Dog Drinking A Lot Of Water. What Does It Mean?

Have you noticed that your dog is drinking more water than usual?

There are various causes for increased thirst in canines, ranging from simple explanations to more serious underlying health problems.

Nursing dogs and more active dogs will drink more water than usual. Some may empty their water bowl of sheer boredom or when they feel hot. But in other cases, persistent excessive water intake and urination may be due to a severe and even life-threatening condition in pups.

Excessive thirst is called polydipsia. If your pup has been drinking more water for more than a few days, then you should speak to your vet.

Increased thirst in senior dogs is something that dog parents should address as soon as possible. Such a change in the habits may mean that the dog is suffering from dehydration, diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s syndrome, and even kidney failure.

Read on for some common reasons why canines may start drinking a lot of water and what steps you should take.

Dog Drinking A Lot Of Water – Common Causes

As mentioned above, the reasons for increased thirst in canines can vary from trivial to more serious health problems.

Pups can drink more water when they have played and exercised a lot, when they are hot, when they are nursing, or simply because they feel bored.

Dehydration can occur among dogs of all ages and should be addressed immediately. The reason is that pups can quickly dehydrate and suffer severe adverse effects such as kidney failure, loss of consciousness, and even death.

In adult and senior dogs, the increased water consumption can be due to underlying illnesses, such as Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease and failure, and others.

Here are some of the illnesses and conditions which can cause an unexplained increase in thirst in canines:

Kidney Disease Or Failure

Kidneys are vital organs with multiple functions. One of them is conserving water to keep the body hydrated. If a dog becomes dehydrated, the kidneys must work well but still save enough water to maintain the proper bodily functions. At the same time, they need to ensure that the dog urinates and the waste is removed. This is done using minimal water when the animal is dehydrated.

Dogs suffering from kidney disease or renal failure have problems with urination, which is why they need to drink more water in order for the body to remove the toxins.

Canines can suffer from acute to chronic renal failure. Acute failure is sudden and can be caused by infections or poisoning. Chronic kidney failure is most often caused by aging and kidney degeneration with age.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus in dogs is caused by an insulin deficiency.

Insulin is essential for the removal of blood sugar (glucose) from the dog’s body. Low or no insulin leads to the buildup of glucose in the blood. As a result, the kidneys will start having problems conserving the glucose while filtering the toxins out of the body. This can lead to the glucose being expelled with the urine and to increased thirst in canines.

Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome or hyperadrenocorticism is caused by hormonal imbalance due to excess cortisol released in the dog’s bloodstream. One of the most common symptoms of this condition is increased thirst and urination in pups.

This condition usually develops gradually, which is why dog parents often consider excessive thirst and urination as normal and part of the aging process of their furbaby.

Other symptoms that can help diagnose Cushing’s syndrome include an insatiable appetite, weakness of the muscles, a potbelly, hair loss, skin problems, increased panting, and more.


Dehydration in dogs is quite common and, unfortunately, can escalate pretty quickly if immediate actions aren’t taken.

Dehydration can occur for several reasons, including heatstroke, fever, persistent diarrhea and vomiting, lack of water or food intake, and various illnesses and injuries.

Small and toy dogs, as well as senior and nursing pups, are more prone to dehydrating.

One easy way to tell if your pet is dehydrated is to perform a skin turgor test. Pull some of its skin away from the body, and if it returns to its normal position slowly, it can be a telltale sign that your dog needs help. If you suspect your furbaby is dehydrated, call your veterinarian as soon as possible!

Vomiting Or Diarrhea

If for some reason, your dog has been vomiting or experiencing persistent diarrhea, it is only natural that it would need to drink more water to compensate for the lost fluids.

Still, if the vomiting and diarrhea are persistent, you should seek veterinary advice to determine the cause and take action to resolve the problem.


This condition is caused by an infected uterus and can only occur among not spayed female pups. It is considered a life-threatening condition and requires immediate veterinary attention, including surgery, antibiotic treatment, and hydration via IV fluids.

Other Causes

Other causes of an increased thirst in dogs include liver disease, infections, fever, hyperthermia or heat stroke, hypercalcemia, hyperthyroidism, parasites, diabetes insipidus, cancer, and some medicaments such as diuretics and steroids.

How Is The Cause For Excessive Water Drinking In Dogs Diagnosed?

When you take your four-legged companion to the clinic, your vet will perform a physical examination and will most likely run lab tests. The blood panel will help the veterinarian determine the condition of all major organs of the dog and its electrolytes.

A blood count will assess the blood and white blood cells. A urinalysis will probably be performed as well.

The results of the exam and tests will help the vet pinpoint the cause of the increased thirst of your pet.

The Blood And Urinalysis Result Evaluations

Here are some of the results from the tests which can suggest an underlying health problem in your dog leading to excessive thirst:

A low urine specific gravity and elevated Creat and BUN (kidney) values can mean kidney disease.

Glucose in the urine sample and elevated glucose in the blood may suggest diabetes mellitus.

Elevated cholesterol, ALP (liver value), and an abnormal white cell count can mean the dog has Cushing’s syndrome.

Elevated albumin (liver protein), changes in the electrolyte values, and a positive skin turgor test indicate the dog may be dehydrated.

What To Expect When You Visit The Vet

Call the clinic or office ahead of time to ask whether you need any special preparations, such as keeping the dog hungry before a blood test or bringing in a urine sample.

The better prepared you are for your vet’s visit – the better and less stressful it will be for you and your pup.

Be prepared to answer the vet’s questions regarding the water intake, urinary behavior, and other symptoms. If necessary, write down some notes you can share with your veterinarian.

The veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination of your pet. Then all necessary lab and other tests will be done.

Hopefully, your vet will be able to pinpoint the diagnosis based on the results of the examinations, tests, and the history of your pup. And more importantly, they will provide you with the best treatment and outcome.

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