You might notice your dog drinking a lot of water and wonder, 'can a dog drink too much water?'. The answer is unfortunately yes. And for those thinking, 'why is my dog drinking so much water?', excessive drinking in dogs can be due to many reasons, and while some are completely benign, many can be quite worrisome.
Why Is Your Dog Thirsty?
Your dog is obviously drinking more water because it's thirsty, but what is causing this thirst? There can be many reasons for intense thirst in dogs, like heavy exercise, play, a high-sodium diet, and hot weather, but excessive thirst can also be concerning. Some pathologies causing excessive thirst in dogs are diabetes, bladder problems, and kidney disease.
Causes of Increased Water Intake
Increased water intake is often a result of increased thirst and urination. Here’s what causes excessive thirst and urination in dogs:
· Cushing’s syndrome
Cushing's syndrome is caused by higher than normal levels of cortisol secretion due to either pituitary or adrenal tumor. Excessive cortisol causes increased thirst, resulting in excessive water consumption and frequent and longer urination. Another commonly observed sign of Cushing's syndrome is loss of hair along the back, rear, and tail.
· Kidney failure
When the kidneys start to lose their function, they become unable to effectively concentrate the urine, resulting in the excretion of excessive amounts of water in the urine and leading to your dog drinking a lot of water to counter the increased water loss. The increased thirst and urination is one of the first signs of kidney failure, but other common signs also include weight loss, selective appetite, and poor coat.
· Liver disease
Liver disease can easily result in a dog drinking a lot of water and not eating, as it leads to excessive urination and loss of appetite. Other symptoms of liver disease are diarrhea, fever, jaundice, and weight loss. It is a severe condition that can be lethal if not diagnosed and treated early on.
· Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection or UTI can also lead to increased thirst resulting from excessive urination and is the likeliest pathological cause of increased water intake in old or senior dogs. A dog drinking a lot of water and not eating is also common in infections like UTIs and a sign you should take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
If your dog’s drinking a lot of water but not peeing, it is most likely that its excessive water intake is due to dehydration. Heat, exercise, and sickness can lead to dehydration in dogs, making them thirsty and lethargic and dry out their gums and tongue. Severely dehydrated dogs should be taken to the vet immediately, and mild dehydration should be treated by giving your dog small amounts of water every few minutes.
‘My dog is drinking a lot of water’ is one of the most common complaints by owners whose dogs are later diagnosed to be suffering from diabetes. This is because the excess glucose in the blood in diabetes is eventually excreted in the urine, drawing high amounts of water with it and resulting in increased thirst and urination, the main hallmarks of this disease.
Certain medicines like anti-inflammatory drugs, heart failure drugs, and seizure medication can lead to excessive water intake due to increased thirst or increased urine production, causing compensatory thirst. Some of these medications also result in an increased appetite.
Can Excessive Water Drinking Be a Sign of an Underlying Disease?
Yes, absolutely. Excessive and persistent thirst is often one of the first signs of underlying diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, and Cushing's syndrome and should never be ignored or taken lightly. Fever and certain medications can also cause excessive water intake, so it’s important to visit the vet and get the condition diagnosed on time.
How Much Water Should a Dog Drink a Day?
How much water your dog needs on a day-to-day basis varies greatly based on a number of factors like weather, age, activity level, diet, etc.
There are many ways to estimate your dog’s daily water requirement. In general, most dogs need about an ounce of water for every pound of body weight per day. This equals about a cup per every 10 pounds of body weight and is fairly easy to calculate.
However, you don’t need to weigh your dog on a daily basis to determine its water intake. In most situations, it is completely fine to give your dog unrestricted access to fresh, clean water and let it decide how much it wants to drink. In fact, unrestricted access is even recommended by vets, as lactating dogs and puppies usually need more water to meet their needs and avoid dehydration.
What Does It Mean when an Older Dog Starts Drinking a Lot of Water?
A noticeable change in your older dog's drinking habits may quickly become a cause for alarm and lead you to wonder, 'why is my dog drinking so much water?'
Senior dog excessive thirst is most often a sign of diseases like diabetes mellitus, urinary tract infection, and kidney disease and clearly signals something being wrong with your dog's body. Old dog not eating but drinking water can also be a sign of cancer, systemic infection, or metabolic diseases and should be brought to a veterinarian's attention as soon as possible.
Do Dogs Need Water at Night?
Usually, no. If your dog wakes up to drink water at night frequently, enough to make you think, 'my dog is drinking a lot of water', then you should know that a dog drinking lots of water at night is not normal and can be a sign of serious illness.
Most healthy dogs do not need any water at night, as they hydrate themselves sufficiently throughout the day. A dog waking up and drinking significant amounts of water at night can result from behavioral issues, poisoning, bladder or kidney stones, dry environment, or dietary changes and should be investigated for any potentially life-threatening conditions early on.
What Should I Do If My Dog is Drinking too Much?
How to stop dog from drinking too much water? Excessive intake of water is not healthy for dogs and is often associated with an underlying medical condition. If your dog is drinking too much, you should do your best to determine the cause of this behavior.
Once you are sure a serious illness or condition isn’t to blame, you can do the following to prevent excessive water drinking in dogs.
· Visit the Vet
Drinking too much water can cause water intoxication in dogs, which is a rare but fatal condition. Its symptoms are loss of coordination, glazed eyes, seizures, etc., and if you observe any of these, you should immediately take your dog to the vet. You should also take your dog to the vet if it's been drinking too much water without an apparent reason.
· Gently Nudge Away
When trying to stop a puppy from drinking lots of water, allow it to drink for about 45 seconds and then gently nudge it away from the water bowl with your legs. Block your dog from drinking for one whole minute before allowing it to drink again for about 20 seconds. Repeat this process of 20 seconds of water intake followed by one minute of blocking, and eventually your dog will stop trying to drink more and walk away.
· Do not Restrict
Many dogs have a problem with drinking too much due to limited access to water. Restricting them further or completely removing the water in such a case will only worsen the situation and cause more harm than good. Practice gently nudging them away after a couple of seconds instead.
· Use Floater Bowls
Floater bowls are specially designed water bowls that have a floating dish on top. This floating dish can hold only small amounts of water at a time, and this limits the amount of water your dog can drink, successfully reducing the quantity of water your dog drinks throughout the day.
· Add Ice Cubes
Another super easy way to reduce the amount of water your dog drinks in a day is to add a couple of ice cubes to your dog's water bowl. The floating ice cubes will serve as a distraction, and your dog will try to catch the ice or nudge it out of the way, effectively reducing its drinking speed.
A dog drinking a lot of water can result from exercise or hot weather but is also associated with serious underlying conditions. Therefore, it is essential to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of these disorders and act promptly to minimize the damage they cause.
Once you eliminate the possibility of a serious medical condition, you can reduce the amount of water your dog consumes per day by using the handy tips and tricks mentioned in this article.
Hope this article helps you determine the cause of your dog’s excessive drinking and how to stop it. Got experience with dogs who drink excessively? Share it in the comments down below.