Water is essential for life, for our dogs as well as for us.
But if you notice your dog drinking lots of water suddenly, should you be concerned? Could your pet’s excessive thirst be a sign of a serious health problem?
In some cases, the answer is no. There are plenty of simple, relatively harmless reasons why your dog might be drinking more water than usual, especially during summer.
But there are also some situations where a dog drinking too much water can be cause for concern. Keep reading to find out what they are and the dangers they pose to your canine companion.
Common reasons why your dog is drinking a lot of water
Why is my dog drinking so much water? There’s often an easy answer to this question.
The most obvious reason your dog keeps returning to the water bowl is because he’s thirsty. You might notice your pet’s water consumption increases during the summer months when the mercury rises and he needs to cool down, or if he’s recently been for a long walk or run. Some foods, such as salty treats, can also increase your dog’s thirst.
In these situations, it’s perfectly normal for your pooch to require a little extra hydration. Provided that the excess thirst is a short-term thing, and as long as your dog isn’t displaying any other worrying symptoms (we’ll get to these below), chances are there’s nothing to worry about.
Serious causes of excessive thirst
Unfortunately, if you notice your dog drinking lots of water, there can also be a range of much more serious reasons for their increased consumption. Some of these conditions can even be life-threatening, so it’s important to recognize the warning signs and act quickly.
Heat stroke, vomiting, and diarrhea, infection — all of these can cause your dog to become dehydrated. As well as increased thirst signs your dog is dehydrated include:
- Reduced energy levels
- Loss of appetite
- Dry gums
- Thick saliva
- Reduced skin elasticity
If you notice any of these symptoms, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Severe dehydration can lead to kidney failure and even death, so this is one problem that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Diabetes occurs when your dog’s body either doesn’t make enough insulin or is resistant to insulin. It’s a chronic condition that tends to affect dogs in middle and old age, while overweight pooches are particularly at risk. Increased thirst and increased urination are the most noticeable signs, but other symptoms of doggy diabetes include increased appetite, weight loss, and lethargy.
Diabetes is typically managed with injections that help maintain a suitable blood-glucose level. And just like in humans, the sooner it is diagnosed, the better your dog’s chance of leading a long and happy life.
Also known as Cushing’s syndrome, this disease occurs when your dog’s body produces too much cortisol. And while this hormone is needed for a number of important bodily functions, excess amounts of it can cause a number of health problems.
Increased thirst and urination are common symptoms, while you might also notice your dog panting more than usual, having an increased appetite, and developing a pot-bellied appearance.
Treatment involves medication or surgery, so seek veterinary attention if your dog is showing any of these symptoms.
The kidneys play a vital role maintaining proper levels of salt and water in your dog’s body. But if they’re not functioning properly, this will not only cause a build-up of toxins in the body but also mean that your dog will need to pee more. Your pooch will then drink more to avoid becoming dehydrated, which is often when owners notice that something isn’t quite right with their pooch.
Other symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, weight loss, and blood in urine. Kidney failure is obviously an extremely serious issue, so get your dog to the vet ASAP if you notice any of these worrying signs.
There are also a handful of other reasons why your dog may be drinking a lot of water. These can include:
- Increased thirst due to medication
- Liver disease
- Pyometra (infected uterus)
What to do if your dog is drinking a lot of water
How much water does your dog usually drink a day? How much water should they drink?
For most of us, these are questions we’d struggle to answer. After all, it can be quite difficult to keep track of exactly how much your dog takes in over the course of a day.
The best thing you can do is know what’s normal for your dog and what isn’t. Is he drinking more often than usual? Is he lapping from her dish for what seems like a long time? Is he going potty more than he normally would?
If it seems like your furry friend is drinking lots of water suddenly, keep a close eye on them. Don’t try to restrict your dog’s access to water — they’re drinking more for a reason, and stopping them from doing this may even lead to more serious problems.
If there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for their increased thirst (such as a very hot day) and they’re not showing any other symptoms, the problem will probably go away on its own before too long.
But if there are other warning signs, don’t just sit back to “see what happens”. Several health problems that cause dogs to drink more require urgent veterinary attention, so don’t hesitate to seek help.
Your vet will then be able to examine your dog and conduct the necessary tests to get to the bottom of the problem. And once you know why your pooch is lapping from his water dish over and over again, you can work out how best to tackle the underlying cause of his drinking problem.