12 Potential Causes of Excessive Thirst in Dogs

12 Potential Causes of Excessive Thirst in Dogs

Your dog should drink the appropriate amount of water based on their specific needs. If their organs or systems aren’t working properly, though, they may feel forced to drink more. If your dog is visiting the water dish more frequently than usual, or if you’re replenishing the bowl more frequently than usual, this could suggest a medical condition. It’s critical to understand the causes of excessive thirst in dogs so that you can recognize when it’s a problem.

Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes in dogs is a fairly common condition that affects about one out of every 300 dogs. The condition is characterized by an inability to regulate the quantity of sugar in the blood, often known as glucose.

Because of the elevated sugar levels, dogs produce more urine, leading to an increase in thirst to compensate for the loss. Increased urine volume, increased hunger, and weight loss are also indications of diabetes. Diabetic dogs can live full and happy lives with proper management, which often includes insulin injections and dietary changes.

Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

soaked wet long coated dog opens mouth at water streams on green grass
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Your dog may drink more water if he or she has a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are caused by bacteria and affect roughly 14% of dogs at some time in their lives. Frequent urination, straining to urinate, bloody urine, urinating in the home, and excessive genital licking are all signs of a UTI, in addition to extreme thirst.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease, also known as renal disease, is frequently linked to excessive water consumption. Dogs with failing or damaged kidneys can’t concentrate their pee, therefore they drink a lot of water and urinate a lot of dilute urine.

Many dogs with kidney failure have a decreased appetite, vomit, and lose weight. The prognosis and treatment options for kidney illness differ depending on the cause of the disease — whether chronic damage or acute injury from a toxin — and the disease’s course.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is a condition in which the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. Excessive drinking and urination are common Cushing’s disease symptoms. You may also notice that your dog is eating more than usual and has a “potbellied” appearance. Cushing’s disease is treated with long-term oral medicine.


When a dog’s blood calcium level is too high, it is known as hypercalcemia. Various disorders, such as abnormal parathyroid gland function, kidney disease, Cushing’s disease, bone disease, and cancer, can cause this. Excessive drinking and urinating, as well as a lack of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, or general weakness, are all symptoms that a dog is hypercalcemic.


Hypoproteinemia is a condition in which a dog’s blood protein levels are abnormally low. Heart disease, lymphatic problems, parasitic infections, cancer, ulcers, and gastrointestinal illness are all common causes of protein loss. Hypoproteinemia in dogs causes them to drink a lot of water. Treatment is determined on the severity of the underlying ailment.

Liver Disease

Increased thirst is one of the signs of liver disease. This is linked to a problem with the liver’s function, which includes waste disposal from the body. Lethargy, poor appetite, weight loss, enlarged abdomen, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice are all common side effects. In certain circumstances, liver disease can be treated, however dogs with severe liver disease may not have a favorable outlook.


Female dogs who have not been spayed are at danger of acquiring a pyometra, a uterine infection brought on by hormonal changes. Significant illnesses, such as pyometra, can cause dogs to consume a lot of water. The surgical removal of the infected uterus is the chosen therapeutic method.


water droplet in shallow photo
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Leptospirosis is another bacterial condition that can induce excessive thirst. This infectious disease is contracted by dogs coming into touch with the urine of an affected animal, usually wildlife or another dog. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means you could contract it from your dog if they have it. Although leptospirosis can be treated, it can cause long-term organ damage.


Certain medications might cause dogs to become excessively thirsty. Prednisone, diuretics like furosemide, and phenobarbital, a seizure drug, have all been known to cause dogs to drink excessive amounts of water. Although this may be a typical side effect of some medications, it’s always a good idea to notify your veterinarian about any changes that coincide with new meds.


Your dog will consume more water than usual if they are dehydrated. Dehydration can be caused by overexertion or by fluid loss through panting in warmer conditions. It’s not unusual to see your dog drinking more water if they’ve been playing more enthusiastically than normal or if the temperature has risen.

Dehydration in dogs can occur as a result of fluid loss caused by vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever. It’s critical to seek medical help if your dog is drinking more to compensate for this type of moisture loss.

Psychogenic Polydipsia

Healthy dogs may drink more water than usual for no apparent reason. They may do it out of boredom, tension, or a desire to change their behavior. Your veterinarian can do diagnostic tests to rule out any medical explanations for your excessive thirst, and then discuss treatment options for psychogenic polydipsia. They may suggest mental stimulation such as toys or games, more activity if your dog is mostly sedentary, anti-anxiety medications, or other therapies if your dog is mostly sedentary.

Daily Water Requirements for Dogs

water drop
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What is the recommended amount of water for a dog? You may calculate the daily amount by using the following formula: Every day, your dog should drink around 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight. A 20-pound dog should drink approximately 20 ounces (2.5 cups) of water per day.

Although this number might help you determine what is appropriate for your dog, it is critical to ensure that your dog has constant access to fresh water. Active dogs, dogs in hot regions, nursing mothers, and pups may require more water than suggested by this guideline.

When to Be Concerned

When a dog drinks much more water than their estimated daily requirements, it is considered “excessive.” If your dog consumes the entire bowl of water each time you replace it, or if you have to refresh their supply multiple times per day, you should be concerned. Try to keep track of how much water you give your dog on a daily basis and compare it to the guideline above.

Limiting your dog’s access to water, even if they drink a lot of it, can lead to dehydration or severe electrolyte imbalances. Instead, describe the behavior to your veterinarian and bring your dog in for an examination.

Be Proactive in Your Approach

Any significant changes in water consumption, whether an increase or reduction, could suggest internal physical changes. Because dogs can’t tell you what’s wrong, you’ll have to rely on diagnostic equipment to figure out what’s wrong. It’s always preferable to discover problems early. To assist prevent the progression of serious illnesses, be proactive in spotting unusual signals and seeking treatment from a veterinarian when necessary.


Diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats

Urinary Tract Infections

Chronic kidney disease

Cushing’s Syndrome

The parathyroid glands and disorders of calcium metabolism: hypercalcemia in dogs and cats

Protein-losing enteropathies in dogs

Published by Amber Drake

Dr. Drake is an award-winning author and well-known cancer specialist in her field. She is best known for her extensive research on canine cancer prevention and nutrition, her dedication to help dogs live a long, happy life, and for teaching veterinary medicine. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, in addition to being a respected figure in the dog world, she has earned the respect of thousands of dog lovers worldwide.

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