Before you can determine whether your dog is drinking an excessive amount of water, you need to know how much water he's supposed to have each day. Most dogs who aren't puppies, working or lactating -- those dogs need more water -- need about an ounce of fluid for each pound they weigh. So a 25-pound dog needs about 3 cups of water a day. Notice whether your dog is constantly drinking more than he needs; you might need to take him to the veterinarian.
Excessively thirsty dogs might have a condition or disease. Diabetes, liver disease, cancer, Cushing's disease, diarrhea, kidney disease and fever could cause your dog to be excessively thirsty. Bring your dog to the vet for a diagnosis. If your dog is already being treated for a condition or a disease, the medicine he's taking might be causing the thirst. Maybe your dog needs to be on a lower dosage. Discuss this with your vet. Common medicines that cause thirst are anti-inflammatory drugs, heart failure drugs and seizure medications.
Some types of kibble cause excessive thirst. High-sodium food is a typical culprit. Sodium usually appears as "sodium selenite" on dog food labels. Most dog foods contain it, and most dogs are fine eating kibble that contains it. Dogs with kidney, heart or liver disease, however, might need to eat a special diet. If that's the case with your dog, look for foods that are low-sodium or that contain selenium yeast instead of sodium selenite. Also, avoid giving your dog salty people food, such as potato chips and salty meats. Your dog might have salt poisoning if he vomits, has diarrhea, tremors and a fever.
Dogs can become dehydrated just as humans can from playing and running around on a hot summer day. Some illnesses can also cause a dog to become dehydrated. Signs of dehydration are thirst, a dry tongue and gums, and thick and ropy saliva. Don't give a dehydrated dog free access to water because he might drink too much too fast and vomit, which could worsen the situation. Instead, give a small dog a teaspoon of water ever 10 minutes for several hours. Give a large dog 1 to 2 tablespoons of water every 10 minutes for several hours. If the dehydration is severe and your dog is vomiting, take him to the vet.
Importance of Water
Water is the most important and probably the most taken for granted nutrient dogs need, says Mike Sagman, a dental surgeon with a passion for dog nutrition, on his website Dog Food Advisor. Provide water for your dog at all times in a clean, large water bowl. If you don't change the water and clean the bowl daily, you might be giving your dog germy, polluted water that could cause intestinal disease.
By Laura Agadoni
WebMD: Why Your Dog Is Always Thirsty
Dog Food Advisor: Sodium Selenite in Dog Food -- Vital Nutrient or Dangerous Toxin?
ASPCA: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
Dog Food Advisor: Water… The Most Neglected of All Canine Nutrients
About the Author
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.