EXCESSIVE drinking, or polydipsia, as it is known, is a commonly presenting sign in our patients.
Of course it can be a normal physiological reaction, perhaps to heat, or after eating salty food, but if it persists it usually indicates a problem.
In these cases, your animal will usually pass more water as well, and your vet will appreciate having a sample to test.
With dogs, it is a case of waiting for them to go to the toilet and then holding something like a well-cleaned disposable plastic container in the flow.
The sample can then be transferred to a sterile pot supplied by your vet.
Cats do require you to be a little more cunning – if they are used to using a litter tray, your vet can give you a pack of non-absorbent granules to place in the washed tray which will allow you to decant off the sample.
It is worth noting if your pet is having trouble going to the toilet or going more frequently, and if there has been any change in their appetite or weight, as these are all signs that will help your vet to understand what is going on, but often blood tests will be required to confirm the diagnosis.
Polydipsia is commonly a sign of diabetes, but it can also be caused by conditions such as liver and kidney disease, and also by hormonal conditions affecting the adrenal or pituitary glands.
Infections of the urinary tract or the womb (in entire bitches) can also be reponsible.
Sometimes the drinking may be primarily a psychological condition, but you should never restrict your pet’s access to water other than on veterinary advice, as it may lead to dehydration.
Most of these conditions can be successfully treated or managed, so don’t hesitate to seek your vet’s advice if you are worried, as an early diagnosis will increase the chance of a successful outcome.