A common concern brought to us by pet owners is that their pets seem to spend excessive amounts of time drinking at the water bowl.
While this can occur in an animal of any age, we hear about this issue the most in our older patients. It is easy to dismiss a gradual increase in water intake as a pet that is aging normally or one that is simply responding to environmental changes (change in outdoor temperature, etc.). In reality, most dogs and cats that experience increases in water intake do so as a result of physiologic changes in their bodies. The most common causes of increase in water intake include kidney problems, diabetes, urinary tract problems, and endocrine/hormonal diseases. Many older cats can be affected by hyperthyroidism while older dogs can develop increased adrenal gland activity, known as Cushing’s disease. The majority of conditions that cause increased water intake can be successfully treated to both limit clinical symptoms and prevent future problems from developing. The best way to evaluate a patient who is drinking excessive amounts of water is through routine bloodwork screening, which can be done quickly and easily.