Polydipsia (Increased Thirst) In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Polydipsia in dogs means increased thirst for water, and it is 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, dogs should drink an amount of water equal to about two and a half times the amount food that they consume. If they start to drink more than that, owners should not just assume their dogs are hot. If your dog is drinking excessive amounts of water, it is important that you get them checked out by a veterinarian who can determine the underlying cause and prescribe treatment. Here is what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for polydipsia in dogs.

Symptoms Of Polydipsia In Dogs

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Polydipsia in dogs is, itself, a symptom of other medical conditions. It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as excessive urination, or it may be the only noticeable outward symptom a dog is experiencing. It may be difficult to tell if a dog is drinking excessive amounts of water because of illness, or if they are drinking more than usual for a normal reason, like after eating dry or salty food or after getting mildly overheated.

A general guideline is that dogs should drink 2.5 pounds of water for every pound of food they eat. This amount can vary quite a bit, so it is important to take notice of how much water your dog drinks normally when there are no medical issues present and establish a baseline.

Causes Of Polydipsia In Dogs

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There are several possible causes of polydipsia in dogs. Several medical conditions can cause excessive thirst, including kidney disease, liver failure, diabetes, hypercalcemia, tumors, thyroid problems, hormone disorders, or electrolyte deficiencies. Dehydration, of course, is another possible cause of polydipsia, though dehydration is also sometimes a symptom of a medical condition. Low protein diets can cause polydipsia, as can exposure to medication, such as diuretics or steroids. There are also congenital conditions, present at birth, that may cause polydipsia.

Psychogenic polydipsia is an uncommon behavioral condition that may cause dogs to drink more water, and some dogs, especially puppies, just drink because they are bored. Some breeds of dogs that love water will occasionally drink excessively for no particular reason. This can make it difficult for veterinarian’s to determine if there is an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. You should discuss your dog’s normal water drinking habits with your vet to help them diagnose the problem.

Treatments For Polydipsia In Dogs

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Treatment for polydipsia in dogs depends on the underlying cause of the condition, but access to water should never be restricted to reduce water consumption. This can cause dogs to become dehydrated or suffer from fluid imbalance, resulting in worse symptoms. In fact, free access to plenty of water is often part of the treatment plan for underlying medical conditions that cause thirst. Electrolytes may also be prescribed for dogs suffering from dehydration. Further treatment can range from outpatient care to prescription medications to emergency hospitalization for kidney or liver failure. This depends on the veterinarian’s diagnosis of the medical condition that is causing thirst. If your dog is suffering from polydipsia, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible, as the causes range from mild to life-threatening.

Has your dog ever suffered from excessive thirst? What was the cause? Let us know in the comments below!