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Ask the Veterinarian/water drinking


Our nine-year old fox terrier is experiencing a change in his water drinking habits. We have consulted our vet and it is not an emergency situation. His blood and urine analyses have not shown anything wrong. Here's what has happened: About two weeks ago we gave our dog a beef bone that had a lot of fat on it. After he worked on it there was frequent stomach gurgling for two days. That stopped. Then - and this is what my question is about - he began to drink 4-5 cups of water per day. In other words he drinks for about a minute, several times a day. His water consumption for the past nine years has been about a half cup of water mixed into his food. He rarely used the water bowl. Although 4-5 cups a day might be normal for a small dog (26 lbs.) it is way different from his normal pattern. Do you think there is cause for concern?

I don't know when you had this blood work run, but if this was my dog I would have it run again for diabetes and kidney disease. These changes can happen suddenly it seems, almost over night, but a nine year old dog is a senior citizen so anything can happen.

It's also possible that his food has changed even though YOU may not have changed it. That happens in open source dog foods such as Nutro, Blue Buffalo, etc. They may have added more sodium than the last batch or too much of something else that is salty. Have you opened a new bag of food lately? Foods made with open-formulation are not consistent from batch to batch.

If this started with the bone episode it could be that his liver and pancreas are still a bit upset over all the fat on that bone.

My suggestion would be to measure his water, literally. Measure it out in the morning and then measure what's left in the evening at the same time, every day for a week.

Make a chart and then you can see the overall pattern. If there is an increase of intake it's time for more blood work. You might find that as the week goes on his water intake may decrease if his digestive tract is less irritated.

In the meantime, no more bones, no treats and no table food. Only his dog food and measure that as well. A dog his size should get no more than 2 cups of food a day- one twice a day, or less is preferably. That of course, depends on his food too.

So start a chart and see how he measures up, pun intended! Then let me know what it looks like.

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 35 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 550 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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