Reasons Why Dogs Drink Excessive Amounts of Water

Reasons Why Dogs Drink Excessive Amounts of Water

Health & Safety

Dogs are renowned for being messy drinkers which makes it hard to gauge just how much they are consuming on a daily basis. The rule of thumb is that a dog needs to drink around an ounce of water per pound of their body weight a day, which means a dog weighing 10 lbs would need to consume just over a cup of clean fresh water on a daily basis. However, if your pet is an extremely active canine or if your bitch is lactating, the chances are they will drink quite a bit more water than that. But with this said, if you notice they're drinking a lot more than usual, it could be there is a health issue going on which needs investigating.

There are many reasons why dogs may drink more water than usual. It could be the weather, they may have been doing more exercise or it could be something to do with their diets. However, if your dog is drinking masses of water for no apparent reason, common sense will tell you there is something going on and you should get them to the vet as soon as you can to get the bottom of the problem.

The most common causes for a dog to be drinking too much are as follows:


A dog will dehydrate quicker during the hotter summer months, if they have been running around and playing a lot or it could also be due to them suffering from some sort of illness or infection. When a dog is dehydrated they become lethargic and have dry gums and tongues. Their saliva is thick and jelly like.

Dehydration in dogs can quickly become life threatening which means you need to get them to the vet as soon as you can. If they are just mildly dehydrated but not actually vomiting, then you can offer them small amounts of fresh, clean water – for a little dog this should be 1 teaspoon, for larger dogs the dose should be 1 to 2 tablespoons, and you would need to do this every 10 minutes over the next few hours.

Then one thing you must not do is allow a dehydrated dog to have free access to lots of water – they may drink too fast and this will cause them to vomit something you want to avoid at all costs.

Illness Can Cause Excessive Drinking

There are many diseases and illnesses that cause a dog to drink too much water which includes the following:

  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing's disease
  • Cancer
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Infection
  • Kidney disease

One thing to bear in mind, is it may not be a condition causing a dog to drink excessive amounts of water but the medication they are taking for the condition. If this is the case, you would need to discuss the problem with your vet who would be able to confirm if this is one of the side-effects of the medication and if so, the vet may recommend lowering the dose.

Drugs & Medication Can Make a Dog Drink Too Much

With dogs as with humans, some drugs may cause them to drink too much which includes the following medications:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, namely prednisone which is often used for dogs suffering from asthma, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Heart failure drugs, namely furosemide which often makes a dog urinate more and as such they drink more water
  • Seizure medication, namely phenobarbital which is known to cause excessive thirst as one of it's side-effects

Diet May Cause a Dog to Drink Too Much Water

Dogs when fed a dry food diet will need to drink more water. Dry dog food contains very small amounts of water, as little as 5% to 10%. Foods that boast high sodium levels will also encourage a dog to drink a lot of water. Large quantities of salt in a dog's diet is extremely bad for them, so it's never a good idea to “share” any human foods like crisps with a dog. If your dog has ingested a lot of salt you may notice some worrying symptoms which include the following:

  • Tremors
  • Diarrhoea
  • Depression
  • Vomiting


Dogs that drink excessive amounts of water for no apparent or obvious reason, could be suffering from all sorts of conditions or health issues. You would need to take your pet to the vet and discuss all the symptoms so they get a clear idea of what may be the root cause of the problem. However, a vet would need to carry out some tests to eliminate some of the diseases that commonly make dogs drink too much water. Once a correct diagnosis has been made, they would be able to recommend a treatment for them and back on the road to recovery.



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