Interpreting a Change in Dog Drinking Habits

Dog drinking habits can change for a number of reasons. Here's how you can interpret excessive or decreased dog drinking habits.

Reasons Why Your Dog Might Be Drinking Too Much

Your dog might drink more water if the weather is unusually hot. In all types of weather, but especially in hot weather, make sure your dog has an adequate supply of clean, fresh water. Fresh water should be available at all times.

Some diseases and disorders can cause your dog to start drinking more water than normal. Renal disease is one of the most common causes of excessive drinking habits. Infectious diseases, especially kidney infections, can make your dog drink more. Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism and Cushing's disease, can make your dog start drinking excessively.

Some other reasons for excessive water drinking include:

  • Congenital deformities, such as chronic hepatitis
  • Tumors of the endocrine system, or other internal organs
  • Drug reactions to medications including corticosteroids
  • Poisoning with chocolate, grapes, antifreeze or rat poison can cause excessive drinking
  • Excessive drinking can be psychological in origin.

Knowing When Excessive Drinking Is Dangerous

If your dog's excessive drinking habits are the result of weather conditions, all he needs is a steady supply of clean fresh water. Allow him to drink as much as he wants; it's normal. If your dog's excessive water drinking occurs concurrently with any other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, lethargy or fever, see a vet or go to an emergency veterinary clinic right away.

Reasons Why Your Dog Might Not Be Drinking Enough

Your dog might drink less water in cooler weather, or might be put off of water that is stale or contaminated. Stress due to travel, moving, illness or lifestyle changes can make your dog stop drinking water. Make sure your dog has plenty of clean, fresh water, even during cool weather; it's normal for him to want to drink less when it's cold. Take steps to help your dog stay relaxed, especially during stressful times.

Infectious disease can make your dog stop drinking water. Diseases that can cause a decrease in water consumption include:

  • Periodontitis
  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Parvo
  • Leptospirosis

Trauma to the head and mouth can make drinking water painful for your dog, which means he'll drink less. Foreign bodies in the mouth can make drinking water painful for your dog. Tumors in the brain or head can have the same effect.

Some types of poison, such as ethanol, can make your dog drink less water. Parasites and parasitical diseases, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease, can make your dog drink less. In fact, a host of miscellaneous diseases and disorders can make your dog stop drinking water.

What To Do When Your Dog Is Not Drinking Enough

If the weather is cool or your dog is stressed, don't worry about his decreased water drinking habits. Make sure your dog has a steady supply of clean, fresh water in all weather and remember that it's normal for him to drink less when the weather is cool. If your dog's decreased water intake occurs in conjunction with any other symptoms, consult your vet right away.