Polydipsia (PD), or excessive drinking, and polyuria (PU), or excessive urination, are two signs that are common to many different diseases. For PU/PD to be considered a clinical sign, it needs to have occurred over a prolonged period of weeks to months. Most owners will notice their pet frequenting the water bowl or asking to go out more for toiletting. A more reliable way to quantify drinking is to measure it. How much water should a dog drink? As a general rule, dogs should drink 3 to 6 ounces (90 to 180 ml) per 5 pounds of body weight per day. An average 10 pound cat should drink around 6 or 7 ounces of water per day. Now, these recommendations don't take into account the pet's diet. A pet on a wet food diet will not need to drink as much water to maintain its fluid intake, as a high proportion of most tinned foods is water.
PU/PD is not necessarily a signs of illness. Excessive thirst in dogs can be expected on warmer days, due to increased exercise, as a result of weight gain or in response to stress. However, prolonged PU/PD may be a signs of a number of disease conditions such as:
- Kidney disease
- Hyperadrenocorticism (excessive steroid production)
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Pyometra (infection of the uterus in females)
- Certain types of cancer
If you think your pet is PU/PD over a prolonged period of time, a check up by a veterinarian is the first step to ascertaining the reason for this. If the veterinarian feels there is a pathological cause for the PU/PD, the first step may be blood and urine testing. If you are able to collect a urine sample from your pet in a clean container within 2 hours of the appointment, this may be of help to the veterinarian. Measuring your pet's water intake over a few days may also allow you to provide your vet with an estimate of how much your pet is drinking, which will be valuable information.
How much does your dog drink per day? Share with us in the comments!