Drinking water is a natural part of living. The most common reason why dogs drink water is because they’re thirsty. It’s important when it’s hot out or when your dog has completed exercising that your dog has access to fresh, clean water. We never recommend limiting access to your dog’s water. Dogs do not sweat (except from their nose and paws), so when they’re hot from either the environment or exercise they control their body temperature by panting. Excessive panting leads to water loss through physiologic evaporation, but the water loss can easily be replenished by drinking fresh water.
If you feel that your dog is drinking too much it’s time to investigate why. There are a variety of medical conditions where a dog cannot control water loss even at normal temperatures causing the dog to drink more and thereby urinate more to compensate for the water loss. In general a dog should drink about 40-60ml/kg of water a day. Any less and the dog can become dehydrated, and any more it’s indicative that your dog could have an underlying condition leading to an imbalance of water intake/output.
Increased water consumption (polydipsia) is often associated with a myriad of systemic diseases including:
It’s important to have your dog evaluated by your veterinarian if you think they’re drinking more water than usual. Your veterinarian will perform bloodwork, an urinalysis, and an urine culture to rule out an urinary tract infection. Many times a dog that is polidypsic will have a secondary urinary tract infection requiring treatment. Continued excessive water consumption doesn’t happen just because your dog is thirsty. There is a reason for it, and it’s important not to ignore it.
On occasion a dog can have a behavioral problem that manifests itself as a dog drinking excessive amounts of water. Some bored puppies or water loving breeds can sometimes drink excessively leading to problems with housebreaking and increased urination. Sorting out behavioral water drinking from a medical condition can be a challenge for your veterinarian.
The sooner you and your veterinarian diagnose why your dog is drinking more water the sooner your veterinary team can help manage the problem and send your dog on a path to better health. The Vet Set team is experienced in managing these dogs, and if you need help please let us know!