Water is critical to health for all living beings, including dogs. Drinking too much or not enough can be a sign of or cause life-threatening problems.
How to Recognize if Your Dog is Drinking Too Much
When trying to determine if your dog is drinking too much, you must know how much is a normal amount to drink. A normal healthy dog generally drinks 20 to 40 ml of water per pound of body weight per day. This comes out to be about:
- 1 ½ cups to 2 cups for a 10-pound dog
- 3 to 4 cups of water for a 20-pound dog
- 6 to 8 cups for a 40-pound dog
- 9 to 12 cups for a 60-pound dog
- 12 to 16 cups for an 80-pound dog
For a more detailed break down of how much a dog should drink based on weight, go to: How Much Water Should a Dog Drink?
The amount of water intake also varies with several factors including if a dog eats dry food or canned food eater (canned food contains more water), activity level, sodium ingestion, warm weather exposure, medications given, fluid losses such as from vomiting or diarrhea, and any underlying disease that may cause excessive thirst.
So as mentioned above, dogs normally take in about 20 to 40 milliliters per pound of body weight per day or about 3 to 4 cups of water per day for a 20-pound dog. Anything more than that, under normal environmental conditions, is considered excessive drinking (also known by the medical term “polydipsia”).
Causes for Dogs to Drink Too Much Water
There are several medical causes for excessive drinking. The most common causes are:
Chronic renal failure commonly referred to also as chronic kidney failure and abbreviated as CRF, is a common problem in dogs. It is most common in older dogs. The digestion of food produces waste products, which are carried by the blood to the kidneys to be filtered and excreted in the form of urine. When the kidneys fail, they are no longer able to remove these waste products, and toxins build up in the blood producing clinical signs of kidney disease. Signs may include increased thirst, increased urination, lethargy, vomiting, weight loss, bad breath, and weakness. Learn more about Kidney Failure (CRF) in Dogs.
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known simply as “diabetes”, commonly abbreviated as “DM”, is a chronic condition in which a deficiency of the hormone insulin impairs the body’s ability to metabolize sugar. Diabetes mellitus leads to an inability of the tissue to utilize glucose. The disease occurs from high blood sugar levels, inadequate delivery of sugar to the tissues, and changes in the body metabolism. The most common signs are increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, and lethargy. Learn more about Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs.
Pyometra, the medical term used to describe an infected uterus, can be open (draining pus from the vagina) or closed (pus is contained in the uterus by a closed cervix). Common signs include lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, drinking excessive amounts of water, and urinating often. Learn more about Uterine infection (called pyometra).
Acute kidney failure, also known as acute renal failure and commonly abbreviated as “ARF”, is characterized by an abrupt decline in kidney function that leads to changes in the chemistry of the body including alterations in fluid and mineral balance. The changes that arise as a result of ARF affect almost every body system and is commonly caused by toxins. Common symptoms include vomiting, decreased appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and changes in water intake. Learn more about Acute Kidney Failure in Dogs.
High blood calcium, also known as hypercalcemia, refers to an abnormally high blood concentration of calcium. There are many different causes including cancer. Learn more about Hypercalcemia in Dogs.
Cushing Disease, a relatively uncommon abnormality of the endocrine system, is also known by the medical term hyperadrenocorticism. This is a disease state in which an overactive adrenal tissue produces excessive amounts of cortisone. Cortisone and related substances are essential hormones of the body, but when produced in excessive amounts these substances may cause systemic illness. Learn more about Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease or syndrome) in Dogs.
Diabetes Insipidus results from the inability of the tubules of the kidney to reabsorb water properly. It is an uncommon condition in dogs caused by impaired production of a hormone called ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) from the brain (central DI), or an impaired ability of the kidney to respond properly to the ADH (nephrogenic DI). Symptoms include extreme urinations followed by increased thirst. Learn more about Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs.