Dog urinating on tree.
Some dogs drink water so sparingly their owners have to wonder how they make ends meet. But others drink so much their owners have reason to be concerned that something could be amiss.

The problem seems most acute when a heavy drinker and a light drinker live in the same household. Interestingly, however, it’s the superslurper who gets the attention, which is probably because what goes in must come out — and not always in the most welcome of places.

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about excessive drinking.

Is drinking a lot of water normal? Sometimes it’s perfectly normal. That’s usually the case in multidog households where an owner’s perception of one dog’s drinking and urinating is greater than another dog’s. In most cases, it’s drinking and urination behavior that’s the issue — not the underlying physiology that’s running amok.

Can excessive drinking be a sign of disease? Sometimes. Heavy drinking and urination are often signs of illness. But first you should find out if your dog really is drinking too much water. Measure your dog’s water intake over 48 hours and call your veterinarian to ask if it’s normal. Easier said than done if you’ve got more than one dog, but it’s a good idea to try.

In dogs, increased thirst and urination can be symptoms of kidney disease, diabetes (both mellitus and insipidus), and Cushing’s disease (an endocrine disease in which the adrenal glands secrete excess cortisol). Sometimes a dog owner’s perception of increased urination might be related to a lower urinary tract infection.

Is this an urgent problem? It could be. When in doubt, call your veterinarian. Whether the problem is new or seems more chronic may not be an indication of how serious it it.

What can you do to make it better? In all cases, get a veterinarian’s advice. If a disease process is at work, making it better invariably involves medical attention.

This article was written by a Veterinarian.