The amount a pet drinks can vary from day to day, but if a pattern of increased water intake occurs, it may indicate that something is wrong. Excessive drinking, known as polydipsia, is often accompanied by polyuria (excessive urination).

The most common causes of polydipsia are chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, urinary tract infections, Cushing’s disease (in dogs) and hyperthyroidism (in cats). Some medications and a diet high in salt are other possible causes. If you change your pet’s diet from wet food to dry food, you may notice your pet drinking more. This can be normal.

Water intake of greater than 90 ml/kg/day for dogs or 45 ml/kg/day for cats is evidence of polydipsia. If you suspect your pet may be drinking excessively, we recommend a vet consultation so that we can perform a thorough physical examination and take your pet’s history. It is also beneficial to bring a fresh urine sample (we can provide a urine collection kit if needed) and keep a water intake diary. We can calculate whether this is excessive based on their current weight.

Most causes of polydipsia will need further investigation for a definitive diagnosis. This usually involves blood work, which we can run in-house, or send to our external laboratory.

Please make an appointment to see one of our vets if you feel your pet is drinking more water than normal.