What is Urinating Frequently?
If your dog is urinating more frequently than usual, it can point to a serious condition that may be occurring. You may see your dog making more frequent trips outside, or having accidents indoors. Polyuria, the medical term for excessive urination, can often be accompanied by an excessive thirst, or polydipsia. Reasons your dog’s urination has increased can include:
- Hormone imbalance
- Mineral imbalance
- Compulsive water drinking
- Liver failure
- Kidney infection or failure
- Diet high in salts
Why Urinating Frequently Occurs in Dogs
An increase in urination can happen to any breed or age of dog, and is often a reaction to correct an increase or decrease of chemicals, hormones, or electrolytes in the body. Why it may occur depends on the underlying condition causing the imbalance.
Cushing’s disease, or hyperadrenocorticism, occurs when hormones are overproduced by the adrenal glands. Addison’s disease, or hypoadrenocorticism, results from a decreased production of hormones from the adrenal glands. Adrenal hormones regulate stress levels (cortisol) and mineral levels, specifically sodium and potassium. These minerals help to maintain normal fluid balance in the body.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when excessive levels of the thyroid hormone are produced, which can lead to a higher metabolic rate. This causes your dog to be constantly hungry and thirsty, leading to excessive urination.
Hypercalcemia is an elevated level of calcium in the blood. While calcium is needed by the body, too much of it can be toxic to your dog’s organs and body systems. Hypokalemia is a decreased level of potassium in the blood. Potassium is needed by cells to properly send the electrical signals that tell the body what to do.
Compulsive Water Drinking
Also called psychogenic polydipsia, this is a behavioral disorder that causes excessive water drinking. The cause of this behavior is not very clear and it is often confused with diabetes insipidus. This compulsive disorder can be diagnosed in the absence of another condition.
There are two types of diabetes that can cause your dog to urinate excessively. Diabetes mellitus results in elevated levels of sugar in the blood because of the cell’s inability to absorb the sugar and use it as energy. This is often due to a lack of sufficient insulin, the chemical that allows sugar to pass into the cells. The excess sugar is then released through urine. Diabetes insipidus results in large volumes of dilute urine produced in your dog due to an imbalance of the antidiuretic hormone.
The liver cleans the blood and produces hormones that are involved with digestion, elimination, and metabolism. When liver disease or failure is present, the result can be a disruption in these essential body functions, causing an increase in elimination to compensate.
Kidney Infection or Failure
Infections or stones in the kidneys and urinary tract can affect how elimination occurs. Kidney failure results when the kidneys are unable to function. Normally, the kidneys produce highly concentrated urine that has a high amount of toxins to be excreted. A kidney that is failing needs more water to eliminate those toxins, causing increasing thirst and urination.
Many different types of cancers can cause excessive urination. This is due to hormones that are produced by the tumors that can lead to hypercalcemia.
Many types of medications can alter the hormones or minerals in the body. Steroids used over a prolonged period of time can raise cortisol levels. Other drugs that can cause an imbalance include glucocorticoids or furosemide. Diuretics can also cause an increase in urination.
Diet High in Salts
If your dog’s diet is too high in sodium, he will naturally drink more water. But if there is not enough water taken in, elevated amounts of sodium can cause the cells of the body to release water in an attempt to balance the levels of sodium.
What to do if your Dog is Urinating Frequently
An increase in urination can be a signal that something is out of balance in your dog’s body. If you notice your dog drinking or urinating more than usual, you should take him to your veterinarian to find out why.
After taking into consideration any other symptoms your dog may be exhibiting, and your dog’s breed and medical history, your veterinarian will run tests to determine the cause. Testing begins with taking blood and urine samples to analyze the levels of minerals, salts, sugars, hormones, and blood cells that are present, all of which can point to a possible reason for the increased urination. Very diluted urine can also point to specific conditions, such as diabetes insipidus.
Other tests can include an ACTH stimulation test to assess endocrine imbalances and cortisol levels. Cancerous tumors can be detected through X-rays or ultrasounds. A water deprivation test can help to determine if urine concentrations are normal. If none of the tests point to a physical cause, then your veterinarian will look into a behavioral reason, such as a compulsive disorder.
Treatments can range considerably. If medications are causing an imbalance, they will be reduced or stopped. Hormone imbalances can need long term treatment to stabilize hormone levels, and generally entail administering hormone replacements. Diabetes can require insulin injections and a special diet. Cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, and will need to be monitored to ensure it does not spread to other locations in the body. While treatment of liver disease focuses on the cause of the disease, kidney disease generally needs a diet adjustment, medication therapy, and possibly dialysis treatments.
Prevention of Urinating Frequently
It can be difficult to predict when or how imbalances in the body can occur that can cause an increase in urination. Ensuring that your dog eats an appropriate diet and is routinely checked for mineral, hormone, and chemical imbalances at an annual veterinary visit can help to prevent many conditions, as well as catch a problem before it progresses. You know your dog best, so monitoring your dog’s behavioral and elimination habits can alert you to a possible issue and allow you to get your dog the help he may need before it is too late.
Cost of Urinating Frequently
The cost of treatment for excessive urination can range considerably, depending on the reason. Treatments can range from correcting mineral and hormone imbalances to surgery and chemotherapy, and can cost anywhere from $500.00 to $7,000.00.
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