Excessive Drinking: What does it Mean?

Excessive Drinking: What does it Mean?

A common sign of an aging animal is increased water consumption. However, what does it mean when a dog suddenly begins to drink excessively? 
Dog care & health

In this installment on obesity and diabetes, the implications of a dog drinking excessively will be discussed.  

Possible Health Problems
Excessive water consumption in dogs is called polydipsia. Three common diseases that cause polydipsia in dogs include diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and kidney failure. Hypercalcemia, a disease characterized by high blood calcium, and pyometra, a uterine infection in unsprayed female dogs, may also be to blame.  Rarely, dogs can develop psychogenic polydipsia, which occurs when a dog is bored or simply loves water.  

How Much Water is Too Much?
Most dogs should drink 20 – 70 mL of water per kilogram of body weight per day. This range is dependent on climate, activity level, and overall health. When a dog consistently drinks more than the recommended amount, he or she is likely drinking too much water. As a rule of thumb, any time a dog’s water consumption changes drastically, the animal should be examined by a veterinarian.  

Is Too Much Water Bad for Dogs?
Dogs are unable to eliminate excess water from their bodies the same way as humans, since they lack sweat glands. For many dogs, excessive water consumption will simply lead to increased urination, as this is the quickest way to eliminate water from a dog’s body.  

In some instances, dogs can develop water intoxication. Here, dogs drink excessive amounts of water, which changes the composition of necessary ions such as sodium in their cells. For many dogs, this condition can be fatal. It should be noted that dogs rarely develop this condition from simply drinking water. Commonly, water intoxication occurs when dogs swallow too much water while swimming, or when drinking pressurized water from a hose.  

For some dog breeds, too much water results in bloat, which can be fatal. This disorder is most common for breeds that have deep, barreled chests and small waists.  

However, an owner should never restrict a dog’s access to water. Exceptions to this rule apply, such as 30 minutes immediately following exercise for dogs that are prone to bloat, such as German Shepherds or Great Danes.  

Ultimately, if your dog is showing any sudden and drastic changes in behavior, especially water consumption, it is important to schedule a visit with a veterinarian.  

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Please note: all dogs should be treated as individuals. The Actijoy blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only.  In case of emergency, always seek qualified healthcare from a local veterinarian or emergency facility.  Actijoy blogs are not designed to treat, diagnose, or prescribe medication for your pet.  

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