Jump to section

What is Increased Urination and Thirst?

Frequent urination and excessive drinking are two non-specific symptoms that may be associated with many different diseases in dogs. Called polyuria and polydipsia, they frequently appear in combination. In general, increased production of urine is the primary cause, and dogs drink more to make up for the water being excreted. Hormone imbalance from endocrine disease and kidney failure are the most common reasons for polyuria. Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) controls urine concentration that takes place in the kidneys; a reduction in ADH from the pituitary gland is called central diabetes insipidus, while a reduced response to the hormone in the kidneys is called nephritic diabetes insipidus. Either of these disorders produces large amounts of dilute urine with a low specific gravity. Other endocrine problem, such as diabetes mellitus, hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease), and hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease) cause increased urination with a higher specific gravity as the body makes an effort to excrete solutes that the kidneys are not able to process. This also happens with direct renal failure and hepatic disease. Other conditions that can be related include electrolyte imbalance, other medications, and infections of the bladder or urinary tract. Rarely, some problems can be psychological or behavioral, in which case polydipsia will be the primary cause and polyuria will result from excessive drinking.

Changes in a dog’s urination and drinking habits can be a sign of serious disease. Increased urination is called polyuria, while excessive thirst is known as polydipsia. The two symptoms frequently occur in combination.

Increased Urination and Thirst Average Cost

From 64 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,600

Symptoms of Increased Urination and Thirst in Dogs

These are some of the signs you might see in a dog with polyuria and polydipsia. 

  • Frequently needing to urinate
  • Accidents
  • Water bowl constantly empty
  • New drinking habits (such as drinking from the toilet with dogs that don’t normally do this)

If you are unsure what is normal for your dog, use these formulas to make a rough estimate.

  • Normal water intake: (140 x number of kg dog weighs) x 0.75
  • Normal urine output: 20 to 40 ml per kg dog weighs over a 24 hour period

Any noticeable change in your dog’s habits should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Types

The following types of polyuria can help to categorize your dog’s condition.

  • Physiological – basically a normal response to increased drinking; this suggests that your dog’s problem may be behavioral
  • Pharmacological – in response to increased salt intake or medications that increase urine output like diuretics or corticosteroids
  • Pathological – due to a metabolic problem like kidney failure or hormone imbalance; this can be further categorized into water diuresis (dilute urine with a low specific gravity) and solute diuresis (urine with a high specific gravity)
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Increased Urination and Thirst in Dogs

These are some of the many causes of polyuria and polydipsia in dogs.

  • Urinary system (kidney failure, kidney infection - pyelonephritis, bladder infection)

  • Endocrine system (hyperadrenocorticism - Cushing’s disease, hypoadrenocorticism - Addison’s disease, diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus - central or nephritic)

  • Liver disease
  • Uterine Infection (pyometra) in female dogs
  • Some medications
  • Electrolyte imbalance (hypercalcemia, hypokalemia)
  • Cancerous tumors (paraneoplastic syndrome)
  • Behavior problems (rare)
  • Urinary obstruction
  • Dehydration
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Increased Urination and Thirst in Dogs

If you think your dog’s habits are abnormal the first thing the vet will do is take blood and urine tests. Blood cell counts can tell a lot about your dog. If an infection is causing the problem, there will usually be increased numbers of leukocytes, or white blood cells. With Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease there may be more of some specific kinds of white blood cells, such as lymphocytes or eosinophils. Additionally, your dog may have anemia which could be related to kidney failure or liver disease.

Blood serum tests can help to confirm different problems. Dogs with diabetes may have a high fasting blood sugar. Kidney failure will show in increase in BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and liver disease can have increased ALT, ALP or AST.

Urinalysis in combination with a blood test will tell the veterinarian even more about your dog’s condition. Leukocytes in the urine, suggest a kidney or bladder infection. Red blood cells can indicate a more severe infection. High levels of glucose suggest diabetes while bilirubin can indicate liver disease. Very dilute urine, with a low specific gravity, is associated with diabetes insipidus, while many dissolved solutes and a high specific gravity will be a sign of other conditions.

Once the vet has an idea of what may be causing your dog’s problem, other tests will be necessary to verify the condition. An ACTH stimulation test is often used for endocrine imbalances. Ultrasound or x rays could be needed to check for cancerous tumors or to show abnormalities in the kidneys or liver. If kidney disease is ruled out, a water deprivations test will help to determine whether normal urine concentration is taking place.

Your dog’s breed, medical history and recent medications can all be relevant, especially since many medications can cause polyuria and polydipsia. In cases where no medical reason is apparent, the veterinarian may decide to check for behavior problems. Boarding your dog at a kennel for a few days can help to show if a different environment changes behavior patterns.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Increased Urination and Thirst in Dogs

Treatment can vary a lot depending on your dog’s diagnosis. If an infection is causing the problem, antibiotic treatment will usually eliminate it. In some cases, adjusting your dog’s other medications may reduce the problem.

Endocrine imbalance usually requires long term treatment to help normalize hormone levels. Hormone replacements can have significant side effects, so discuss these with the vet. Diabetes mellitus will need to be managed with insulin shots as well as modified diet and exercise.

Some endocrine disorders are related to cancer. In this case, surgery and/or chemotherapy may be necessary, depending on the level of metastasis. Pituitary tumors are slow developing and the accompanying Cushing’s disease or diabetes insipidus may be manageable medically for a while before the tumor itself becomes a problem.

Kidney disease may be treated with diet change, medication, or dialysis treatment depending on what stage it is at. Treatment for liver disease will depend on the cause of the problem.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Increased Urination and Thirst in Dogs

Since polyuria and polydipsia are symptoms of many different problems, your dog’s chances of recovery will depend on diagnosis. Many diseases that cause increased urination and thirst require long term medical management. Some may be serious or even fatal. The veterinarian will evaluate your dog’s prognosis based on the source of the problem.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Increased Urination and Thirst Average Cost

From 64 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,600

arrow-up-icon

Top

Increased Urination and Thirst Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Boxer

dog-age-icon

Seven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Extreme Thirst. Peeing A Lot Not Eating

My dog hasn't ate his food in two days but drinks lots of water and is peeing a lot.

Sept. 11, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, I'm sorry that your dog is not feeling well. I would be concerned in a puppy his age about parasites and infection. He may be drinking a lot if he is having any diarrhea, they may be urinating more because of that. Without being able to see him, unfortunately, it is difficult to say what might be going on with him, but I think the best thing to do at this point if he hasn't eaten in 2 days, would be to have him seen by his veterinarian. They will be able to examine him, get more information, and see what might be going on with him. I hope that everything goes well and he is okay.

Sept. 12, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pit bull visla mix mutt

dog-age-icon

One Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Peeing

Dog played in shallow lake water for 15-20 minutes and bit at water and drank a lot. She has been peeing a lot, and had a few accidents. Should we be concerned?

July 18, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Gina U. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello It sounds like your pup had a lot of fun in the lake, and probably ingested too much of it. If she is urinating more that normal, there is not much to be concerned about. If she starts having diarrhea or you notice respiratory symptoms like panting or heavy breathing, it is recommended that you take her to a veterinarian right away. Good luck.

July 19, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Molly

dog-breed-icon

West Highland White Terrier

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Drinking And Urination

I recently - three days ago - rehomed a little four year old Westie female (speyed) and since bringing her home have noticed she drinks and pees excessively. I contacted the rehoming centre and was told that this also happened when she went to a fosterer after being surrendered to them, but that it stopped after around a week. They also said that the vet has checked her and there are no kidney problems. Could this be a symptom of stress following the rehoming, or should I get another vet's opinion?

Sept. 20, 2018

Molly's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Chili

dog-breed-icon

miniature dachshund

dog-age-icon

16 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Thirst And Frequent Urination

I have a 16 year old miniature dachshund. Her back legs slide out from under her. She was having an issue with not eating her dry dog food so we tried mixing it with wet food. She started to eat that then stopped so we have switched her over completely to wet food. Now she eats great. She is always thirty. Giving her a bath after she has peed is next to impossible because all she wants to do to drink the soapy water. Of course because of this increased thirst she's peeing a whole lot more. Sometimes she has just sat in it. Most times though she moves from the wet spot. We have her water bowl up and give her water after she has peed outside otherwise she'll pee all over and while we're away she is crated so we don't want her sitting in it. I'm truly afraid of what the vet will want to do. I can't afford a huge vet bill. Is it her age?

Aug. 20, 2018

Chili's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

An increase in thirst and urination may be age related, but hormonal conditions would be the most likely cause; other conditions like food intake, poisoning among other conditions; a loss of continence may be related to Dachshund’s known spinal issue. A visit to your Veterinarian is needed to narrow in on a specific cause and to ensure that Chili doesn’t need any treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 20, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Zoie

dog-breed-icon

Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

I have a 9 yr old shih tzu - last night she yipped with pain coming from her lower back - she drinks a lot of water and has had no problem with peeing or going potty - this morning still hurts lower back - won't eat and loves food -I gave her a part of a tramadol - 1 third of a 5mg.could this be a pulled muscle

Aug. 18, 2018

Zoie's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Zoie could have a pulled muscle, or a strained back, or arthritis pain, and she may need something stronger than Tramadol. It would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian since she won't eat so that they can find out what is going on with her and how best to treat.

Aug. 18, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Lucy

dog-breed-icon

toy poodle

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Drinking Water Excessively

my dog has always been on the bigger side, she was potty trained when she was around 6 months-4 years old, she is about 7 and she has been peeing in the house more often and peeing blood a lot!! we got her out on medication but it just keeps coming back. she drinks a ton of water and we will let her out to use the bathroom very often but right when she comes back in she will just pee all over the carpet again. She pants a lot even when she has been laying down for a long time, she’s always whining for no reason and doesn’t listen to anything we say anymore.

dog-name-icon

Lucky

dog-breed-icon

Shihpoo

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Thirst
Urinating In House

Recently(in last 5 days) - my dog Lucky has been drinking lots of water especially at night that we take him outside and then go to bed. Then to wake up in the morning to find he has urinated in the same spot. He drinks lots of water, but we look to take him outside prior to going to bed.

dog-name-icon

Reina

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

14 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Frequent Urination
Frequent Pooping
Spacing Out

I have a 14.5 year old lab mix. She underwent surgery and had a benign tumor and dental cleaning in February. She had a senior blood panel done and vet said her geriatric blood panel showed she was very healthy for her age. Nothing was wrong. Four weeks ago she began drinking water non-stop. Her back legs appear to be getting weaker. Prior to this she could go 8-10 hours with urinating. Now she is urinating every 2 -3 hours and now pooping multiple times a day vs once a day. Her food intake is normal and has not increased. Sometimes she will stand in the room and space out. Her cushings disease test was negative at the 12:00 test and inconclusive at the 4:00 test. All of her blood work is normal other than slightly elevated liver test. The UTI test was negative. Her coat is healthy and no extended/bloated tummy. We tried two rounds of antibiotics one of which included penicillin. She seemed to improve slightly in overall awareness and energy. Vet seems to be at a loss as to what is going on.

dog-name-icon

Jethro

dog-breed-icon

Bloodhound

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Increased Thirst
Increased Urination

I have a 9 year old Bloodhound. In the last 6 months his thirst has increased greatly and within the last 6 months he has been urinating in the house. This is new behavior as we are lucky if he holds it for 8 hours (sometimes in as little as 3 hours). I have taken him to the vet several times for blood and urine tests.... all come back normal. He has normal white blood cell counts and is negative for diabetes. Most recently we had the Cushings test...came back negative. The vet has no idea and suggested I take him to a vet specialist which the cost is astronomical. I am running out of options. Any additional suggestions would be greatly appreciated. In addition, my dog acts completely normal other than always wanting water.

dog-name-icon

Tolstoi

dog-breed-icon

Weimaraner

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination
Excessive Thirst
Loose Bowel Movements
Low Weight

I have a 3 year old Weimaraner. We rescued him from a rescue so we are not 100% sure what his medical history is. We have seen 3 different vets from 2 different clinics regarding these issues. He has frequent urination, and he drinks large amounts of water. He asks to go out every 20-30 minutes during the day and anywhere from 3-8 times through the night. He has urinary incontinence when he sleeps and has a hard time holding it once he's asked to go out. He wears a diaper 24/7 while in the house. He is thin but not too skinny but we are having a hard time helping him to put weight on. All the testing done at vets included x-rays, 2 sets of blood work, urine analysis and fecal analysis. Everything has come back normalish. My vet thinks that his pancreas isn't developing the enzymes to properly digest his food, and so hes basically malnourished which is affecting his hormones. Since he has been on the enzyme supplments, he is having mucous filed stools and no improvement in his frequent urination or thirst. WHAT IS GOING ON..PLZ HELP!

Increased Urination and Thirst Average Cost

From 64 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,600

How can we help your pet?