GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Here is a tip that may help you uncover a medical problem with your dog or cat – watch their water bowl. If they are suddenly drinking way more water than usual, or not as much as they used to, there could be an underlying reason.
If you notice your pet is drinking much more water than they used to, there could be a benign reason – for example, maybe it is the beginning of summer and your dog is spending more time in the heat.
But a large increase in water intake also can be associated with certain medical problems, said Dr. Cathy Meeks, a veterinarian with BluePearl Veterinary Partners.
So if this happens to your pets, Meeks recommends taking them to a veterinarian and getting a standard blood work-up that will easily rule out some of the more common possible problems, such as diabetes or kidney issues.
These tests also can help rule out problems such as a bad urinary tract infection, inflammation of the pancreas or elevated thyroid levels. These issues can affect dogs or cats, but dogs also can get some conditions such as Cushing’s disease, which don’t show up in simple blood work.
If you suspect your pet is drinking more or less than normal, try to measure their water intake each day. (Of course, it’s a little trickier when two pets share the same bowl.)
Bigger and more active pets will drink more than smaller and more sedentary ones, but your veterinarian will take those things into account.
What if it’s the opposite problem – it just does not seem like your pet is drinking enough water?
The blood work provided by your veterinarian will help here also. Urinalysis and blood tests will quickly answer whether your pet is dehydrated. There could be an unexpected reason – perhaps your pet has developed arthritis, and it’s simply painful to walk to the water bowl.
The nice thing to know is that most of the time, pets naturally know when to drink water and when not to. The main exception is when they are sick. So keep an eye on the water bowl. Make a note of it if you notice a big change.
That is your cue to seek some help from a veterinarian.
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