Excessive Water Consumption in Dogs

Written by kendra dahlstrom
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Excessive Water Consumption in Dogs
Excessive water consumption in dogs often indicates a health problem. (dog image by Michal Tudek from Fotolia.com)

Polydipsia refers to excessive water consumption. This symptom often occurs in dogs experiencing serious health conditions. Polydipsia usually turns into polyuria. Polyuria refers to excreting large amounts of urine. Luckily, excessive water consumption typically represents an early sign of the disease, according to the website Pet Place. In many cases dogs can be treated and sent home on their way back to normal.


Dogs should not drink more than 44.4ml. of water, per pound per day, according to Justine Annillo, DVM at Hometown Annapolis' Ask a Vet website. This means a 11.3kg. dog should not drink more than about 1,419ml. or 6 cups of water per day. You can check how much your dog drinks by offering over the maximum amount in the morning. Then, the next morning see how much water remains in the bowl and subtract that from the starting amount.

Disease Causes

Several diseases cause dogs to increase their water intake. The most common diseases include kidney failure, diabetes and Cushing's disease, according to the Dog Channel. Dogs with diabetes cannot properly regulate their blood sugar. Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys no longer properly concentrate water. Finally, Cushing's disease occurs when the adrenal gland makes an excess of cortisol.


Some dogs have no underlying condition when they begin drinking water excessively. Some simply like to drink water. The excess water causes medullary washout that makes the dogs want to drink even more water, according to the Dog Channel. Fortunately, this condition clears itself over time, but dog owners should always see a veterinarian to rule out other health concerns.


When a dog owner suspects his dog drinks too much water, the veterinarian takes a urine sample for a urine specific gravity test to determine its concentration. Pure water has a specific gravity of 1.000. Dogs drinking excessive amounts of water have a specific gravity of less than 1.035, states the website Pet Place.


Dogs drinking too much water due to diabetes often receive insulin injections and orders to change their diet. Veterinarians provide medication for dogs experiencing Cushing's disease. Kidney failure, however, means the organ is shutting down and often leads to death; however, dietary restrictions and fluid therapy can help in the short-term.

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