The Causes of Excessive Thirst in Dogs


Have you found yourself refilling your dog’s water bowl more often lately? While it’s true, dogs are messy animals, so it might be difficult to determine how much water they have drunk and how much of it they have wasted. Pay close attention to your dog’s drinking habits as excessive consumption may be a sign of severe illness.

Sometimes, drinking a lot of water is perfectly normal. It’s a sign that your pet is thirsty. The amount of water a dog drinks depends on its size. However, according to Petnet, a normal dog requires about 50-60 mil of water per KG of bodyweight. For example, a 50 lb. dog would roughly require 5 cups of water every day.

Non-Medical Causes of Excessive Thirst in Dogs

If your furry friend has drastically increased their intake of water, perhaps it is time you take them to the vet. The vet might conduct a few tests to determine the cause of excessive thirst. Some causes may include:


Like humans, canines get dehydrated from playing around in the sun all day long or from exercising. This may trigger them to drink more water. Some other signs of dehydration include dry gums, lethargy, vomiting and loss of appetite. If your dog seems severely dehydrated, take him to the vet immediately.


If your dog is mildly dehydrated and is not vomiting, give him 1-2 tablespoons of water after a few minutes for a few hours. Additionally, do not allow your dog to have free access to fluids when dehydrated. It may cause your dog to drink too much, causing vomiting.

Lactating Puppies

Lactating a litter of puppies may cause your dog to up their water intake, causing them to drink 2-3 times the normal amount.


What have you been feeding your pet lately? Altering or making changes in your dog’s diet may cause them to drink more water, especially if you are feeding your pet sodium rich foods. Perhaps, the treats you have been feeding your dog are causing them to drink more water.


External Causes

External causes, such as feeding your dog an overly salty diet and hot weather, may sometimes result in excessive thirst. Additionally, excessive thirst may also be a side effect from feeding your dog medication including steroids and diuretics. Other factors such as increased physical activity may also cause your pet to drink more water than usual. Once you have ruled out all these factors, it is time you plan a visit to the vet.

Medical Causes of Excessive Thirst

Unfortunately, there are several health conditions that might cause your dog to drink more water. Additionally, dogs that are suffering from excessive thirst are likely to urinate excessively as well. The following are a few medical causes you should be concerned about:


Polydipsia is a term used to describe excessive thirst in dogs, while polyuria describes excessive urination. You may not notice your dog drinking excessive water at first until it leads to excess urination. Polydipsia does not result in any behavioral changes in dogs apart from drinking excess water.  Unfortunately, the condition is not a major cause of concern. Polydipsia can be sign of major health conditions, including kidney failure, Cushing’s disease and diabetes.



Unfortunately, dogs are prone to suffering from diabetes. The condition is caused either due to lack of insulin, an important hormone, or an inadequate response to insulin. When dogs are not able to produce insulin or are unable to utilize it properly, their blood sugar levels drastically elevate. If left untreated, diabetes can result in many other complications in dogs. Affected dogs are likely to suffer from dehydration, loss of appetite, vomiting and unexplainable weight loss.

Cushing’s Disease

If your furry friend is coming of age or is becoming a senior citizen, excessive thirst may be a sign of Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s disease is caused by hormonal imbalance and is most likely to affect older dogs.  Unfortunately, many pet owners confuse the symptoms of Cushing’s diseases with normal signs of aging. This makes the condition difficult to diagnose. According to PetMD, some major symptoms of Cushing’s disease include muscle weakness, obesity, excessive thirst and lack of energy.



Your dog is likely fighting off an illness if their body temperature has suddenly risen. As the temperature of rises, cells become depleted of water. While sweating is often seen as a sign of fever in human, dogs are likely to show signs of dehydration, causing excess thirst. It is imperative your dog remains well hydrated until the cause of the fever has been identified.

Kidney Failure

Unfortunately, kidney failure is one of the most serious threats dog owners should be concerned about if their canine friends have been drinking too much water. Kidney failure is more common in older dogs and is mostly incurable. However, the kidney eventually finds ways to compensate its decrease in functionality. Some common symptoms include constipation, increased thirst, seizures and comas and blood in urine.

Psychogenic Water Drinking

Sometimes, drinking excess water may be a result of behavioral issues. This is common in families with two or more dogs. The dog might feel neglected and thus drinks excess water as compensation. Sometimes the dog might even drink more water to prevent access to other pets. Take your dog to the vet to seek professional behavioral advice.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

After suffering from recurrent episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, it is natural for dogs to re-hydrate themselves. However, in case of vomiting, ensure your dog does not drink too much water at once or gulps down the water too quickly, as this may further upset the stomach.

Monitoring your dog’s water intake is imperative to their good health. If your dog is suffering from excessive thirst, take them to the vet immediately in case they are suffering from a life threatening disease.

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