Cart
Your cart is currently empty.
Why Does My Dog Drink So Much Water? Understanding the Causes and Solutions - PawSafe
Dog Healthcare

Why Does My Dog Drink So Much Water? Understanding the Causes and Solutions

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

why dog drinks too much water

Dogs are known for their love of water, but what happens when your dog seems to be drinking more than usual? Excessive thirst in dogs can be a sign of an underlying health issue, or it could simply be due to environmental factors. Understanding why your dog is drinking so much water is essential in ensuring their overall health and well-being.

One common reason for increased water intake in dogs is dehydration. This can occur due to hot weather, exercise, or an underlying health condition. It’s important to ensure that your dog always has access to fresh, clean water, especially during hot weather or after exercise. Additionally, adding a canine mouthwash to their water can help prevent dental issues that can lead to heart problems, diabetes, and other issues that can leave your dog thirsty all the time.

If your dog’s excessive thirst is not related to dehydration or environmental factors, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up. Increased water intake can be a sign of diabetes, kidney disease, or other health issues. To dive into this topic, we delved into the Journal of Veterinary Research to get the full low down on polydipsia, or excessive thirst in dogs.

Contents show

Here are some reasons why your dog might be drinking more water than usual:

  • Dehydration: If your dog is dehydrated, they will naturally drink more water to replenish their body’s fluids.
  • Heat exhaustion: Dogs can easily become overheated, especially in hot weather. If your dog has been playing outside or exercising in the heat, they may drink more water to cool down and rehydrate.

Understanding Canine Polydipsia (Excessive Thirst)

Polydipsia is a medical term that refers to excessive thirst and increased water intake. Dogs can experience polydipsia due to various reasons, including medical conditions, environmental factors, and behavioral issues. Understanding the causes of polydipsia in dogs can help pet owners identify potential health problems and provide appropriate care for their furry friends.

Medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and Cushing’s disease can cause polydipsia in dogs. These conditions affect the body’s ability to regulate water and electrolyte balance, resulting in increased thirst and water intake. Other medical conditions that may cause polydipsia in dogs include liver disease, hypercalcemia, and pyometra.

Environmental factors such as high temperatures and dry air can also cause polydipsia in dogs. Dogs may drink more water to stay hydrated and regulate their body temperature. Additionally, dogs that consume dry kibble may drink more water to compensate for the lack of moisture in their diet.

Behavioral issues such as anxiety, boredom, and stress can also be the issue. Dogs may drink more water as a coping mechanism or to relieve anxiety. Additionally, dogs that are left alone for long periods may drink more water out of boredom.

In conclusion, polydipsia is a common issue among dogs that can be caused by various factors. Pet owners should monitor their dog’s water intake and consult with a veterinarian if they suspect their dog is drinking too much water. Identifying the underlying cause of polydipsia can help pet owners provide appropriate care and improve their dog’s quality of life.

16 Common Reasons Dogs & Puppies Have Excessive Thirst

Excessive thirst in dogs and puppies is a common concern for many pet owners. There are various reasons why dogs and puppies may have excessive thirst, some of which are discussed below. Remember, puppies often drink more water because they move more and fast metabolisms, but excessive thirst is often an early warning sign of a bigger problem. So keep an eye on it in your dog.

1. Dietary Factors

Dietary factors can contribute to excessive thirst in dogs and puppies. For instance, feeding your dog dry kibble without providing adequate water can cause dehydration, leading to increased thirst. Additionally, feeding your dog salty or high-protein diets can also cause excessive thirst.

The fact that dogs on high-protein diets may need water may be a surprise to most pet parents. A study conducted by the University of Connecticut showed that high protein intake could impact hydration status. Specifically, the research involving human athletes found that high protein consumption results in much higher levels of blood urea nitrogen, a marker used to evaluate kidney function. 

Translating these findings to dogs, a high-protein diet could similarly affect their hydration status. Elevated levels of protein may lead to increased work for the kidneys, which in turn might make your dog thirsty and necessitate greater water intake to help flush out toxins and maintain kidney function. So, if your dog is on a high-protein diet, it may be beneficial to ensure they have access to ample amounts of fresh water.

2. Weather Conditions

Hot weather can cause dehydration in dogs, leading to increased thirst. Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors during hot weather conditions are more prone to dehydration and excessive thirst.

Usually prevalent in winter months when heaters are often in use, dry air can lead to faster evaporation of moisture from both the respiratory tract and the skin. This can cause your dog to feel thirsty more often as its body tries to maintain its fluid balance.

On the opposite end, high humidity can also make a dog drink more water. That’s because humid conditions often make it less efficient for dogs to cool down by panting, leading to increased water loss through heavier panting and possible dehydration.

3. Physical Activity

Dogs that engage in a lot of physical activity or exercise tend to drink more water to replenish the fluids lost through panting. Always have water available for your dog while exercising with a collapsible water bowl you can clip on your belt. It is imperative to keep your active dog hydrated.

4. Dehydration

Dehydration in dogs can be due to various factors such as heat exposure, excessive exercise, or insufficient water intake. When a dog is dehydrated, its body’s internal system sends signals that trigger thirst. This is an instinctual response to motivate the animal to drink water and restore the fluid balance. Thirst is a survival mechanism that alerts the dog to replenish lost fluids and maintain bodily functions.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Recognizing the symptoms of dehydration is crucial for early intervention. Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Dry, Sticky Gums;
  2. Lethargy;
  3. Loss of Appetite;
  4. Sunken Eyes;
  5. Elevated Heart Rate;
  6. Reduced Elasticity of the Skin; and
  7. Excessive Panting or Breathing.

Dogs who are severely dehydrated may also lose body coordination and stumble when they try to walk.

Also see:

Can dogs drink sparkling water?

5. Diabetes (congenital in puppies or acquired in older dogs)

Excessive thirst in dogs can sometimes be a symptom of underlying medical issues like diabetes, especially when you see your dog peeing a lot (polyuria). There are several different types of diabetes that can affect dogs and lead to increased water consumption, including;

  1. Diabetes Mellitus: This is the most common form of diabetes in dogs. It is similar to type 1 diabetes in humans and occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. This results in elevated blood sugar levels, leading to increased urination and, subsequently, thirst.
  2. Diabetes Insipidus: This is a rare form of diabetes in dogs, resulting from a lack of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or the kidney’s inability to respond to ADH. The condition leads to diluted urine and excessive thirst as the body tries to balance its fluid levels.
  3. Congenital Diabetes: While rare, some puppies may be born with diabetes due to genetic factors. In such cases, symptoms like excessive thirst and urination may appear quite early in life, requiring prompt medical attention.

Pregnant female dogs and obese dogs can also sometimes develop diabetes, so be careful to keep an eye on them. Puppies born with diabetes will usually show signs in the first few months. Dogs who had conditions like pancreatitis may also develop the condition. Other symptoms include:

  • excessive urination; 
  • weight loss; 
  • Weakness;
  • Excessive hunger; and
  • Cataracts (sometimes leading to red eyes).

6. Certain Medications

Some medications, such as diuretics, can cause excessive thirst in dogs. Diuretics are used to treat conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. While diuretics are well-known for this, other classes of drugs can also lead to elevated water consumption:

  1. Corticosteroids: Drugs like prednisone and cortisone are commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions. These medications can cause increased thirst, urination, and even hunger.
  2. Antihistamines: Used for treating allergies, antihistamines can sometimes cause dry mouth, leading to increased thirst.
  3. Chemotherapy Drugs: Used in the treatment of cancer, some chemotherapy medications can cause dehydration, prompting increased water intake.
  4. Anti-Seizure Medications: Drugs like phenobarbital, used to control seizures, can also result in increased thirst and urination.
  5. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Medications like carprofen, used for pain relief, may cause elevated thirst in some dogs.
  6. Hormone Supplements: Thyroid medications or hormone replacements can sometimes cause thirst and frequent urination.
  7. Antipsychotic Medications: Although less commonly used in veterinary medicine, some antipsychotic medications can cause dry mouth and increased thirst.
  8. Antibiotics: Certain antibiotics can cause gastrointestinal upset, potentially leading to fluid loss and increased thirst.
  9. Blood Pressure Medications: Some antihypertensive drugs can lead to elevated water consumption as the body tries to balance sodium levels.

If you notice that your dog is drinking more water than usual after starting a new medication, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian. In some cases, excessive thirst may be a sign of an underlying issue that requires attention, or it might necessitate a dosage adjustment or change in medication.

Also see: 

Puppy not eating but sleeping a lot.

7. Cushing’s disease

Cushing’s disease is a hormonal disorder that can cause excessive thirst in dogs. It occurs when the dog’s body produces too much cortisol hormone.

8. Liver Disease

Liver disease can cause excessive thirst in dogs. The liver plays an important role in regulating the body’s fluids, and when it is not functioning properly, it can cause dehydration and increased thirst. Research shows that a dog drinking a lot of water (polydipsia) is often an early sign of liver disease.

9. Congenital Renal Lesions In Puppies With Excessive Thirst

Congenital kidney issues like renal lesions can have a significant impact on a puppy’s hydration status, often leading to extreme thirst. Renal lesions affect the kidneys, which are responsible for regulating fluid balance in the body. When the kidneys are compromised due to congenital abnormalities, they may not function efficiently in filtering waste and balancing electrolytes.

In such cases, the puppy’s body tries to flush out toxins and restore balance by increasing urination. This leads to a loss of fluids, prompting the puppy to drink water excessively to compensate. It’s a vicious cycle: the body urges increased water intake to aid compromised kidneys, but the kidneys are not fully able to manage the extra fluid, leading to even more frequent urination and thirst.

10. Ingesting certain toxins and poisons

Exposure to certain toxins can lead to excessive thirst in dogs, often as the body’s attempt to flush out harmful substances. Some common toxins and accompanying symptoms include:

  1. Chocolate: Besides causing symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid heartbeat, chocolate can make a dog extremely thirsty.
  2. Grapes and Raisins: These can cause kidney failure, leading to increased thirst and urination before more severe symptoms appear.
  3. Antifreeze: Consuming even a small amount can cause kidney failure. Early symptoms may include excessive thirst and urination.
  4. Rodenticides: Some rat and mouse poisons can cause increased thirst and urination, along with more severe symptoms like internal bleeding.
  5. Xylitol: Found in sugar-free gum and certain baked goods, xylitol can lead to rapid insulin release, causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and triggering increased thirst among other symptoms.
  6. Certain Plants: Plants like sago palm and oleander can cause thirst, along with gastrointestinal upset and more serious complications.
  7. Household Cleaners: Ingesting these can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and sometimes affect kidney or liver function, leading to increased thirst.
  8. Fertilizers and Pesticides: If ingested, these can cause a range of symptoms, including increased thirst, depending on the ingredients.
  9. Lead: Old paint or toys with lead can cause gastrointestinal symptoms and increased thirst.

If you suspect your dog has ingested a toxin, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian immediately. Early intervention can make all the difference in minimizing the severity of poisoning and its long-term impact.

11. Psychogenic Polydipsia in Puppies and Older Dogs

Psychogenic polydipsia is a behavioral disorder that can cause excessive thirst in puppies and older dogs. It occurs when the dog drinks excessive amounts of water due to anxiety or boredom. Sometimes it is learned behavior, such as when a dog had a prior disease that made them drink a lot of water, now they do it out of habit.

12. Pyometra

Pyometra is a uterine infection that can cause excessive thirst in female dogs. It occurs when the uterus becomes infected and filled with pus.

13. Other Kidney Diseases

Other kidney diseases, such as glomerulonephritis and pyelonephritis, can cause excessive thirst in dogs. These diseases affect the kidneys’ ability to regulate water intake and output.

14. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Urinary tract infections can cause excessive thirst in dogs. UTIs can cause inflammation in the bladder and urethra, leading to increased thirst.

15. Chronic Renal Insufficiency

Chronic renal insufficiency is a progressive kidney disease that can cause excessive thirst in dogs. It occurs when the kidneys gradually lose their ability to function properly.

In conclusion, there are various reasons why dogs and puppies may have excessive thirst. If you notice that your dog is drinking more water than usual, it is essential to consult a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

16. Paraneoplastic syndromes 

Paraneoplastic syndromes are a group of disorders that occur in some dogs suffering from cancer but are not directly due to the physical presence of cancerous tumors. These syndromes can manifest in various ways, including hormonal imbalances that may lead to symptoms like excessive thirst and urination. 

The exact mechanisms behind this are not fully understood but are believed to be related to substances released by the tumor affecting distant tissues and organs. For more detailed information, you can refer to this comprehensive source on Paraneoplastic Syndromes in Dogs and Cats

If your dog exhibits symptoms like excessive thirst along with other unusual behaviors, consult a veterinarian for a thorough evaluation, which may include screening for cancer and associated paraneoplastic syndromes.

How to Stop Your Dog Drinking So Much Water

how to stop dog from drinking so much water

If you’re concerned about your dog’s excessive drinking, there are a few things you can do to help manage the situation. Here are some tips:

Monitor Your Dog’s Water Intake

Keep track of how much water your dog is drinking each day. This will help you determine if there is a sudden increase in water intake or if your dog is drinking more than usual.

Provide Fresh Water

Ensure that your dog always has access to fresh, clean water. Dirty or stale water can cause your dog to drink more than necessary.

Control Your Dog’s Diet

Certain foods can cause your dog to drink more water than usual. Avoid giving your dog salty or dry foods, as they can increase thirst. Consult your veterinary nutritionist over whether your dog can safely reduce their protein intake.

Limit Water Intake

If your dog is drinking too much water, you may need to limit their access to water. This can be done by measuring their water out and giving them small amounts throughout the day with canine hydration salts. However, do not do this if your dog has a condition where they physically need more water. Limiting a dog’s water intake when they have a medical condition or when they are hot or exercising can lead to dehydration that can be fatal in certain circumstances.

Consult With Your Vet

If you’re concerned about your dog’s excessive drinking, it’s always best to consult with your vet. They can help determine if there is an underlying health issue causing the increased thirst.

By following these tips, you can help manage your dog’s excessive drinking and ensure they stay healthy and hydrated.

Can a dog drink too much water? (Water Toxicity)

Dogs need water to stay hydrated and healthy, but it is possible for them to drink too much water. In some cases, drinking too much water too quickly can just give your dog hiccups. This condition is known as water intoxication or water poisoning, and it can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Water toxicity occurs when a dog drinks an excessive amount of water, causing the body’s electrolyte balance to become disrupted. This can lead to a dangerous drop in sodium levels, which can cause seizures, coma, and even death.

Symptoms of water toxicity in dogs include:

  • vomiting;
  • diarrhea; 
  • lethargy; 
  • loss of coordination; 
  • seizures; and
  • coma. 

If you suspect your dog has ingested an excessive amount of water, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

Preventing water toxicity in dogs is relatively simple. Provide your dog with fresh, clean water at all times, and monitor their water intake. Make sure your dog does not have access to large bodies of water, such as swimming pools, as they may ingest too much water while swimming or they may drink too much water if they have a habit of chasing sprinklers or sprayers.

How Much Water Should a Dog Drink in a Day?

On average, a healthy dog should drink about 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. For example, a 50-pound dog should drink between 25 and 50 ounces of water per day. However, this is just a general guideline and your dog’s individual needs may vary.

It’s important to monitor your dog’s water intake and adjust accordingly. If your dog is more active or lives in a warmer climate, they may need more water to stay hydrated. Additionally, if your dog is on a dry food diet, they may need to drink more water than a dog on a wet food diet.

It’s also important to note that certain medical conditions can affect a dog’s water intake. For example, dogs with kidney disease may need to drink more water to help flush out toxins from their body.

When to Consult a Veterinarian About Your Dog’s Water Intake

If a dog is drinking an excessive amount of water, it may be a sign of an underlying health problem. In some cases, drinking a lot of water is normal, but if the dog is consistently drinking more water than usual, it’s important to consult a veterinarian.

Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to seek veterinary care:

  • The dog is drinking more water than usual and is urinating more frequently.
  • The dog is drinking more water than usual and is losing weight.
  • The dog is drinking more water than usual and is lethargic or has a decreased appetite.
  • The dog is drinking more water than usual and is vomiting or has diarrhea.
  • The dog is drinking more water than usual and has a change in behavior, such as increased anxiety or aggression.

These symptoms could indicate a variety of health problems, including diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, Cushing’s disease, or a urinary tract infection. A veterinarian can perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the excessive thirst and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

If left untreated, some of these conditions can lead to serious health problems and even death. Therefore, it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible if a dog is drinking an excessive amount of water.

What to do if the sound of your dog drinking water annoys you

If the sound of your dog drinking water annoys you, there are a few things you can do to minimize the noise. First, you can try moving your dog’s water bowl to a different location. If the bowl is currently in a high-traffic area, moving it to a quieter spot may help reduce the sound.

Another option is to switch to a different type of water bowl. Some bowls are designed to minimize noise, such as those made of ceramic or stainless steel. You can also try using a water fountain for your dog, as the sound of running water may be less annoying than the sound of your dog lapping up water from a bowl.

If you’re still bothered by the sound of your dog drinking water, you can try using earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. This may not be a practical solution if you need to be able to hear other sounds in your environment, but it could be helpful if you’re trying to work or relax in a quiet space.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that dogs need access to clean, fresh water at all times. While the sound of them drinking may be annoying, it’s a small price to pay for their health and well-being. If you’re still struggling with the noise, consider talking to your veterinarian or a dog behaviorist for additional advice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I be concerned if my dog is drinking a lot of water?

If your dog is drinking more water than usual, it may not necessarily be a cause for concern. However, if your dog is drinking excessively and is also experiencing other symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. In such cases, it’s important to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

What does it mean if an older dog starts drinking a lot of water?

As dogs age, they may experience changes in their metabolism and hormonal balance, which can lead to increased thirst and urination. Additionally, older dogs may develop certain health conditions such as kidney disease or diabetes, which can also cause excessive drinking. If you notice your older dog drinking more water than usual, it’s important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian.

Why is my female dog drinking so much water?

Female dogs may drink more water than usual due to hormonal changes during their heat cycle. Additionally, if your female dog is pregnant or nursing, she may require more water to support her increased metabolic needs.

Why does my dog drink so much water with diarrhea?

When a dog has diarrhea, they lose a significant amount of fluids and electrolytes, which can lead to dehydration. To compensate for this loss, dogs may drink more water than usual. It’s important to monitor your dog’s water intake and ensure they are also receiving proper hydration and nutrition.

Why is my dog drinking more water than usual in winter?

During the winter months, dogs may drink more water than usual due to the dry air and indoor heating. Additionally, if your dog is more active during the winter, they may require more water to stay hydrated.

Why is my dog suddenly drinking so much water?

Sudden changes in your dog’s water intake may be a sign of an underlying health issue such as kidney disease, diabetes, or Cushing’s disease. If you notice a sudden increase in your dog’s water intake, it’s important to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Why is my dog drinking more water and licking paws?

Excessive drinking and paw licking may be a sign of stress or anxiety in dogs. Additionally, certain health conditions such as allergies or infections may also cause these symptoms. If you notice your dog drinking more water and licking their paws, it’s important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many reasons why a dog may drink more water than usual. Some of these reasons are normal and harmless, while others can indicate a more serious underlying condition.

It’s important to monitor your dog’s water intake and behavior closely, and to consult with a veterinarian if you notice any unusual changes. By doing so, you can help ensure that your furry friend stays happy, healthy, and hydrated.

Here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Dogs need water to survive, and it’s important to provide them with fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Increased thirst can be a sign of many different conditions, including diabetes, kidney disease, and more.
  • Other factors that can affect a dog’s water intake include exercise, weather, and diet.
  • If you’re concerned about your dog’s water intake or behavior, don’t hesitate to speak with a veterinarian. They can help you identify any underlying issues and develop a plan for treatment and management.

Meet Your Experts

Avatar of author

Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.