We commonly get asked the question; ‘how much should my pet drink?’ It could be because as owners sometimes we feel our pet hasn’t drunk enough, but it is also frequently asked when a pet seems to drink more.
Both cats and dogs do not drink huge amounts as they are carnivores who have to keep a low profile in the wild. Typically they have a high urine concentration and function quite well at this level of permanent “dehydration”. A standard calculation we use when determining the basic amount of water required by a pet is 50mls per kg per day. So a 5 kg dog would require about 250mls a day. This applies on relatively mild days and would increase on hot days, or with a high salt diet etc. So how much is too much? Well we use a figure of 100mls/kg/day to alert us to what we call PUPD, or polyuria polydipsia, which in simple terms means urinates too much and drinks too much!
So what do we do if our pets are not drinking enough?
There are very few times when I get worried about a normal happy dog or cat who doesn’t seem to drink enough. However, if they suddenly stop drinking or become dehydrated with illness it can be absolutely critical to rehydrate them. An intravenous drip is often essential at these times.
What do we do if our pets drink too much?
Well drinking too much is a common sign of illness. It can be because the kidneys cannot hold onto water, or because they are told not to by the body’s hormonal system, and many other reasons. We usually need to run blood and urine tests to determine the issues. Common causes of drinking too much are diabetes, kidney failure, liver failure, and hormonal diseases like cushings.
If you are worried measure your pets water intake, if it appears to be too high or low, make an appointment and bring a urine sample if you can! We encourage the testing of urine in all cases of PUPD and for all animals over the age of 10.