What Causes Excessive Thirst in Older Dogs?

Normally, a healthy and growing dog should consume about one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight but as a dog grows older its water intake reduces due to shrinking. If your older dog drinks more water than usual then there are a few things you may need to consider. In some cases, you must visit the veterinarian.

Here are some of the most common reasons your old dog drinks lots of water.

Some medications cause the dog to drink a lot more than usual.

Corticosteroids used to treat skin conditions and arthritis have a marked effect when given in high doses at the commencement of treatment. Many other medications cause your dog to increase their water intake. Medications for heart failure, seizures and allergies all have this same common side effect. A veterinarian will always advise that extra water is available during the course of treatment.

Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include excessive hunger and thirst.

Cushing’s syndrome in dogs occurs as a result of exposure to excessive cortisol, its symptoms include excessive hunger and thirst, increased urination, fatigue, skin infections, loss of hair, to name but a few. It may also be due to the over-secretion of hormonal cortisols from the adrenal glands into the dog’s body.

Dehydration could affect dogs of all ages and mostly occur in senior dogs.

Dehydration may occur naturally due to the elimination of waste, exercise, evaporation of saliva, or hot summer months. Every time your dog loses fluid and doesn’t replenish it, your dog is one step closer to dehydration. Diarrhea in dogs is no exception—it will affect the hydration status and healthy electrolyte levels.

An early symptom of kidney failure is excessive water intake.

Kidney failure in dogs is caused by impairment in the function of the kidney cells which could be detected by the presence of protein in the urine. One of the most common and early symptoms of kidney failure is increased water intake but it can be controlled as long as treatment and a change in diet occurs.

Diabetes will make your dog thirsty.

Diabetes is caused by insufficient insulin in the body which increases blood sugar levels. The dogs’ kidneys are forced to work harder to filter and absorb the excess glucose. When the kidneys can’t keep up, the excess glucose is excreted into dog urine, dragging along fluids from the tissues, which makes your dog dehydrated. This will leave your dog feeling thirsty.

In constipation, the dog requires more water to be able to pass out waste.

Your senior dog is more likely to experience constipation due to old age. Constipation may be accompanied by nausea which will greatly reduce appetite for food and increase water intake in dogs. If your dog is constipated it is good that it drinks enough water to be able to easily pass out waste. If the problem persists please visit your veterinarian.

If your senior dog has an infection, it is more likely to drink more water.

Drinking plenty of fluids is one of the most important things your dog can do when it has a fever. Because fever increases the amount of water the dog body loses, dehydration might occur if water intake is not increased to compensate.

Dry and salty foods cause the brain to give a thirst response.

Unlike wet dog foods, dry foods contain less moisture in them which is unhealthy for your dogs especially senior ones. If your dog ingests more dry food it is more likely to increase water intake due to excessive absorption of water from the bowels. Salty foods also trigger hypernatremia in the body and cause the brain to give a thirst response.

In diarrhea, drinking plenty of water is the top priority.

Diarrhea may be a result of food poisoning which is accompanied by nausea, resulting in high water intake to substitute for fluid loss. It can also be caused by a diet change, underlying health conditions, or the presence of worms. It is important to know the cause of diarrhea so the dog can be treated accordingly, but in the meantime encourage your dog to drink more water.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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