Why Is My Dog Drinking So Much Water?

why is my dog drinking so much water

Dogs have simple needs … like food, walks, belly rubs … and water. So when all their needs are met and they’re drinking much more than usual, you want to know why is my dog drinking so much water? 

First, let’s look at how much water your dog should be drinking every day.

Is My Dog Drinking Enough Water?

The average water intake for dogs is ½ to 1 ounce per pound of body weight each day. That means a 25 lb dog should drink about 1.5 to  2.5 cups of water per day. As you can see, that’s a wide range that varies with size, age, activity level, weather and climate before you can determine how much water should a dog drink in a day and how much is too much. 

This means you’ll need to monitor your dog’s water drinking habits to see what’s normal for him. It’s easy to monitor by measuring and watching the level in one dog’s water bowl, but this is more difficult in a multi-dog household. In that case you’ll need to keep track of each dog’s trips outside to pee.

So what does it mean if you notice your dog is drinking way more than you think he should?

Increased Thirst In Dogs

When your dog has increased thirst it’s called polydipsia, and it causes increased urination which is called polyuria. 

Some dog owners find their dog drinking a lot of water at night and the reasons can be simple. He may spend a lot of time sleeping during the day and catching up at night. A dehumidifier could be pulling moisture from the air at night in the summer, and heat from the furnace is drying out the air in the winter. 

Have your vet do some diagnostic testing if your dog’s thirst seems to be caused by something more than activity or a change in the weather

Here are some reasons for increased thirst in dogs.


Your dog can become dehydrated from heatstroke, vomiting or diarrhea, low water intake, illness like liver or kidney disease or diabetes, medications or activity. Here are signs of dehydration:

  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea
  • Reduced energy levels and lethargy
  • Panting
  • Dry, sunken eyes
  • Dry nose
  • Dry, sticky gums

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

There are multiple cause of UTIs in dogs but most common are bacterial infection or bladder inflammation. Other causes are kidney disease, diabetes, bladder stones and tumors in the urinary tract. When your dog is well hydrated he has a better chance of fighting this type of infection as he’ll pee more often which helps remove bacteria from his body. 

Here are signs your dog may have a UTI:

  • Pinkish or cloudy urine
  • Straining or whining while peeing
  • Accidents in the house
  • Frequent visits outside
  • Licking around the urinary opening
  • Fever

RELATED: How to treat UTIs in dogs at home … 

Kidney Infection

Similar to a UTI, a kidney infection is caused by bacteria in one or both kidneys. Often there’s a pre-existing condition … such as a bladder infection, kidney stones, partial urinary blockage or chronic kidney disease. This adds stress to an already stressed immune system, making it difficult to fight another infection. 

There are some signs of a kidney infection …

  • Pinkish or cloudy urine
  • Pain when peeing
  • Increased frequency and amount 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Strong smelling urine
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting

Kidney Failure

Dehydration can stress your dog’s kidneys, which slows the blood flow and can lead to kidney failure. Acute kidney failure can be caused by heatstroke, toxins, bee stings, snake bites or anything causing major, sudden damage to the body. 

Chronic kidney failure is much more serious as there’s a gradual loss of function over weeks, months or even years, and it’s often associated with aging. When your dog shows symptoms of kidney failure, there is usually severe damage already. 

  • Dehydration
  • Extreme thirst and drinking
  • Blood in urine
  • Excessive urination and/or trouble peeing
  • Anemia, pale gums and weakness
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Noticeable decrease in appetite
  • Bad breath with an odor of chemicals
  • Weight loss or wasting
  • Vomiting often without eating much
  • Decrease in urine or failure to make urine in final stages

RELATED: Natural treatments for kidney failure in dogs ...

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes can occur at any age but it’s usually seen in middle-aged to senior dogs. Dogs are at risk if they’re obese, have had repeated bouts of pancreatitis, are on steroid drugs or eat a poor, processed food diet high in carbohydrates and inflammatory omega-6 fats. If you’re wondering, why is my dog drinking so much water and not eating, it’s time to have him tested for diabetes.

Here are the signs of diabetes in dogs.

  • Extreme thirst and drinking
  • Excessive urination
  • Hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting if related to pancreatitis
  • Weakness or fatigue

RELATED: Diabetes in dogs and what you can do … 

Other Reasons For Drinking A Lot Of Water

Bad habits, aging and other common factors can cause dogs to drink more. 

High Activity

If you find your dog drinking lots of water suddenly and panting, it can be perfectly normal, especially after playing hard or running. When your dog drinks heavily, he’s not breathing hard, so once he’s finished, he pants to replenish his oxygen levels. Give your dog water breaks to quench his thirst and avoid the risk of choking. 

If you find your dog drinking lots of water suddenly and vomiting or regurgitating, he may be drinking too quickly. You need to slow him down and give him just enough to quench his thirst. If this happens often, your dog might have trouble with his esophagus or a digestive problem that you should look into.

Aging Dogs

When you’ve got an older dog, you might be wondering why is my senior dog drinking so much water. One reason is that as a dog ages, the kidneys don’t function as well as they did in a younger dog. He might be dehydrated from a warmer or cooler environment or a change in activity level … perhaps you’ve added a playful new puppy. 

If the reason isn’t lifestyle-related or obvious, you ask your vet to check for underlying disease.

Pregnant Dogs

If you’re asking why is my female dog drinking so much water, pregnancy may be your answer. Female dogs will drink more, especially during the last stage of pregnancy. Otherwise, female dogs drink a lot for the same reasons as male dogs.

Winter Dryness

Humidity is lower when it’s cold so you’ll see your dog drinking more water than usual in winter. He’s breathing out moisture in every breath and needs to drink more to replace it. 

Always make sure your dog has fresh, filtered or spring water to drink and be sure to investigate further if he’s drinking more than usual for no apparent reason.

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