dog drinking a lot of water what does excessive thirst mean

Dog Drinking a Lot of Water: What Does Excessive Thirst Mean?

Is your dog drinking a lot of water? First of all, it is absolutely normal that your dog should drink plenty of water. Just like humans, dogs get thirsty too. Thirst is the body’s natural response to dehydration. It is important for our bodies to maintain the optimum amount of water in their cells needed to function properly. Now, while it is normal for your dog to take frequent water breaks in a single day, it may get to a point where you begin to be concerned. That is when you notice that your dog is drinking water excessively. In this article, we will tackle the issue of excessive thirst in dogs. We will find out if it is not normal or otherwise, and what to do (or what not to do) about it. So, if you are concerned that your dog drinks a lot of water, you have come to the right place for help. Read on.

Dog drinking water

Excessive Drinking In Dogs: How Much Is Too Much?

Why is my dog drinking so much water? This question is more common than you may think. Every dog owner knows how much water their fur buddies drink averagely in a day. But there may be times when your dog keeps emptying its water bowl several times a day. This will leave you concerned. But, there is one thing we should first get out of the way. First of all, your dog could be drinking more water lately only because you may not have been giving it enough water all this while. This means that what you may consider an excessive amount could only be the right amount of water your dog should be drinking. Thus, in order to know if your dog is drinking an excessive amount of water, we first have to find out how much is too much. That is, what are the signs that your dog is drinking too much water? So, how much water is too much? A general rule of thumb is that a healthy dog should drink from twenty milliliters to about seventy milliliters of water in a day. Thus, it is important to track your dog’s water habit often to notice when there is a significant change.

Excessive Thirst: Signs And Symptoms

Excessive thirst in dogs is an actual thing. It is a condition referred to as polydipsia. And, as mentioned earlier, it is actually one of the most common health conditions that dogs face. Polydipsia is basically an excessive urge in your dog or pet to drink water. There are a few symptoms that characterize this condition. These are:

  • Your dog is suddenly drinking out of the toilet bowl.
  • Having to refill your dog’s drinking bowl a countless number of times in a day.
  • Your dog begins to urinate several times a day.
  • Regurgitating: In some cases, a dog can drink so much water at a go, that it will vomit it all out almost immediately.

It is important to know that before you can tell for sure that there is an increase in the number of times your dog drinks water in a day, you should already know just how much water is used to drink and how often it used to urinate.

Polydipsia: Causes

Polydipsia in dogs is caused by several factors listed here below:

  • Warm weather: When the weather is very warm, your dog’s body loses a lot of fluid and may easily become dehydrated. Thirst becomes a natural response to the body’s dehydration.
  • Diarrhea: If your dog’s stomach has been turned inside out, probably as a result of something it ate, it will lose a lot of water from its body and become dehydrated quickly. It will feel thirsty excessively and try to get in as much water as it can.
  • Loss of blood: blood loss can also be another factor. Your dog could lose blood from a medical condition or an injury. When this happens, excessive thirst will be its body’s attempt to restore the normal volume of blood through rehydration.
  • Excessive panting: Believe it or not, dogs actually lose water in their bodies when they pant excessively. This could be as a result of extremely warm weather or another medical condition.
  • Kidney-related issues: Excessive drinking of water can also be caused by ailments in your dog’s kidney. It could be a result of kidney insufficiency.
  • Other medical conditions: There are several other medical issues that can cause your dog to feel thirsty excessively. These include diabetes, diseases that affect the adrenal hormone, certain medications (for example, diuretics and corticosteroids), diseases of the liver, eating toxic foods, Cushing’s disease, as well as other infections.
  • A dry food diet: It is very important to ensure that your dog’s diet contains enough moisture in it, as this will help to rehydrate your dog’s body. Dry food diets and foods that carry too much sodium will cause your dog to drink a lot more water than it normally will.
  • Psychogenic polydipsia: Psychogenic polydipsia is a rather uncommon cause for a dog drinking too much water. This condition is mostly behavioral, and it manifests in an inexplicable desire to drink a lot of water. Most animal specialists have attributed this condition to some sort of psychological deformity. There is also a case of primary polydipsia where dogs may drink excessive amounts of water only because they want to. This is not attributed to any medical or psychological condition.

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Beagle dog drinking

Managing Excessive Thirst

If some of the issues and conditions mentioned above tick your boxes, then the next thing you need to know is how to manage excessive thirst in your dog. The first and most important thing to do is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will conduct a proper diagnosis of your dog to confirm the condition and cause. This is very important because a lot of the medical conditions that are associated with excessive thirst are very serious and require immediate attention.

After your vet has diagnosed the problem, the solution will be dependent on the cause of the excessive thirst is. The point to note here is that excessive thirst in dogs and pets, in general, is not an illness in itself. It is only a symptom of an underlying cause. And, we have outlined quite a number of them earlier in this article. It is important to follow your vet’s prescriptions and treatment routine religiously. Some of the treatments may aim at reducing the amount of water your dog takes. But most of the time, the treatment will focus on solving the underlying problem. The good news here is that a lot of the underlying causes of excessive thirst in dogs can be regulated or treated entirely. The chances are that your dog will return to a healthy and normal life sooner than you might hope.

Playing Your Part

As the dog owner, it is very important to play your part in ensuring that you monitor your dog’s drinking habit as well as feeding it with the right kind of diet that contains enough moisture. The first thing you need to do is to monitor your dog’s intake of water. In order to do this, you must know how much water your dog’s water bottle holds. You can jot the figure down for easy recollection. Next, take note of how many times you refill your dog’s water bowl in a day and in a week. A rule of thumb here is to fill your dog’s water bowl twice a day at the same intervals. This will make it easier to know how much your dog is drinking, and when there is a change. It will also help equip you with enough information to give your vet if it is requested. Another advantage of this is that it will help you to regulate your dog’s drinking habits. Here is what you should do:

  • Refill your dog’s water bowl at the same time(s) every day
  • Always fill the bowl to the same level each time
  • Make sure to document how much you fill the bowl with and how much is left when refilling or replacing it with fresh water.
  • Anytime you notice a significant change in your dog’s drinking habit over a number of days, do not hesitate to call your doctor.

So, is excessive drinking in dogs possible? Absolutely! Although water is very important to your dog’s health, when it begins to drink way too much of it in a single day, there is something wrong. Remember that polydipsia is not an illness by itself. It is a condition that is caused by an underlying problem. There are several factors that cause polydipsia, and most of them are treatable. There are other factors that are a result of environmental changes. Always monitor and document your dog’s drinking habit to be able to detect when something is off.


  1. How to Know if Your Dog is Thirsty, HowStuffWorks
  2. Why Your Dog Is Always Thirsty, WebMD
  3. Why Does My Dog… Drink So Much?, Vetstreet
  4. My Dog is Drinking a Lot of Water (Polydipsia), Pet Health Network

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Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.