Cats and dogs that drink too much could be telling you something about their health. Veterinarians call it polyuria (increased urination) and polydipsia (increased thirst) or PU/PD for short. In our canine and feline friends this change can initially be subtle and in a busy household may even be missed. Often owners will bring their pet in for having urine accidents in the house or getting up to go outside in the middle of the night and realize later that family members have been filling the water bowl more often than normal.
Below you will find just a few reasons for these signs in cats and dogs.
1) Kidney disease: this can be due to an acute injury such as the ingestion of a toxin, bacteria, or a chronic development such as the degradation over time of the tissue of the kidneys.
2) Toxicities: There are many common household items that cause PU/PD to occur. This can include: antifreeze (which directly affects the kidneys), chocolate ingestion (which can directly affect the kidneys, nervous system and cardiovascular system), lilies (this most dramatically affects the kidneys in cats to potentially cause kidney failure), or marijuana (this affects the kidneys, intestines and nervous system).
3) Thyroid disease: In a cat it is more commonly seen as an elevation in the thyroid level leading to weight loss despite a good appetite. In dogs more commonly, a low level thyroid is seen with observed weight gain without an increase in the amount of food fed.
4) Diabetes Mellitus: weight loss as well as digestive upset can be seen with this disease state. If left untreated it can be quite dangerous to your pet.
5) Liver Disease: this can be caused by a chronic state of degradation of the liver cells, an acute toxicity, or even a bacterial infection such as leptospirosis.
If you are noting that your animal is displaying PU/PD behavior consult with your veterinarian for further evaluation.
Dr. Julia Neal
Ravenna Animal Hospital