It’s a common occurence. Your cat or dog starts drinking a bit more, should you be worried?
You may have just noticed having to fill the water bowl more often, or you may have come downstairs in the morning to find a puddle on the floor. The first thing we need to establish is that your pet is actually drinking more. Some pets will urinate more frequently because they have a urinary tract infection or similar. Indoor/outdoor cats can be difficult as well becauuse they may drink and urinet outside as well as in the home.
How much is abnormal?
The first thing we need to do is work out how much a pet is drinking. A healthy cat or dog should drink between 20 and 40mls of water per kilogram body weight. per day. Cats may be drinking a bit less, they originally came from desert conditions and can manage with less water. We have to be careful because drinking quantity can vary for ‘healthy’ reasons. Such as if the weather is hot, the animal is extra active or has had a dry or salty meal.
Generally a sustained increase in thirst is the most significant and we are looking for a doubling of drinking as the most significant (so over 80mls/kg/day in dogs or 45mls/kg/day in cats).
If you can measure your pets drinking accurately then that is the best approach, if you can’t (because you have more than one pet or your cat goes outside) then a urine sample can often give as an idea because we can measure how concentrated it is.
What to do next?
If you suspect your pet is drinkg more than normal then a vet visit is necessary. If you can get a urine sample to bring in as well then that is very useful. We may want to run blood tests or other diagnostic procedures to find out what is going on. If you do collect a urine sample, remember to bring it to the vets in a sterile container (your vet will be able to give you one). Even a well cleaned out jam jar will have enough sugar in it to make the sample look as if it is from a diabetic!
Everyone know the common causes of excess drinking; diabetes, kidney or liver disease, but there are over twenty possible disnoses and they range form the easily treatable to the more serious, but with virtually every diagnosis we can help.
Keep an eye on your pet’s thirst, it can be an early sign of a problem and the earlier we see them the better.