Causes for Excessive Water Drinking in Dogs

There are several reasons why dogs show excessive water drinking. This is mainly due to their limited sweating system although the type of food, the time of year, the dog's size, or exercise done also have an influence.
Causes for Excessive Water Drinking in Dogs

Last update: 19 January, 2020

A dog is a man’s faithful companion. Therefore, any strange or out-of-line behavior in them can naturally give their owners some concern. This can be an issue if it’s health-related, such as when a dog has excessive water drinking. Want to learn more? Keep reading!

Do dogs sweat?

First of all, it should be noted that dogs have a different perspiration mechanism than humans and therefore sweat differently.

While humans possess sweat glands all over the surface of their skin, dogs don’t. On the other hand, dogs have two different sweating methods: through their tongue and through breathing. Dogs only possess sweat glands in their noses and their paw pads.

It’s commonly said that dogs ‘sweat through their tongues’. What actually happens is that when their body temperature increases, warm blood is pumped towards the mouth region, where they have salivary glands.

One veterinarian explained it thus: “the dog sticks out its tongue and the hot water vapor coming from the lungs condenses when it touches the mouth’s tongue and mucous membranes, which are colder”.

Using these glands, dogs are able to reduce the rise in their body’s temperature. They release the heat in the form of water vapor through the mouth, which when falls to the ground after condensing.

A dog running on the grass.

In addition, it has also been observed that dogs can release heat through their heads and ears. This occurs because natural cooling causes the veins in the head and ears to dilate. Thus, when the outside temperature isn’t excessive, then the dog’s temperature is lowered in this way.

Reasons why a dog can have excessive water drinking

Considering that dogs have a limited cooling system, the reasons why a dog may need to drink a lot of water may be found among the following:

Extra hydration

Dogs are animals that drink a lot, especially at times when temperatures are higher. For this reason, it’s advisable to provide them with fresh water, leave the air conditioning on, or the windows open, to allow enough air in.

Intense physical exercise

A dog’s perspiration mechanism becomes activated in an important way the moment they start to move. For this reason, dogs need to drink a lot of water during long walks or intense exercise.

Another similar circumstance is when they play with other dogs. Their panting is elevated, compared to perspiration that occurs when the dogs are calm. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have water on hand so that your dog can get hydrated whenever needed.


In some cases, the type of diet the dog is on can influence the amount of water it takes in. Among the wide variety of foods available, a few contain a high sodium content, i.e. a large amount of salt.

Because of this, the dog needs to drink more water than normal, to fight the increase of sodium in the blood. In addition, we highly recommend consulting a veterinarian if you should change your dog’s diet in order to avoid long-term health problems.

Health problems

One of the goals all kinds of pet-owners have is for them to have optimal health. However, sometimes our pets may suffer from diseases, such as diabetes or kidney failure. As a result, one sign that can warn us about this is the amount of water they need to drink.

Nevertheless, you should always go to a vet and tell them about any changes you have observed in the animal. In this way, they’ll decide on the necessary tests to determine whether your pet is sick or not.

A thirsty dog panting.

In short, dog’s don’t have the same transpiration or cooling ability humans have. Therefore, you should take into account that their system for cooling down is less efficient. This will help to avoid possible heat strokes.

Furthermore, you should also take into account that the dog’s size influences their cooling capacity. Although larger dogs generate a greater amount of heat, they actually sweat less than smaller dogs.

If your four-legged friend starts behaving strangely, you should immediately get medical attention to see what is happening. Excessive water drinking is just one of these signs.

We hope you enjoyed today’s article, until next time!

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