Why Does My Old Dog Drink So Much Water?

Senior dog sitting next to bowl of water

A senior dog who drinks a lot of water may have a health issue. A dog typically consumes one cup of water for every 10 pounds of body weight. Dehydration, renal disease, diabetes mellitus, Cushing's syndrome, and simple dehydration are the most frequent causes of a dog consuming a lot more water all of which need to be treated. Plan a trip to the vet if your older dog is drinking a lot of water.

Causes of Increased Water Intake

Increased water consumption may indicate a number of various health issues. The most frequent causes in older dogs are Cushing's disease, diabetes mellitus, and kidney failure. Dehydration can also be accompanied by increased water intake, however this condition can affect dogs of any age.

Kidney Failure

Water conservation is one of the numerous functions of the kidneys. Both water intake and water loss are necessary for the body to stay hydrated. The kidney must save water in response to dehydration. This implies that the kidney must handle the removal of all the substances the body needs to get rid of while utilizing the least quantity of water feasible. A pet whose kidney function is compromised may have trouble concentrating urine and will require more water to process the body's waste products.

Diabetes Mellitus

A lack of insulin in the body results in diabetes mellitus. Glucose (sugar) builds up in the blood when insulin levels are low or absent because insulin is required to eliminate glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream. The kidneys normally store the bloodstream's glucose, but when blood sugar levels are too high, their filtration capacity may be exceeded. Due to the extra glucose that leaks into the urine and pulls additional water with it, the characteristic symptoms of increased thirst and urination result.

Cushing's Syndrome

Hyperadrenocorticism, another name for Cushing's syndrome, is a hormonal imbalance brought on by high levels of cortisol in the blood. Long-term overexposure to this hormone causes the symptoms. Excessive drinking and urination are typical symptoms, but because they often develop gradually, owners may mistake them for effects of age. The following list of additional symptoms may help your veterinarian identify it from other disorders.

Additional Symptoms of Cushing's Syndrome

  • Ravenous Appetite
  • Pot-Bellied Appearance
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Skin Disease


Common dehydration might lead to increased water consumption. All ages of dogs can get this ailment, which has the potential to be fatal. You may do a skin turgor test at home. Your dog may be mildly to severely dehydrated if the skin takes a while to restore to its original posture. Your dog may be critically dehydrated and even in serious condition if the skin does not entirely retract to its original place. If you think your dog may be dehydrated, seek emergency veterinarian care because this test is not always reliable.

Diagnosing the Cause of Increased Water Intake

To identify the illness that is causing high water intake, your veterinarian will perform a few laboratory tests. A blood chemistry panel will be necessary for each to assess the main organ systems and electrolytes. Additionally, a complete blood count, which evaluates the red and white blood cells, and a urinalysis will be performed. The factors considered for choosing the appropriate condition are described in the table below.

What Your Vet Will Evaluate
Conditions Testing to Help Diagnose Associated Condition
Kidney Disease Elevated kidney values (BUN and Creat), low urine specific gravity
Diabetes Mellitus Elevated blood glucose, glucose in the urine
Cushing's Syndrome Elevated liver value ALP, changes in white blood cell count, elevated cholesterol
Dehydration Positive skin turgor test, elevated liver protein (Albumin), electrolyte changes

The Veterinary Visit: What to Expect

Visit your veterinarian right away if your elderly dog is consuming more water than usual. But be careful to write down any questions you have before the appointment. It can be beneficial to have notes outlining your dog's drinking and urinating habits. Additionally, think about asking the office in advance whether they would need you to bring in a urine sample. The appointment will be less traumatic for both you and your dog the more prepared you are.

When you arrive at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine you from head to toe and do any required tests. A diagnosis will be determined in light of the history, examination, and tests. More testing may be necessary when a diagnosis is not immediately apparent. All examinations and treatment suggestions will be discussed with you by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will collaborate with you to give your senior dog the best care possible, regardless of the reason for the rise in water intake.


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