Q: “Leroy” is my Golden Retriever, and he has been drinking a lot more water lately. He spends more time outside in the summer, and it’s hot, but it seems different from last year. How do I know if I should be worried? He’s middle-aged, if that matters. W.S., Farragut
A: It can be difficult to tell if pets are drinking excessively in the summer, especially if they are active and playing outside often. Regarding polydipsia, the medical work for excessive drinking, your veterinarian will want more information.
For instance, if Leroy is inside at night, does he continue to drink excessively? Can he hold his urine all night, or does he wake up frequently? Watch him urinate and note the color. The color should be various colors of yellow throughout the day. If the urine is consistently clear like water, it could be a problem.
There are also mathematical formulations to calculate normal water consumption, based on the weight of the pet. Clients are asked to measure their pet’s water consumption in a 24-hour period. This information is helpful to know if their pet’s water intake is actually in the normal range or not.
Share your observations with your veterinarian. He/she will examine Leroy and likely talk with you regarding urinalysis and blood tests, as there are several medical conditions which cause polydipsia. It is generally known that diabetes causes polydipsia, but other causes include kidney disease, some liver diseases, adrenal disease and some caners. There are several medications that can also cause polydipsia, most notably steroids.
Good luck with Leroy. I hope you both have a good summer.
If you have questions about your pet, you may e-mail Dr. Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org