Increased thirst and urination is one of the most common clinical signs. While there is no cure for Cushing’s disease, there are treatments available to help improve overall quality of life and prevent the onset of other conditions like diabetes.
The possibility of kidney failure is one of the most serious health threats that you should worry about if your canine companion starts drinking unusually large amounts of water. Many factors can lead to kidney failure including, but not limited to, poisoning and cancer. While it typically affects older dogs, kidney failure can occur in any dog at any time and should always be taken very seriously.
If your furry friend is diabetic, he may drink more water than normal in an attempt to regain nutrients lost to the disease and to dilute the excessive sugar in his blood. Since diabetes mellitus is more likely to develop in overweight and older dogs, you can help protect your pooch by feeding him a balanced, nutritious diet and making sure he gets plenty of exercise throughout his life.
How Much Is Too Much?
Average daily water intake for healthy dogs is around half an ounce to one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. While other factors like unusually hot temperatures or excessively salty foods can also affect how much water your dog drinks, ignoring a change in your dog’s drinking habits is never a good idea. If environmental factors can be ruled out and your dog is still drinking too much water, take him to a vet for a full health screening.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.