Has any of these scenarios have ever happened to you?
Your dog who is housebroken is suddenly having accidents in the house.
Are you finding yourself filling your dog’s water bowl multiple times throughout the day?
Has your dog all of sudden chosen the toilet bowl for a source of water?
A urinary tract infection can occur in dogs of any age but increases in frequency with age. Bacteria accumulates inside the bladder leading to inflammation of the bladder wall. This can lead to signs of bloody urine, increased frequency of urination, and straining when urinating.
Your veterinarian can diagnose this condition with an analysis of your pet’s urine. A urinalysis will typically reveal bacteria and white blood cells in the urine sample confirming the diagnosis. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.
2. Diabetes (two types)
There are two types of diabetes, Diabetes insipidus and Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes insipidus is more common in younger dogs (usually puppies) and occurs when the kidneys fail to respond to a hormone in the body responsible for concentrating urine called vasopressin. Dogs with this condition will always have dilute urine no matter their hydration status.
Diabetes mellitus is more common in older pets and occurs when the body does not respond to insulin normally. Insulin allows the body to break down sugar into energy for the body. When insulin is unavailable or ineffective, sugar accumulates and is excreted in the urine. The large amount of sugar in the urine acts as a magnet for water, pulling it from the blood stream,therefore making the urine very dilute. High blood sugar and sugar found in urine confirms diagnosis of Diabetes mellitus.
3. Kidney Failure
The kidneys serve multiple functions in the body. One of the main functions of the kidney is to regulate the body’s hydration by concentrating urine when the body needs to conserve water. This function is lost with kidney disease and there is an increased production of urine. A feedback mechanism is initiated so when your dog urinates more he/she will want to drink more.
Kidney failure should be considered if your pet is considered a senior. Having bloodwork performed will show elevated enzymes associated with the kidneys.
4. Adrenal gland disease
Adrenal glands are responsible for the production of steroids in your dog’s body. These glands release steroids in response to a hormone released by the brain. Cortisol is one of those steroids. Cushing’s disease is a condition where these organs over respond to this hormone and release excessive cortisol. An increased production of cortisol may lead to excessive thirst and urination. This disease is more common in older dogs and is usually present with other signs such as thinning hair or a distended abdomen. Basic lab work along with specific tests measuring cortisol by your veterinarian can help confirm this condition.
5. Pyometra (infection of uterus)
Have a dog that is not spayed and are showing these signs?
Then this is a condition you need to consider. Your dog may show other signs such as discharge from her vulva, general malaise, fever, or loss of appetite. Her abdomen may also seem distended. In pyometra, hormonal changes can cause fluid accumulation inside the uterus making it more favorable for bacterial growth. The fluid accumulation in the uterus can lead to dehydration causing an increase in drinking. This can be confirmed with x-rays, ultrasound, and lab work. Pyometra can be an emergency often requiring surgery.
These are some of the most common causes for excessive drinking and urinating in your dog. If your pets are showing these signs, the best way to diagnose any of these conditions is to have your veterinarian perform diagnostics tests. With confirmation, hopefully your pet can be treated and relieved of his/her signs.
Dwight Alleyne, DVM is the author of the Animal Doctor Blog, a blog that provides veterinary information about cats and dogs through articles and product reviews. He has almost 20 years of animal experience with 10 years as a veterinary technician and more than 9 years as a veterinarian. He currently practices in Georgia at a small animal practice where he provides veterinary services through surgeries and medical consultations. When he is not working, Dr. Alleyne enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and 7 year old cat named Queen.