Should you be concerned if your pet is drinking more water than usual? Well, it depends. Excessive thirst or polydypsia in dogs can be a sign of something really simple and preventable like hot weather, excessive sodium in your dog’s food, side effects of certain medications, pregnancy, newly attained motherhood or they may be warning flags of something more serious. It could signal a problem in the kidneys, the liver, or the calcium levels in the blood. Symptoms of excessive thirst include your pooch’s frequent return to the water bowl, its seeking other places for water, your having to fill the water bowl more frequently and frequent urination. Despite the fact that all dogs are different, on an average a dog drinks 3-4 cups for every 20lbs that the dog weighs. To identify if your beloved canine companion is suffering from excessive thirst, monitor its water intake. If you find this difficult, then keep a watch on how many times it goes out to pee. That is because in most cases polydypsia leads to polyuria, which literally means excreting large amounts of urine. This can interfere with the dog's ability to absorb water. The dog feels thirsty all the time because it is unable to absorb the required amount of water from the daily intake, and so the thirst remains unsatisfied. Read more to understand the causes behind excessive thirst in dogs.
Causes Of Excessive Thirst In Dogs
Health problems that could cause excessive thirst in dogs include:
Cushing’s syndrome is caused by the excessive secretion of steroid hormones by the adrenal glands. Symptoms include excessive thirst, increased and almost uncontrollable urination, increased appetite, skin and coat changes, and loss of energy. Left untreated, it can lead to adrenal gland cancer, eye and ear infections, seizures, blood clots, liver or kidney failure, and gastrointestinal tumor.
Diabetes causes excessive urination in canines, and hence leads to an abnormal thirst. The most common form of diabetes in canines is hyperglycemia. If not treated in its early stages, it might affect the liver, lead to kidney failure, and even cause death.
Failure Of The Kidney
Kidney is the major excretory organ of the body. Besides, it also controls the retention of calcium, phosphorous, and water. Failure of the kidneys leads to inefficient processing of water, and thus causes excessive thirst and urination. Causes for kidney failure could be tumour, physical trauma, deprivation, infection, or toxins (antifreeze, heavy metals, rat poison, and certain plants). In later stages, excessive intake of water might lead to chronic kidney problems.
Side Effects Of Medications
Some medications, especially steroids can also cause excessive thirst. Generally, steroids are prescribed to treat allergies, kidney problems, and extreme itching. Steroids, if used for a long period of time can also cause Cushing’s syndrome. Cortisone, a steroid hormone, can also cause side effects that can interfere with the kidney or liver function leading to increased thirst. Similarly, prednisone, given to relieve pain caused by injury or trauma or to reduce swelling or inflammation may also cause excessive thirst in dogs.
Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. An infected uterus in female dogs will cause them to have excessive thirst, vomiting, and depression. Without medical treatment, it could even lead to death.
Dementia is a problem in older dogs, and it also causes them to drink excessively.
Deprivation And Abuse
Normally, the water intake in dogs is 2-3 times more than its food intake. This means that you have to give it 4-6 cups of water for every two cups of food. And, if its food is dry it’ll need more water. Then again if the weather is hot or if your pet is stressed, or over-exercised, or very active, it would need more water. And, this in turn might lead to dehydration, and obsessive drinking problems. Excessive thirst may also be the result of abuse. Dogs, which are abused and abandoned for days together without sufficient water, may develop behavioral problems like drinking compulsion.
Diarrhea And Fever
In case your dog has been sick with diarrhea, it is likely to make up for fluids lost through dehydration by increasing its regular intake of water. Similarly, dogs can become thirstier if they have fever.
- It’s always good to call your veterinarian when your pet’s water intake changes unexpectedly.
- There are nearly a thousand causes that might lead to a condition of excessive thirst.
- Diagnosis will take time but be patient with your pet and take care of it. Most of them respond well to treatment.