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What is Drinking Excessively?

It is normal for your dog to drink a bit more sometimes such as when he is hot or after a lengthy game of fetch. However, it is not normal if your dog is consuming an excessive amount of water on a regular basis. The normal amount of water for a healthy dog to drink is about 50 to 60 milliliters per kilogram per day. For example, a dog that weighs about 20 pounds should be drinking about four cups of water. This can vary according to the humidity, air temperature, and activity level but it should not be more than 80 milliliters per kilogram per day. Excessive water drinking (polydipsia) is usually accompanied by polyuria, which is excessive urination. These are common, but can be a sign of many different medical conditions. Some of these include:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Increased calcium in the blood
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Medications

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Why Drinking Excessively Occurs in Dogs

Cushing’s Disease

This is also called hyperadrenocorticism, which is frequent in dogs over the age of seven. It is caused by increased cortisol (ACTH) from the adrenal glands. Most often, this is a congenital disorder. There are certain breeds that are more susceptible to Cushing’s disease, including:

  • Beagles
  • Boston Terriers
  • Boxers
  • Dachshunds
  • Miniature Poodles

Increased Calcium in the Blood

Hypercalcemia (increased calcium) can be caused by many different conditions such as neoplasia lymphosarcoma, hypoadrenocorticism, primary hyperparathyroidism, and chronic renal failure with cancer being the most common cause. Hypercalcemia is toxic to the whole body and can be lethal to the cardiovascular system, nervous system, and the kidneys depending on how fast it builds up and how long it has been going on. Some of the symptoms to watch for are appetite loss, vomiting, constipation, and confusion.

Liver Disease

Any kind of damage to the liver can create a decrease in urea and increase in cortisol and renin. Hepatitis, cancer, and other tumors are the main causes of liver disease in dogs. If your dog has a yellow tint to his skin and the whites of his eyes, you should take your dog to see a veterinary professional immediately. Some of the other symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, and lack of appetite.

Diabetes

Dogs can get diabetes even if they do not eat sweet foods. It is most likely caused by a congenital disorder. There are two types of diabetes, which are:

  • Diabetes mellitus is the abnormal function of the pancreas and sugar regulation. This type of diabetes is common in dogs.
  • Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition caused by either a decrease in antidiuretic hormone (ADH) production, which is called central diabetes insipidus; or kidney resistance to ADH, which is called nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

Kidney Disease

There are many different types of kidney problems that can cause kidney failure such as chronic kidney disease, renal dysplasia, polycystic kidneys, and renal cysts. Some common symptoms besides increased thirst include increased urination, appetite loss, fluid retention, and fever. Some dogs are more susceptible to kidney disease, which include:

  • Standard Poodle
  • Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Shih Tzu
  • Samoyed
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Keeshond
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Chow Chow
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Alaskan Malamute

Medications

Certain medications such as diuretics (Furosemide), anti-inflammatories (prednisone), and anticonvulsants (phenobarbital) can cause excessive thirst in your dog. You should check the side effects of any drug you have given your pet to see if polydipsia is listed on there.

What to do if your Dog is Drinking Excessively

If your dog is drinking more water than usual for longer than one or two days, you should call your veterinary provider. Your dog will need to visit the veterinarian for blood tests, imaging, urinalysis, and other diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the problem.

Prevention of Drinking Excessively

To prevent excessive drinking in dogs, you should be sure you are not feeding your dog a diet high in salt (sodium) and do not feed him table scraps, which can have high amounts of salt in them. With Cushing’s disease, diabetes, and kidney disease, there is usually nothing you can do to prevent them because they are primarily congenital. The most effective way to prevent any of these illnesses is to bring your dog to the veterinarian at least once per year to get checked out. Catching any condition early can lead to a better outcome.

Cost of Drinking Excessively

Due to the various types of conditions that can cause excessive drinking in dogs, the cost can vary a great deal. If the condition is a condition that can be treated with medication such as diabetes, the cost may only be about $500. However, just like most symptoms, it may take quite a few expensive diagnostic tests to determine the cause. The highest cost on average is about $1,600.