Excessive thirst or polydipsia in a dog can be indication of a number of health problems, it can be due to the side-effects of certain medications or it could even be your dog is over-hot and is trying to cool his body down. The latter cause is more easily discerned.
Symptoms to watch for that suggest increased thirst in your dog includes his constant return to his water bowl and you having to fill it more than usual or you might notice his bowl is always empty. Your dog might start to seek other places from which he might get water such as jumping in the bath and licking at the taps, the toilet or puddles. You might also notice your dog is urinating more than usual.
Health problems that can cause excessive thirst in a dog include:
* Diabetes Symptoms of diabetes in dogs include extreme thirst because of the high levels of sugar or glucose in the blood. This can also increase the amount of urine so the dog is also likely to urinate more often than usual.
* Cushing Syndrome Increased thirst and urinating can also be a sign of Cushing syndrome. This is a disorder where the hormone cortisol which is made by the adrenal gland is produced in excessive amounts. As well as excessive thirst there are many other symptoms of this disease including loss or increase of appetite, behavioural changes, blindness and hair loss.
* Pyometra - Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. This disease can affect female dogs who have not been spayed. Symptoms of Pyometra include excessive thirst, vomiting and depression. This disease is fatal without medical treatment.
If your dog has been sick or has had diarrhea, he is likely to be dehydrated and may drink more in order to make up for what he has lost. In hot weather dogs will naturally drink more water to help their bodies cool down. They are also likely to head for their water bowls after vigorous exercise.
Dogs can also become more thirsty than normal if they have a fever or when their kidneys or liver aren't functioning properly. Some forms of medication can also make a dog thirsty.
If your dog seems excessively thirsty for no apparent reason it would be sensible and wise to contact your veterinarian in order to discover the true cause.
Messonnier S. Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats. Prima Lifestyles. (2001)
Tedaldi J. What's Wrong with My Dog? Fair Winds Press. (2007)