My Dog is Always Thirsty
Maintaining hydration is an important aspect of your dog's instinct to survive and stay healthy. Since water accounts for more than 60 percent of a dog's body weight, and because breathing, salivating, defecating, and urinating are all responsible for significant losses of water from a dog's body, it stands to reason that dogs need to take in a good amount of fluid each day from what they eat and drink. This is accomplished by a number of intricate feedback mechanisms that directly control a dog's urinary output and thirst center. Most average-sized dogs (around twenty-five pounds) will consume at least sixteen ounces of fluid in a day, either directly or as part of their food. Warmer weather and increased exercise, however, will put greater demands on them and require greater fluid intake.
A little extra drinking and peeing is usually not much to be concerned about. If you are noticing steep increases in these two important functions, however, it is probably worth paying closer attention.
What to Look For
Start by measuring the amount of water your dog is actually drinking in a twenty-four hour period. An average healthy dog drinks about 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.
The amount of water your dog is drinking is an important piece of information to share with your veterinarian and can help avoid unnecessary testing. Keep in mind that dogs are very sloppy, inefficient drinkers. They lap their water instead of drinking the way we do, so take this fact and the amount of water that ends up on the floor near your dog's bowl into account.
What to Do
Ask yourself the following questions to determine what to do next:
When to Get the Vet
If your dog is dehydrated despite drinking excessively, she should be seen immediately by her veterinarian to determine why she is not meeting her body's hydration needs.
Text © 2007 by Robert D. "Jake" Tedaldi, D.V.M.
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