Dog’s Excessive Drinking Is Concern

Whenever a dog starts drinking excessively, a vet visit is in order.


Q. We have a 4-year-old German Shepherd who has started drinking water in excess lately. He will drink and drink, then drink more. Sometimes he drinks so fast that he throws up. Should we be worried?

A. Excessive water intake is always a cause for concern in dogs. The big question is: Is your dog sick, or is this a behavioral issue? Some dogs just start drinking water because they enjoy it, which can lead to a kidney condition known as medullary washout, which causes them to keep drinking lots of water. Over time, their water intake will normalize.
The main causes of increased water intake that are tied to underlying disease are diabetes, kidney failure, and Cushing’s disease. It is relatively easy to rule out each of these with some simple blood and urine tests.
Diabetes is the easiest to diagnose: A urine test strip will show high levels of glucose in the urine. When diabetes was first discovered in humans, medical students would taste urine to see if it had a sweet taste. A very basic test, but not currently recommended. Diabetes is also accompanied by weight loss, and high glucose levels in the bloodstream. The glucose tends to pull additional water into the bloodstream, and out through the kidneys, leading to increased water intake to replace losses.
Renal failure occurs when the kidneys lose their water concentrating ability, and excess water is lost through the urine, leading to increased water intake. Often, there is exposure to some kind of toxin (such as antifreeze) which leads to the kidney damage. Sometimes it occurs for no apparent reason, but usually in older dogs.
Cushing’s disease is a hormonal disease that occurs when the adrenal gland produces too much cortisol. This, in turn, leads to excessive loss of water into the urine and increased water intake.
You should arrange to get a physical exam and at least a few basic screening tests for your German Shepherd to rule out medical causes. Hopefully, he is just enjoying drinking water.


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Julia   Mundelein, Illinois

4/13/2015 7:47:32 PM

My dog is 13 and has an ear infection smells bad, lumps on his stomach and one protruding from behind, also drinking lots more water than usual. I think it is time to let him rest but my daughter, his best friend 21 is out of town until next month. is it awful if my husband does not wait to have Jackie my daughter next to him for this last visit to the vet?

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Becca   Flemington, International

4/7/2015 6:23:25 PM

My dog Tater is a 8 year old chesapeak bay retriever he drinks lots and lots of water is that normal?

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Jeannie   Kenefic, Oklahoma

2/15/2015 6:13:42 AM

My dog has started drinking alot of water lately. She was my Dad's dog and he died on Jan, 2010. She is all I have left of Daddy. He loved her and I do to. She drinks a 5 gallon bucket in two days. The vet said it may be kidneys. He said she will have to be tested. I hope that she will be okay.

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Robin   Quitman, Mississippi

1/10/2015 11:59:34 AM

I have a 4 year old female Chi-Weenie. Just recently she has started drinking a LOT of water. Early last year I had problems with our local vet CONSTANTLY telling me she had kidney/bladder infections like every other month and would just give me bactrim and pain med and send me home and that went on for a while and I took her in one morning and asked the attendant to have the vet ex-ray her when she got there because we thought she had back problems (I had discussed this before and NO attention given to the matter). 4 hours later I get a call and they said Lucy was ready and it was a KIDNEY infection! I asked if they had ex-rayed her, NO! I asked why,"Ashely (the vet) said she didn't need to,she had a kidney infection,come get her she's ready"! I told them that I would be there in 3 minutes and she had better had her ex-ray or being ex-rayed when I get there! I get there and the vet is standing in one of the rooms behind the desk and she sees me and slams the door! The attendant tells me to "SIT down and I'll get Lucy". She brings me Lucy and I ask to speak to Ashley, "SHE IS VERY BUSY, and said to tell you Lucy has a KIDNEY infection and to keep her away from scraps"!!!! I had a problem with my sister giving her daughter's dogs scraps and Lucy would sneak down and eat some and get sick but NOT that often only once or twice and my sister took control of the situation for me. That was the last time I took Lucy there and started taking her to another vet 25 miles away and she did NOT have a kidney infection she has back problems!!!! In her neck area and her lower back and possible pancertitis! I will NEVER take her back to my local vet again. When I pick her up she just kinda moans like a wheezing moan. She's done that for at least a year or so. and she moans when she moves lying on her pillow or in bed at night.

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