Restricting Water for Dogs on Prednisone?

While on prednisone, it is important to monitor your dog’s water intake as the medication can cause increased thirst and urination. However, it is not recommended to limit your dog’s water intake as this can lead to dehydration and other health complications.

restricting water for dog on prednisone

Prednisone works by reducing inflammation and suppressing the immune system. One of the common side effects of this medication is increased thirst and urination. This is because the drug can cause the kidneys to retain more water and sodium, which in turn leads to increased urine production. This can cause a dog to drink more water than usual, which can lead to an increase in the amount of urine produced.

If your dog is urinating excessively while on prednisone, it is important to consult with your veterinarian. They may adjust the dosage or recommend other medications to help manage this side effect.

Additionally, if your dog is experiencing other side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite, it is important to consult with your veterinarian immediately as these may be signs of an overdose or an allergic reaction to the medication.

In conclusion, it is not recommended to limit your dog’s water intake while on prednisone. Instead, it is important to monitor your dog’s water intake and urination, and consult with your veterinarian if there are any concerns.

What are the worst side effects of prednisone in dogs?

Here are the worst side effects of prednisone in dogs that have been reported in studies and by veterinarians:

  • Iatrogenic Cushing’s disease: Long-term use of prednisone can lead to the development of Cushing’s disease, which is characterized by muscle wasting, a pot-bellied appearance, and muscle weakness.
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers: Prednisone can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Immunosuppression: Prednisone suppresses the immune system, making dogs more susceptible to infections.
  • Diabetes mellitus: Long-term use of prednisone can lead to the development of diabetes mellitus, which is characterized by high blood sugar levels and frequent urination.
  • Behavioral changes: Prednisone can cause changes in a dog’s behavior, such as increased aggression, restlessness, and depression.
  • Osteoporosis: Prolonged use of prednisone can cause bone loss and lead to osteoporosis, which can increase the risk of fractures.
  • Cardiac disease: Prednisone can cause hypertension and heart failure, which can be life-threatening in some dogs.
  • Renal failure: Prednisone can cause damage to the kidneys, leading to renal failure.

It’s important to note that not all dogs will experience these side effects and the severity of side effects can vary depending on the individual dog and the duration of treatment. It’s crucial to closely monitor dogs receiving prednisone and to adjust the dosage or discontinue treatment if necessary.

How can you reduce the side effects of prednisone in dogs?

Here are various ways to reduce the side effects of prednisone in dogs:

  • Alternate-day dosing: Administering oral corticosteroids on an alternate-day schedule can minimize side effects, as the drug is given less frequently and at lower doses.
  • Lowering the dose: Gradually tapering the prednisone dose can also reduce side effects, as the body has time to adjust to the lower levels of the drug.
  • Adding a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist: Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (such as fludrocortisone) can reduce the mineralocorticoid effects of prednisone, which can lead to increased water consumption, urine output, and potential urinary incontinence.
  • Using a different corticosteroid: Switching to a corticosteroid with a lower potency or shorter half-life (such as methylprednisolone) may also reduce side effects, as these drugs have fewer mineralocorticoid effects.
  • Monitoring blood work: Regular monitoring of blood work, including glucose and cholesterol levels, can detect any changes in these values due to prednisone administration, and allow for adjustments in the treatment plan if necessary.
  • Close monitoring of the patient: Regularly monitoring the patient for side effects, such as weight gain, muscle weakness, and gastrointestinal issues, can allow for early detection and management of these side effects.

It is important to note that every dog may respond differently to prednisone, and the best approach is to try the safest treatment first, monitor the patient’s response carefully, and adjust the therapeutic protocol if side effects become problematic or the condition does not respond. Consultation with a veterinarian is recommended to determine the best approach for each individual case.

How long can a dog stay on prednisone?

The general recommendation for prednisone use in dogs is to administer it for the shortest duration possible, typically no longer than 2-3 weeks. Prolonged use of prednisone can lead to side effects such as increased appetite, increased thirst and urination, and potential urinary incontinence. Additionally, long-term use can also cause muscle wasting, gastric ulcers, and diabetes.

However, in some cases, prednisone may be required for a longer period of time, such as in the treatment of chronic conditions. In such cases, an alternate-day protocol is often used to minimize the side effects. This involves giving the dog a lower dose of prednisone every other day, rather than every day.

It is also important to note that the dosage of prednisone should be gradually tapered off, rather than abruptly discontinued. This will help prevent withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Regular monitoring of the dog’s blood work, including glucose, electrolyte, and liver and kidney function, is also important when administering prednisone for extended periods of time.

Prednisone and increased urination in dogs

One of the potential side effects of long-term oral corticosteroid use in dogs is urinary incontinence. This occurs due to the drugs’ mineralocorticoid effects, which increase water consumption and urine output. Prednisone and prednisolone have a slightly stronger mineralocorticoid effect than methylprednisolone, so using methylprednisolone instead of prednisone or prednisolone may be beneficial in cases of increased water consumption and urine output.

In some cases, dogs may develop a condition called “steroid-responsive incontinence” which is a type of urinary incontinence that occurs as a result of long-term corticosteroid use. This condition is characterized by a loss of muscle tone in the urethral sphincter, leading to an inability to control urination. It can be treated by reducing or discontinuing the corticosteroid therapy and administering drugs that help to improve urethral tone.

A study published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice found that out of 128 dogs treated with prednisolone for at least 4 weeks, 8.6% developed urinary incontinence. Another study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that out of 48 dogs treated with prednisone for at least 4 weeks, 12.5% developed urinary incontinence. These studies suggest that the incidence of urinary incontinence is relatively low but still a concern when giving prednisone or prednisolone for more than 4 weeks.

It’s important to note that the risk of developing urinary incontinence is highly dependent on the dose, duration, and type of corticosteroid used and should be discussed with a veterinarian when considering corticosteroid therapy. In some cases, alternative treatment options may be considered or close monitoring of the dog’s urinary tract function during corticosteroid therapy may be necessary.

Conclusion of prednisone for dogs

Prednisone is a commonly used oral corticosteroid in dogs for the treatment of various conditions, such as skin diseases, inflammation, and allergic reactions.


  • Effective in reducing inflammation and controlling symptoms of various conditions in dogs
  • Can be used in short-term regimens without significant side effects


  • Long-term use can result in serious side effects, such as muscle weakness, weight gain, and increased risk of infections
  • Can cause changes in blood work, including increased alkaline phosphatase activity, stress leukograms, and hyperglycemia

Side effects:

  • The most common side effects of prednisone in dogs include increased thirst and urination, panting, and increased appetite.
  • Long-term use can also result in muscle weakness, weight gain, and thinning of the skin.
  • In some cases, prednisone may cause gastric ulcers, diabetes mellitus, and decreased immunity.


  • Prednisone is considered safe for use in dogs at the recommended dosages.
  • Overdose or prolonged use at high doses can lead to serious side effects, such as Cushing’s disease, which requires prompt medical attention.

Drug interactions:

  • Prednisone may interact with other medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antibiotics, which can increase the risk of side effects.
  • It is important to inform your veterinarian of any other medications your dog is taking before starting treatment with prednisone.


  • Prednisone should not be used in dogs with known hypersensitivity to the drug.
  • It should also be used with caution in dogs with a history of diabetes mellitus, glaucoma, or stomach ulcers.

Research and study:

  • Several studies have been conducted on the use of prednisone in dogs, with mixed results.
  • Some studies have found that prednisone is effective in treating skin diseases and reducing inflammation, while others have found that it can lead to serious side effects with long-term use.

Natural or OTC veterinary alternatives:

  • Some natural or OTC veterinary alternatives to prednisone include fish oil, turmeric, and green-lipped mussel extract.
  • These alternatives may provide anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, but more research is needed to determine their effectiveness in dogs.
  • It is important to consult with a veterinarian before using any natural or OTC alternatives in place of prescription medications.

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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