Dogs are hit-and-miss drinkers. Sometimes they don’t drink much at all and other times they seem to drink a ton. As a pet owner, it’s normal to worry when you start to see a change from their typical behavior. Here are the warning signs to look for if you’re concerned it’s a more serious issue.
According to webMD for pets, dogs need to drink around an ounce of water per day per pound they weigh. For example, a five pound dog would need to drink about five ounces a day. There are other pooches that need more than this though:
There are a number of factors that can lead to excessive thirst in dogs, including hot weather, higher than normal activity level, and your dog’s diet. If a dog is drinking excessively it may be cause for concern.
There are two medical terms that vets use when discussing these issues:
Serious medical consequences of these issues is rare but it’s important to have your dog evaluated to make sure they’re not caused by serious medical conditions. The two main serious issues your vet will want to rule out will be:
Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons a dog may be excessively thirsty.
Dehydration can be caused by a number of things:
Other signs that your dog may be dehydrated include:
Dehydration can go from a minor inconvenience to a life-threating situation very quickly. If you’re worried that your dog is dehydrated then you should visit the vet immediately.
On the other hand, if your dog is just thirsty – but isn’t vomiting – you can give them a little bit of water at a time every ten minutes for a few hours. Stick to one teaspoon for a little dog and up to two tablespoons for larger breeds.
If you give your dehydrated dog access to unlimited water when they’re dehydrated, they could become sick and start vomiting.
There are numerous illnesses that can lead to excessive thirst in dogs including:
In some cases, it’s not actually the disease causing the thirst but the medication your dog takes to treat said medication. Speak with your vet to find out if excessive thirst is a side effect. If it is, your vet may need to lower the dosage.
Medications can result in excessive thirst. Some of the most common culprits are:
Dry dog food has only 5 – 10% water, which can result in excessive thirst in your dog. If your dog is eating high sodium foods then they may also need to drink more. Remember that high-salt foods can actually kill your dog – so don’t share people food with them. Signs they’ve eaten too much salt include:
Your vet will have a variety of ways to check your dog’s health but there are a few common steps they’ll likely take.
Based on the vet’s findings from these steps they’ll move forward with additional, specific testing.
As with any medical condition, the best way to treat excessive thirst in dogs depends on the reason they’re experiencing this issue in the first place. If it’s underlying disease like diabetes then the diabetes will be treated. If it’s caused by their food then the vet may recommend a change to their diet.
If it seems to be a temporary problem caused by extra exercise or excessive heat then you don’t necessarily need to take your dog to the vet. Keep an eye on the issue and if it persists then you should visit your vet right away.
The easiest way to keep track of any changes in the thirst of your dog and their drinking behavior is to have a routine. A general guide would look like this:
It’s important to keep in mind that water is essential to your pooch’s health. As a result, you don’t want to deprive your dog of water. If you have reason to worry that your dog is either drinking too much water or not enough, then it’s time to contact your vet.