An Elmhurst pet needing help with their water.

One of the biggest problems among our pet companions is getting them to drink the right amount of water to keep them hydrated and healthy. For some pets, drinking a lot of water can pose a risk of overconsumption, while others snub their nose at tap water and refuse to drink enough. 

Here’s some veterinary advice from the team at Elmhurst Animal Care Center to help you understand more about pets and water consumption and how to know how much is enough.

Can My Pet Drink Too Much Water?

Did you know there is a thing as drinking too much water? Yes, it is important for your pet to stay hydrated, but there is a condition called water intoxication, or water toxemia. This occurs when the body cannot process the amount of water being ingested, which causes the sodium levels outside of the cells to become depleted. 

When this condition occurs, the body must adjust to this by increasing fluid inside the cells. Certain organs of the body can handle this, but the brain can be gravely affected.

Other health conditions can cause a pet to ingest excessive water, such as kidney disease, diabetes, and toxicity. Signs of water intoxication include:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Staggering
  • Restlessness
  • Drooling

If you suspect your pet has consumed too much water, call us immediately.

The Problems with Not Drinking Enough Water

As the weather warms up, dogs and cats need to increase their water consumption, especially after exercise and outdoor time. Many pets do not like tap water, or water in general, and don’t get enough to keep them hydrated. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. They want running water instead. This is especially true for cats, but most animals prefer running water to water bowls. We suggest you get a good quality fountain water dispenser for your furry friend and see if that makes a difference. Be sure to swap out the water each day.
  2. They are anxious or have a health condition. Illness such as a urinary tract infection, or a disease like kidney disease, can create fluctuations in your pet’s thirst. If your pet is stressed or has some form of anxiety, they may also avoid the water bowl.
  3. They’re not getting enough exercise. This is another reason for the decrease in water consumption. When they are not getting exercise, they’re less likely to want to drink water. After all, think about how thirsty you are after a jog or hike. The same is true for our pets.

Getting Your Pet to Drink More Water

How much your dog or cat needs to drink every day depends on factors like species, size, amount of exercise, and climate. Talk to us about the amount your pet needs each day.

To encourage better hydration:

  • Switch to a fountain or water dispensing pet water bowl
  • Change your pet’s water daily or twice daily so it is clean and fresh
  • Add a little bit of tuna water or wet food water to the bowl to make it more enticing
  • Many dogs love ice cubes, so add a few to their bowl each day
  • Add more water bowls around the home 

Elmhurst’s Veterinary Advice on Pets and Water

If your pet drinks too much or too little water, please contact us for more information and an examination. It’s important for all animals to stay hydrated and healthy. We’re available to offer additional veterinary advice on your pet’s health and safety and welcome you to contact us today.