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Excessive Water Consumption

Each day, the average dog or cat requires at least 6 teaspoons of water for every pound of body weight. With hot weather or physical exertion, fluid intake may be increased in normal animals. Also, such diseases as diabetes mellitus and kidney failure may cause excessive water consumption and urination.

If you are concerned that your pet is drinking more than usual, do not limit its access to water until you have consulted your veterinarian. Withholding water may worsen an underlying illness and could be dangerous. A complete physical examination, including blood tests and urine analysis, may be necessary to safely exclude the possibility that your pet is physically ill.

Excessive thirst in the absence of an underlying medical disorder may also be caused by psychological disturbances. Psychogenic polydipsia is the term used to describe excessive drinking with a psychological cause. In dogs, it is an expression of anxiety associated with, for example, addition of a new pet. It has not been reported in cats.

A diagnosis of psychogenic polydipsia is based on the pet’s life history, investigation of events surrounding the onset of excessive drinking, and eliminating the possibility of physical illness. The source of your pet’s emotional problem must first be identified and, if possible, eliminated.

Do not limit water availability until your pet’s daily water requirement is first carefully calculated by your veterinarian. Additionally, evaluation of your pet’s behavior and lifestyle may indicate a need for more attention or exercise.