What Does it Mean when an Older Dog starts Drinking a lot of Water?

What does it mean when an older dog starts drinking a lot of water?

We know that puppies are much more active than old dogs hence they require plenty of water to fulfill their fluid intake requirement. But in the case of senior dogs, they are not very active or perform strenuous exercises which drain their energy and let them drink a lot of water.

If this is not the case, then what does it mean when an older dog starts drinking a lot of water? Let us get into it! If your senior dog is drinking water after some intervals, the behavior is quite normal, but when it starts drinking it excessively, you should be a little bit worried.

Why is that so? Because consuming too much water could be a sign of any internal issue or some disease. What’s excess drinking? Well, if your dog drinks the entire water bowl in one shot, or does not ever refuse to water, that means something is absolutely fishy.

Moreover, in some cases when the pet owners don’t refill the water bowl that often for the dogs which are showing such behavior, they tend to drink water from the toilet or any other source. More importantly, these dogs will pass more urine as a response to excessive drinking.

What possible health concerns can cause this behavior? Or what could be the underlying cause besides any disease? Are you looking for such an answer? If yes, then you are at the right place! Let’s have a look at the issue in detail! Have a look!

what does it mean when an older dog starts drinkinga lot of water

Normal Fluid intake of dogs:

To have an idea about how much water is considered excessive, you should know the normal drinking range of a dog first. Well, the amount of water a dog drinks normally depends on various factors, but there is a general rule of thumb for this thing. For each pound of the dog’s weight, one-ounce water is required on a daily basis. But that’s a general idea, not some hard and fast rule.

However, the factors that determine the right amount of required water for the dog include the amount of exercise or activity level, outside temperature, the temperature of the dog’s environment, age, the diet of your dog (dry diet requires more water than wet), and many more.

How to Monitor Your Dog’s Water Intake

A helpful first step is to measure how much your dog’s water bowl holds. Not so that you can measure exactly how much the dog drinks each day – that isn’t necessary unless your vet asks for it. But knowing how much the bowl holds and filling it twice a day at around the same time (morning and evening are ideal) will help you get a handle on how much your dog drinks. You’ll also be able to tell your vet roughly how much your dog is drinking if your vet asks for this information.

Reasons behind a senior dog drinking more water:

Now when you are aware of the normal water intake of a dog, you should be capable of detecting when your dog is drinking excess water. Well, if there is some logical reason like the dog has shifted from wet food to dry food, or the weather conditions have changed from winters to summers, then the behavior is understandable.

However, if there is no such case, then you should be concerned about your little companion. It could rather be a disease or some other environmental factor. Both cases require a professional vet’s attention immediately. Don’t ever think that the vet will get frustrated if there is no serious condition diagnosed. Vets always support being on the safer side. But that’s another point; we’ll go into that as well.

Right now, let us focus on the causes first. Here we are going to discuss some of the basic and most common causes of a senior dog drinking a lot of water.


Dehydration comes with a lot of physical signs and symptoms including thick rope-like saliva, dry mouth and tongue, lethargy, and many more. But the most common response to dehydration is excessive thirst. Whether the hot climate has triggered the dog, or excessive physical activity is making the dog all sweaty and dehydrated, the senior dog will require a lot of water.

Moreover, dehydration can also be a sign of some infection or illness that makes the dog find water somewhere. So, dehydration is not just a simple reaction to weather or exercise, but it can be life-threatening as well.  In any case, you think your dog is dehydrated, don’t ignore it and seek the vet’s assistance right away.

Minor dehydration does not incorporate vomiting and is not very dangerous so you can get over it by letting your dog fulfill its fluid requirement. It is recommended to give a senior dog 1 to 2 tbsp of water after very short intervals of time; 6 times an hour. But don’t allow it to drink plenty of water at once because instead of overcoming dehydration, it could trigger vomiting making the condition worse.


As discussed, there are several health concerns which include dehydration as a major sign. Some of these diseases include liver disorder, kidney disease, fever infection, diarrhea, vomiting, cancer, Cushing’s syndrome, and diabetes

Usually, these diseases make the senior dog dehydrated, but this is not the case every time. Sometimes, the treatment pills you are giving to your dog affect their thirst level. In short, whenever you diagnose such a condition, reach the vet as soon as possible.

Let’s have a quick overview of these diseases.

Diabetes Mellitus:

In diabetes mellitus, whether it is insulin resistance or insulin deficiency, in other words, you can say diabetes type 1 or type 2, the high glucose level is certain.  The excretion of the high amount of glucose is done by kidneys, and afterward, that waste I passed out through urine. For this situation, frequent peeing can cause exorbitant thirst in canines. One can deal with diabetes mellitus by altering the regulating insulin and changing the dog’s diet.

Kidney Disease

Canines with kidney issues will most likely be unable to regulate normal urination. Such dogs urinate more often, and to keep away from drying out, they need to drink more. By making suitable changes in the dog’s diet and dealing with the basic cause of the diseased condition, for example, kidney stones or infections, one can overcome kidney disease.

Liver Disease

A dog suffering from liver disease, either liver abnormality or liver failure, has an increased level of thirst in their behavior. The liver is likewise liable for the expulsion of poisons from the body, and one indication of an insufficient liver is frequent peeing. This might prompt your canine to require more water in its body.


The clinical term for a uterus infection is known as pyometra. The female dog which is not spayed at a young age usually suffers from this disease. Pyometra is a dangerous disease and requires brief careful treatment, antitoxins, and a lot of hydration using IV fluid therapy.

Diarrhea or Vomiting

When a dog is suffering from diarrhea and having loose bowels, or it is throwing out, again and again, there is a great loss of fluids leading to fluid and electrolyte imbalance. This means that the dog is dehydrated, and requires a lot of water to maintain fluid requirements. Canines that have experienced the runs and additionally heaving might drink more than typical.

Cushing’s Syndrome

The discharge of unreasonable measures of cortisol by the adrenal gland due to any cause refers to Cushing’s syndrome. Most commonly, the reasons are adrenal tumors or the growth of cancerous cells in the pituitary gland.

You must be wondering how it is related to excessive thirst. We’ve got your back! When the amount of cortisol increases in the dog’s body, it triggers the need for excess water, as a result of which the body excretes more urine. Surgical interventions or drug therapies are used to treat Cushing’s syndrome depending on the area of the tumor.

Increased activity level:

Usually, senior dogs are not very active, but some pet owners have trained their dogs to be, or it is in their genetics to be active for their entire life. A physically active dog requires more water than those who are living a sedentary life.

Regardless of whether the weather is cold or hot, in case the canine is exceptionally dynamic and getting more exercise, it will in general drink more water. It’s likewise significant that if you take your canine out with you on strolls or climbs, that you permit them to drink water consistently.

Life-changing events: 

A dog has many events in its life when life turns at an angle of 360 degrees. One of these changing events is when a dog becomes a mother. If your dog is a mother, and it has to lactate the pups, it is pretty obvious that the fluid requirement of the dog will be increased as compared to normal drinking.

Your dog’s age:

The more thirst factor usually appears in pups when it is not due to any health concern because commonly, only puppies are active and energetic, fond of playing and walking, not the older dogs. So, older dogs don’t show this behavior until they are diseased or highly active.

Outdoor and indoor temperatures: 

Another factor that is not related to health conditions is climate. When the weather is hot, the dog sweats more and requires plenty of water, just like us humans. Also, it’s not only the outside climate. If the place where the dog rests is suffocated, it will feel thirst as well.

Dog’s New Diet:

Diet is one of the most important factors that increase the thirst in senior dogs. It might be a bit confusing for you, but the logic is quite simple. Do you want to go in-depth? Let’s get started!

Some of the dog owners feed wet diets to their companions. When a dog is on a wet diet, it doesn’t require a lot of water as the fluid amount in the food fulfills most of the water requirement. But when you switch the wet diet from dry food, the dog starts being more thirsty which leads to increased intake of water as there is only 5to 10% of water in dry dog food. Simple isn’t it?

Besides this, even the wet diet could have some specific ingredients or certain food substances that can trigger thirst in the dogs. These ingredients are usually present in packaged food, most of the time it is the preservative that increases the thirst.

Also, sodium is one of those items that make the dog want more and more water. A high level of sodium, in other words, salt, is never good for either pets or humans. Rather, it is dangerous sometimes and comes with a lot of risks.

Don’t share human food with dogs because they are saltier as compared to dog food. Some of the other signs after increased thirst that is observed in dogs with high sodium intake are vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and tremors. So, it is always recommended to offer your dog natural, healthy, and hygienic food.


In humans, many drugs cause increased thirst; the same is the case with dogs. Certain medications can lead to increased thirst in dogs’ food. Let me give you a quick overview.

Seizure prescriptions:

Some of the drugs that are used to treat seizures include Phenobarbital, which might have incidental effects that incorporate increased thirst and pee, just as extreme hunger.

Heart disorder drugs:

The medications used to treat heart diseases or heart failure such as furosemide, lead to frequent peeing and a compensatory expansion in thirst.

Anti-inflammatory medications:

The anti-inflammatory drug used to treat several health concerns including gut infection, allergies, asthma, and many more, if given to dogs, can trigger increased thirst. One of the most common anti-inflammatory drugs given to dogs is prednisone.

Bottom line:

If the dog is asking for more and more water or tends to drink a lot of water, keeping the water bowl away may lead to severe dehydration. Also, letting the dog drink so much water is not a good idea. So, the best thing to do at that time is to observe the entire behavior of the senior dog, the amount of water it drinks, changes in its lifestyle, and report them to the vet so that he may get to the actual reason behind such behavior.


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