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Health & Wellness Wednesday - Polydipsia and Polyuria

If your dog is drinking and/or urinating more, they may be suffering from polydipsia or polyuria.


If you notice that your dog is drinking more than usual, or urinating more frequently, it's time for a trip to your veterinarian. The medical term for an increase is drinking is "polydipsia" and "polyuria" is the term for an increase in urination. In polydipsia, a dog drinks more than 100 milligrams per pound per day. In polyuria, a dog produces more than 50 kilograms of urine per pound per day.

A dog with either polydipsia or polyuria isn't necessarily suffering from a serious condition, but they can also be a sign that your dog may have renal failure or a hepatic diabetes. Your veterinarian can perform tests on your, such as a urinalysis, blood test and x-rays to rule out any serious medical issues.

Some breeds in particular present with polydipsia/polyuria due to their propensity for certain conditions. Cushing's disease in terriers and hepatitis in Dobermans often start with symptoms of increased thirst and urination. Dogs with kidney disease will also have symptoms of polydipsia/polyuria and it can be found in dogs with tumors.

Veterinarians have found some other causes for polydipsia/polyuria are medications such as diuretics and low protein diets. Age is also a factor, with younger dogs more likely to suffer from polydipsia/polyuria because a high activity level can make a dog more thirsty, which also then leads to more urination.

It's important to always monitor your dog's water intake and urination. If your dog is not suffering from a serious condition, your vet is likely not to recommend a specific treatment, but more serious conditions such as renal failure need to be diagnosed as soon as possible for your dog's continued health and quality of life.

Sources: PetMD and Approach to Polyuria and Polydipsia in the Dog. In: Proceedings of the 33rd World Small Animal Veterinary Congress.

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