Most of the time we don’t pay too much attention to how much water our dogs are drinking. We keep the bowl full and fresh and trust that they will take what they need. Most of the time, that’s exactly what happens.
However, if you notice any changes in the amount of water your dog is drinking, it’s time to pay attention. In general, an increase in water-drinking is usually a sign of an underlying medical issue.
The first signs you may notice are that you are filling the bowl more frequently, or your dog is coming to the bowl immediately when you fill it. You may notice them spending a longer time drinking or suddenly drinking from the toilet when they didn’t before. Subsequently, your dog may be asking to go out in the yard more often to urinate.
On walks they may take longer pees or pee more frequently than usual. They may even start to have urinary accidents inside the house despite being fully house-broken.
Measure Your Dog’s Water Intake
These signs may come on suddenly or more gradually. If the signs are subtle and you’re not sure if you’re just overthinking it, it can be helpful to measure your dog’s water intake to confirm. To do this, use a measuring cup each time you fill your dog’s bowl for a 24 hour period.
A normal dog drinks approximately 40-60 ml/kg/day of water.
- Example: 10 kg dog x 40-60ml/kg = 400-600 ml of water per day (over 24 hours)
If a dog is drinking 100 ml/kg/day, this is considered “excessive water intake”.
Quantifying water intake is especially helpful if your dog is new to you, and you don’t yet have a sense of what their ‘normal’ is.
For example, if you’ve recently adopted a senior dog and you have a feeling they’re drinking more than they should.
There is some natural variation of course, but if a dog is drinking ~100 ml/kg/day we can definitely say they are drinking too much. The medical term for this is polydipsia.