If you notice that your dog is drinking more than usual, it may, rightly concern you. However, the chances are you have nothing to worry about.
Why does my dog drink so much water? Most of the time, a dog drinks water excessively when it’s dehydrated. Occasionally, there are other reasons such as a health problem, medication, or dry food diets. You should be able to tell if your dog is drinking so much because it’s worked up a thirst. Your vet should have told you if any medication will cause excess thirst. Dry food only diets result in a dog drinking more. If you can rule out these reasons, take your dog to the vet.
You may not realize just how much water is normal for your dog to consume on a daily basis. On the other hand, you might be a seasoned dog owner who has noticed a sudden increase in the amount of water your dog is consuming every day. This article aims to clarify what is OK and what factors might cause an increase in the amount your dog drinks each day.
As a dog owner, it is imperative to understand when your dog is drinking the expected amount for the climate and the level of activity he is undertaking, and when there may be another factor that is causing his excessive thirst.
When a dog’s body becomes dehydrated, it must drink to replenish its water stores. Since dogs only sweat through their noses and paw pads, they eliminate body heat by panting and it is this that causes them to lose water through evaporation. This water loss is easily replenished through drinking.
Excess water intake for no apparent physical reason could be a sign of an illness. There are various conditions that render a dog’s body unable to control water loss even at normal temperatures. Again, this water must be replaced and so a dog will drink more.
How much water should a healthy dog drink?
As a rule, water intake will vary according to diet. If your dog eats wet food he may drink less. If your dog’s diet consists of dry food or salty treats he may need more to drink than expected.
As a general guide, a healthy dog should drink between 20-70ml per kilogram of body weight per day. Being aware of your dog’s water intake is important because drinking too little water can lead to dehydration while drinking too much water can be an indication of organ disease. If your dog is drinking more, he’ll probably also be peeing more which is another sign of a potential problem. Increased water intake is often a response to the excess fluid loss in urine.
Dehydration in a Dog
A dog can dehydrate quickly on a hot day especially if he has been running and playing. It is not recommended to allow a dog too much exercise on a very hot day even if he appears happy to participate. Signs that a dog is dehydrated include lethargic behavior, dry gums and tongue, and thick, jelly-like saliva. A way to test if your dog is dehydrated is to gently pinch a small amount of skin on your dog’s neck or between his shoulder blades. If it doesn’t return to normal as you let go this could mean he is dehydrated.
Dehydration in dogs can quickly become life threatening so you should visit your vet as soon as possible if you suspect your dog is dehydrated. For a case of mild dehydration give small amounts of fresh, clean water every 10 minutes over the course of a few hours – for a small dog the amount per 10 minutes is 1 teaspoon, for a larger dog it’s 1 to 2 tablespoons.
You should not allow a dehydrated dog free access to water because if they drink too quickly they might vomit which would worsen their dehydration.
Underlying illnesses that can cause excessive drinking in dogs
There are many diseases and illnesses which can cause a dog to drink more than the usual amount of water. These include:
- Liver disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Kidney disease
If your dog happens to be on medication for any reason, this can also cause him to drink more than usual. You should confirm with a vet if this is a common side effect.
Medication known to cause dogs to drink more include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, particularly prednisone which is often used for dogs suffering from asthma, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease
- Heart failure drugs can often make a dog urinate more which means they then drink more water
- Seizure medication, such as phenobarbital is known to cause excessive thirst as one of its side effects
Your dog’s diet may cause him to drink excess water
If your dog’s diet consists of mainly dry food then he will drink more water. There is very little water content in dry dog food compared to wet food. Food with a high salt content will also give a dog a greater thirst. Salty food is not good for your dog so avoid giving him your left-overs or food prepared for human consumption – especially snacks such as crisps and popcorn. A dog that has had a large salt intake may display symptoms such as:
So, your dog seems to be drinking too much…
What you should not do:
- Don’t restrict your dog’s water consumption as this could result in dehydration and fluid imbalances that will make any underlying condition worse
- Don’t ignore the problem as this could mean you are ignoring a serious health issue
What you should do:
- Make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
What will a vet do to diagnose the condition?
A vet will examine your dog and perform blood and urine tests as necessary. Additional tests may be necessary to identify and regulate particular conditions.
Once an underlying condition is diagnosed and treated your dog should return to drinking a normal amount of water. Most conditions can be regulated and your dog can go on to lead a normal life.
Why does my dog drink so much water? – Conclusion
If a dog is drinking excessive amounts of water for no apparent reason, he could have a health issue so it is always safer to visit your vet for a professional opinion. Once a correct diagnosis has been made, your dog will be healthier and happier and excessive drinking should cease.
By the way, if you want to know of the best ways to tell that your dog is depressed take a look at the article.