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Excessive drinking in dogs, medically known as Polydipsia is an increased thirst for water, and it’s almost always a symptom of an underlying disease or medical condition. If dogs are drinking more water than usual, emptying their water bowls quickly, or searching for water in places they don’t normally drink from, such as the toilet, they are likely suffering from polydipsia.

Generally, water intake will vary a little with diet. If dogs are fed wet food, they may drink less. Dogs that are fed dry food or salty treats must make up water intake and seem to drink more than expected. However, this water intake is still physiologically normal.

If your dog is drinking excessively (polydipsia) it is possibly because he is losing excess amounts of water. While a number of diseases result in excess water intake and urine output, the most common of these diseases include kidney failure, diabetes mellitus and Cushing’s disease.

An uncommon cause of dogs drinking more is called psychogenic polydipsia. It is a behavioral condition with a physical manifestation of excess thirst. Primary polydipsia is used to describe excessive water drinking that is not due to illness or psychosis. Bored or stressed puppies or water loving breeds may tank up on water occasionally or consistently.

If you suspect you pet is drinking more than normal an appointment should be made with your veterinarian. Discuss possible causes. Typically blood and urine tests are initially performed in addition to a physical exam. This to determine if there is a serious problem or if more testing is indicated.

Causes of Excessive Drinking in Dogs

The main causes of polydipsia include;

  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Renal Failure
  • Hormone Disorders
  • Tumors

Psychogenic Polydipsia

It is believed this condition may be caused by your dog being bored, stressed, or simply because he enjoys drinking water. Sometimes it is believed to be a way for your pet to attempt to get your attention. Your dog drinking a lot means he will need to go out a lot more frequently. You having to take him out for a potty break means you give him attention every time he goes out. This can be especially common in dogs who are young but can also be diagnosed in any dog of any age.


Your veterinarian will examine your dog to determine the true levels of thirst and urination by measuring water intake and urination output.

A baseline of normal fluid levels (hydration) and normal urination will be established for comparison. An evaluation will be performed to ensure that the increased thirst and urination are not signs of a more serious medical condition.

Standard tests will include a complete blood count (CBC), a urinalysis, and X-ray imaging. This is to rule out or confirm any issues with the kidney (renal) system, the adrenal system, and the reproductive systems.

Any other symptoms accompanying the increased levels of thirst or urination, even when appearing unrelated, will be taken into consideration during the final diagnosis.

Treament of Excessive Drinking in Dogs

Treatment for polydipsia in dogs depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Dogs should never have their access to water restricted to reduce water consumption. This can cause dogs to become dehydrated or suffer from fluid imbalance, resulting in worse symptoms.

Treatment can range from outpatient care to prescription medications to emergency hospitalization for kidney or liver failure. This depends on the vet’s diagnosis of the medical condition that’s causing thirst.

If your dog is suffering from polydipsia, you should consult your vet as soon as possible. Causes range from mild to life-threatening.


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