Have you got a thirsty pup? Dogs often drink a lot of water, especially on hot days, or if they’re fed dry food with little moisture. Always remember water is a basic need that dogs should be given access to all the time. Rest assured though drinking a lot of water isn’t usually a cause for concern. I mean we’re always being told to drink more water aren’t we?

If you think your dog is drinking too much water, and you’re wondering if you should be worried, then we’ll do our best to explain the facts here. We’ll go through possible answers to ‘‘why is my dog drinking so much water?’, when a thirsty dog might need to see the vet, how you can tell if your dog is drinking too much water, and what your Vet might do in order to find out. 

If you’re looking for help with training a new puppy then you’re in the perfect place. Zigzag has a personalised training programme based on your puppy’s breed and how old they are. We deliver the right lessons at the right time to cover all of your puppy’s socialisation and developmental milestones plus we have a team of professional dog trainers on hand to help you through, whenever you need them, 7 days a week.

puppy drinking from bottle
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Why is my dog drinking so much water?

So, back to your dog’s drinking problem. Your dog might be drinking lots of water because they’re hot and thirsty, because they find it fun, because they have a health condition, or alternatively just because we all need to drink a certain amount of water to survive!

Your dog needs to drink water due to their diet

Dry food like kibble is…let’s face it dry, same goes for dehydrated food. If your dog is fed these diets they will need to drink more water than a dog fed a wet food or raw diet. They have a low moisture content so your dog will need to drink more water to stay hydrated.

On hot days your dog will drink a lot of water

Dogs get thirsty just like we do, so it makes sense that on hot days they’re going to want to drink more water.

Very active dogs will drink more water

If your dog has been running around, or exercising, then they’ll drink more, they’re thirsty!

Your dog might enjoy the feeling of water

Some puppies play around or dig in their water bowl as well as drink a lot of the water, it’s just a bit of a game some dogs enjoy doing, Labrador owners will definitely relate! Playing in the water bowl is a way of relieving boredom, but it can get messy!

Due to restricted access to water

Dogs should always have access to fresh drinking water. If you restrict water, it can make your dog drink more and gulp it down when they do get access to it.

Medication can cause your dog to be more thirsty

Certain medications will cause excessive thirst, so if your dog is on medication such as steroids and diuretics, then that could be a reason that they’re drinking so much water.

Your dog might have a health problem

Illnesses with excessive thirst as a symptom include Diabetes, Cushing’s, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and Kidney disease.

dog drinking from bowl
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When is it time to see a vet for excessive thirst in dogs?

Although drinking a certain amount of water is perfectly healthy, here are some signs to watch out for, as they can indicate something more worrying. We recommend always contacting your vet if you’re at all worried. Your dog’s health is important!

  1. If the excessive thirst comes on suddenly, and you can’t see a reason for it.
  2.  If your dog is peeing a lot, and perhaps licking or scratching at their behind.
  3. If your dog is struggling to pee.
  4. If you see their urine change colour or have blood in it
  5. If your dog is sick or has diarrhoea

If you see other signs that your puppy is unwell, like they are panting or breathing fast, then you should get in contact with your vet.

How to tell if your dog is drinking water excessively?

If you want to know if your dog is drinking too much, there are some ways to tell.

A dog usually drinks between 50 and 100 ml per kg of body weight per 24 hour period . This roughly translates to a normally active 12kg Cockapoo drinking anything from around 600ml – 1.2 litres per day.

This figure will be adjusted depending on your pup’s activity level, if it’s a moderate temperature where you live, and whether they eat wet or dry dog food. Dogs fed a dry diet will drink more water. A raw/BARF, home cooked or wet food diet will usually mean they drink less due to the larger moisture content in the food.

You can find out if your dog is drinking too much water by:

  • Measuring how much you give them. Fill their water bowl from a measuring jug, so you know how much water they’re drinking.
  • Write down the amount of water you put in the bowl and when you refill it.
  • You can do this without a jug by measuring how much water their bowl holds and filling it up to that point each time

How will a vet help a dog that’s drinking too much water?

If you’ve followed the tips above to tell if your dog is drinking too much water and have decided to take them to the Vet, then they will usually run diagnostic tests, which may include the following:

  • Ask you to log how much your dog is drinking in 24 hours if you haven’t already.
  • Take your dog’s temperature to see if there is any infection or fever
  • Run a urine analysis test
  • Take blood samples for a blood count, and blood chemistry test
  • Take X rays

Vet visits can be stressful, so make sure your puppy’s first visit to the vet goes smoothly. Take a look at our article on puppy vet visits to learn how to make it that little bit less stressful for them.

If you’re wondering why your dog is drinking so much water, we hope we’ve given you some things to think about. Dogs do often drink a lot, but sudden excessive thirst should always be something that’s tracked and that you speak to your Vet about, especially if there are other signs of illness.

dog drinking from bottle
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Puppies often drink a lot, but did you wonder why they might be peeing so much? I mean what goes in must come out, right?  Read our guide on ‘why is my puppy peeing so much?’ to learn more. If you’re struggling with toilet training, we’ll take you through how to train your puppy step-by-step inside the Zigzag app.

We don’t just cover toilet training, of course. We also have a full puppy training programme personalised to your pup’s breed and developmental stage. Oh, and you’re not doing it alone, nope, don’t worry! We have a team of puppy trainers on hand to talk you through any of your puppy woes. They’re available 7 days a week!