As humans, we know to pay attention to our water consumption habits. We’re told to drink 64 ounces of water every day. While that’s just a health guideline, and there are of course varying factors, at least we have a consistent goal. Dogs and cats’ water consumption, however, varies much more. As pet owners, we typically aren’t sure of how much our furry friend needs each day to stay healthy and hydrated. Size, diet and amount of exercise all contribute to the formula.

Instead of measuring how much your pet drinks per day, it is better to know how much he or she normally drinks and recognize if that changes. A drastic change in water intake can be a telltale sign of a health problem.

Increased Water Consumption

Before listing the health indications of increased water consumption, I want to point something out that may seem obvious. Changes in weather and activity will typically cause a change in thirst. For example, if it’s hot and your pet spends time outside, he or she is likely to drink more than usual. Likewise, if you take your dog for a long walk or run, he or she may drink a lot to cool down. So, don’t be alarmed if your pet has been drinking more water this summer.

In normal circumstances, an increase in thirst (and subsequently an increase in urination) could indicate many things, including urinary tract infection, kidney disease, liver disease and endocrine disease. Endocrine disease is often a result of a larger problem such as thyroid disease, diabetes and Cushing’s disease.

If you notice such a change, schedule a visit to your primary vet for evaluation. A physical exam and weight check will be performed and further diagnostics, such as a chemistry profile and urinalysis, may be recommended. If you pet’s diagnosis requires a specialist, CARE’s Internal Medicine specialist can provide additional advice and advanced treatment.

Keeping Your Pet Hydrated

Similar to people, water consumption habits in dogs and cats may vary from day to day. Keeping that in mind, if you notice a major decrease in water consumption, consider that your pet has an injury in or near the mouth, nerves or anxiety or your water simply may have changed.
Dehydration can be life-threatening to pets, so pay attention to the amount of water your pets drink and look out for these clinical signs:

  • Panting
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Collapse

Based on the severity, you will want to visit your vet as quickly as you can. Certain symptoms of dehydration are life-threatening, so don’t hesitate to bring your pet to CARE for emergency treatment or if you’re concerned for his or her well-being after normal business hours.

CARE Emergency Services

Our Emergency Services team is available 24/7/365 and treat your pets as if they’re our own. Call ahead to let us know you’re on the way. Our number is 704-457-2300.

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