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Optimeal® Blog

Why Does My Dog Drink So Much Water?

By Bridget Reed


Your dog needs lots of water to thrive, just like you. Keeping your pup hydrated is one of the easiest ways to look out for their health and wellbeing — all you need to do is keep their water bowl topped off with fresh, clean water.

However, you might not be sure what to do if your dog drinks much more water than they normally would. A sudden increase in thirst can indicate a serious health problem, but it might also be a harmless response to an unusually hot day. 

Figuring out the underlying cause of your dog’s excessive drinking will help you understand how to handle it, whether taking your pup straight to the vet or just giving them a chance to cool off in the shade. Read on to find out why your dog might be drinking so much water and what you can do to help.

How Much Water Should My Dog Drink?

There’s no one-size-fits-all rule about how much water your dog should drink. Your pooch might be a couch potato, or they might spend hours running in a local park. Dogs have an incredible variety in their shapes, sizes, and level of activity, and the amount of water they need depends on their age and behavior as well as their breed.

You can generally expect your dog to drink more in the hot summer and less in winter. If you have an unusually active day, take your pup on a long hike, or play a fast-paced game of fetch, you can expect your dog to drink a lot of water to compensate.

Puppies will often need more water to aid their growth and development. Pregnant and lactating dogs also require more water than they normally would. You can support your pup throughout their life by always ensuring they have fresh water.

If you’d like to know the amount of water your pup needs on an average day, you can figure out an estimate with this simple formula: your dog should drink approximately one ounce of water for every pound of body weight.

This formula is a rough idea of how much water you should expect your dog to drink. It doesn’t consider other factors, like how active your dog is or how much time they spend outdoors in hot weather. Be prepared for your pup’s water consumption to change daily, depending on the circumstances.

How Much Water Does My Puppy Need?

Puppies do a lot of growing and learning, and they’ll need plenty of water to support them on their journey. Figuring out how much water your puppy needs can be complicated when they are very young, but their water intake will typically stabilize by adulthood.

From birth, puppies are typically kept hydrated by their mother’s milk. Once they’re weaned and separated from their mother, they’ll need to transition to drinking fresh water and eating dog food. 

The amount of water your puppy needs will vary based on their age and size. During the weaning process, young puppies will drink about a half cup of water every two hours. They should be carefully supervised at this age to ensure they’re getting enough hydration.

As they age, you can expect them to drink between a half ounce and a whole ounce of water for every pound of body weight. This amount covers their daily requirements, but they might need a little extra depending on how much exercise they get.

You may wish to remove their water bowl when you're house-training your puppy at night to provide a consistent schedule with regular bathroom breaks and prevent accidents. We recommend taking their water bowl two to three hours before bedtime and returning it when they wake up.

Even during house training, you should always give your puppy unrestricted access to fresh water during the day. Once they’ve settled into their routine and no longer have accidents inside the house, you can safely leave their water bowl available through the night.

What Causes My Dog to Drink More Water?

Now that you know the standard baseline for how much water your dog needs, you can easily tell if your dog’s water consumption is excessive. However, you might not be sure whether your dog’s increased thirst is cause for alarm or business as usual.

The medical term for drinking too much water is polydipsia, a fairly common issue among canines. Unfortunately, it has a huge range of possible causes. It might indicate that your dog is losing a lot of water due to hot temperatures and constant panting or that they’ve developed a medical condition that causes dehydration.

Let’s dive into the potential sources of polydipsia and discover why it might impact your dog.

Normal Causes

Plenty of normal factors might cause temporary polydipsia in your dog. Most frequently, your dog’s drinking habits will return to their baseline after a brief period of excessive thirst. Thirst can result from several environmental factors, such as the season or time of day.

Hot weather and extensive exercise can cause your dog to drink more than they otherwise would. If your dog didn’t adapt to drinking more water during higher temperatures, they would have an increased risk of dehydration.

Eating salty foods may also cause your dog to drink more water. By hydrating themselves, they’ll be able to balance out their sodium levels to make up for the increase in salt.

Lactating dogs will require lots of water to produce enough milk to feed their puppies. This could mean doubling or even tripling their water intake for a while.

If your dog takes a specific medication, such as a steroid, they may experience increased thirst as a side effect. You should talk to your vet if you suspect your dog’s medicine might be causing polydipsia.

Medical Issues

If there are no obvious reasons for your dog’s increased thirst, you should keep an eye on their water intake for a while. Having one particularly thirsty afternoon isn’t usually a cause for concern, as long as everything returns to normal. 

However, if your pup drinks much more water than usual for an extended period, you should contact your vet. Several medical conditions can cause thirst and dehydration in your dog, and getting prompt medical attention is the first step to helping them recover. 

If your dog is drinking so much water that they vomit it back up, only to continue drinking, you should immediately take them to the vet. 

The medical conditions that might cause excessive thirst include:

  • Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus
  • Kidney failure or kidney disease
  • Liver failure or liver disease
  • Adrenal hormone disease, including Cushing’s disease or Addison’s disease
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Cancer
  • High levels of calcium

While vets can treat many of these conditions, you’ll need to figure out the source of the problem first. Your vet can test for these issues and discover which ones might impact your dog before moving forward with a treatment plan.

Behavioral Issues

In some cases, polydipsia can be psychological. Some dogs are simply more inclined to drink lots of water, even when they’re no longer thirsty. Excessive drinking may cause frequent urination, which can be inconvenient to deal with, but it probably won’t harm your dog in the long run.

This issue is more likely to arise if your dog is stressed or bored. Your dog may find some entertainment in drinking water or return to their water bowl repeatedly because they feel more comfortable there. While you may not be able to control your dog’s behavior, you can provide them with other sources of stimulation and play to keep their mind off their water bowl.

Should I Keep Giving My Dog Water?

When your dog is especially thirsty, and you’re not sure why it can be difficult to figure out how to handle the issue. 

If your dog keeps drinking more than usual, you might have thought about removing their water bowl or restricting their access to water. However, you must keep providing them with fresh water, even if they drink too much.

When your dog is affected by a disease or medical condition causing excessive thirst, it usually means their body isn’t processing or retaining water properly. As a result, they need to drink a lot more just to keep themselves from becoming dangerously dehydrated.

Depending on the factors affecting your dog’s health, removing their water bowl during a period of excessive thirst can be potentially life-threatening. If your dog can’t retain fluid, they need to drink regularly to keep their body functioning. Make sure your dog always has plenty of clean water available, regardless of how much they drink.

How Can I Tell if My Dog Is Dehydrated? 

Dehydration is a serious issue for dogs and humans alike. If your pup isn’t getting enough water, many health problems can result. Excessive drinking is often caused by dehydration, a temporary lack of water during strenuous activity, or a long-term issue with your dog’s water retention.

Ensuring your dog drinks enough water is very important, but you might not know how to help. Thankfully, we have the answers you’ll need to keep your dog happy and hydrated.

Dehydration in Dogs

Your dog might be dehydrated if they experience any of the following:

  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Dry or sticky gums
  • Thick saliva
  • Weakness
  • Loss of skin elasticity

You can test your dog’s hydration by grabbing the scruff of their neck and gently pulling it out. When you let go, their skin should immediately snap back into position. If it takes a while to snap back, the odds are high that your dog is dehydrated.

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated

If your dog is drinking excessively and still experiencing dehydration, you should take them to the vet. However, if your dog simply isn’t drinking enough water, there are a few things you can try to encourage them. 

First, always ensure that you’ve recently cleaned their water bowl and filled it with fresh water. You wouldn’t want to drink stagnant, dirty water, and your dog feels the same way.

You can try moving the water bowl closer to your pup or putting it near their favorite spot in your home. You can also add chicken broth to flavor it and make it smell more enticing.

If your dog doesn’t seem very interested in drinking water, you can try feeding them nutritious and balanced wet dog food to give them extra hydration from their meals. Many dogs will appreciate the taste and texture of wet food, which resembles the meals they would eat in the wild.

We recommend our Tender Morsels in Savory Sauce with Chicken & Lamb Recipe or our Tender Morsels in Aspic with Liver & Turkey Recipe, which are both designed for adult dogs and packed with high-quality protein. Our food supports your dog’s immune system with the right hydration while avoiding artificial flavors and fillers like soy, corn, and eggs.

Can Too Much Water Harm My Dog?

While it’s less common than dehydration, your dog can also experience issues if they drink too much water. Overhydration, or “water intoxication,” can cause rapid health issues and even death.

While your dog can overhydrate by drinking excessively, they’re more likely to accidentally swallow too much water while swimming and playing in a stream, pool, or lake. You should take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice these symptoms:

  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Staggering, uneven movement, or a loss of coordination
  • Extreme salivation
  • Pale gums
  • Dilated pupils

Helping Your Thirsty Dog

While getting your dog the water they need might seem simple, it could require a lot of work. Depending on how much water your dog is drinking, you may need to treat their underlying medical condition, give them more opportunities to rest on a hot day, or simply switch from dry food to wet food. 

If you’re looking for more hydrating meals for your pup, our wet dog food collection offers a variety of great choices with water content and nutrients to support your dog’s skin and coat health. 

Making sure your pup gets enough water can be challenging, but you’ll learn to adapt to their unique circumstances as you go. The best way to help your thirsty pup is by taking them to the vet if necessary and keeping them hydrated.


Why is My Dog Drinking So Much Water? | PetMD

Why Is My Dog Drinking So Much Water | Emergency Vet USA

Is Your Puppy Drinking Enough Water? | American Kennel Club

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