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?
To me it is always a concern when a dog changes such habits after all this time.
Kidney issues can start and develop and not show up until the disease has progressed a ways. Pancreatitis is also on the rise for many people and especially those who feed a dry food only diet and do not supply the live nutrients that are needed.
Your vet's test are a good start. It's possible the extra fat triggered additional water intake.
You mentioned that you mix water in with his dry food. This is fine but is in no way a substitute for fresh foods that contain moisture such as meat or canned foods.
Dogs, like human's, process water and dry matter separately. So the water mixed in with his food is fine and does provide a "breaking down" process of this hard to digest dry food, it does not provide moisture at a cellular level.
Moisture that is in meats and veggies, provide the colon beneficial moisture that is needed to keep the digestive system healthy.
The moisture content of their natural diet, meat, is around 70%. The moisture content of dry foods are around 10%. This is not adequate and your dog will actually live in a mild state of dehydration no matter how much water you mix in with the dry food.
You didn't mention any canned foods or fresh foods in his diet. If you do provide this then great. If you do not, I would highly suggest feeding a minimum of 50% moist type foods. This will get his moisture level up closer to what it should naturally be.
Of course the best diet in the world by far for any dog is a raw food based diet. This is what nature intended them to eat and thrive on. It has a high moisture content and contains the "live" nutrients that are destroyed when you cook or process foods.
There are now many raw food for dogs manufacturers who supply easy to feed and complete raw food meals. This is actually very economical as you feed less to your dog as more of the foods are absorbed better.
So foods in a bag or can have been cooked and processed. This destroyed the vital co-factors and thus creates a diet that is not complete.
You have to look at foods as either live or dead foods and not human or dog foods. We all eat most of the same things. The more processing you do to our foods the worst it is for us. Same goes for our dog foods.
The best dry dog food is still the worst diet for a dog.
Vets may tell you different. But you have to remember, vets are not trained in nutrition. They are trained in medicine. Most people make this mistake and continue to ask their vet about diet needs for their pets. If they had any schooling at all in nutrition, it is only about one quarter and that class is sponsored by the big grain based food companies.
You have to look at what makes sense for an animal to eat, their natural diet that is in no way intended for them to eat. If you go against nature, bad things usually happen. And if you look at the vet's offices now, they are filled with dogs with all kinds of newer and newer diseases. This is from a bad diet.
You didn't mention the brand of your food as that will make a big difference as well. Many commercial brands are full of junk and normally cause many health issues in dogs, especially as they get older. Their immune systems are weakened by the lack of live nutrients in their diet and diseases will usually take over.
At least 50% of all dogs will die of cancer after the age of 10. This is because they are fed an incomplete diet void of the live nutrients.
I don't mean to get so far off track to your question but they could literally be related. The high dose of fat could have triggered an immune response. Especially if he has only been on a dry diet and more importantly, what brand of dry.
I'll give you the basics dogs need and if you would like, get back to me and fill me in on the details of everything that is in his diet and brand names.
Basically, dogs need a high moisture, preferably grain free diet that includes either raw meats and veggies or at minimum, supplement with the live nutrients that are destroyed when foods are cooked.
The two main nutrients that are destroyed when foods are cooked is enzymes and probiotics. These are vital to good health and life.
I tell people almost everyday in our store, the number one thing anyone can do for their dog or cat is to include enzymes and probiotics with each meal.
We feed exclusively raw foods to our dogs and we still provide extra digestive enzymes and probiotics for better digestion.
The digestive system of dogs is the heart of their immune system. You must keep their digestive system strong. This will help keep degenerative type diseases from overpowering their immune system.
One of the best ones we found is through Animal Essentials. We sell a lot of it in our store. It's a MUST if you feed cooked foods and it also helps if you feed a raw diet.
It contains both enzymes and probiotics in one powder that you just sprinkle on each meal. Very simple but very powerful.
Enzymes are what breaks down the foods. If you don't provide this in their food, their own internal organs have to supply needed enzymes for digestion. This is called enzyme robbing and will effect internal organs over time.
Probiotics flourish in the intestinal system and help fight off diseases and help transport needed nutrients into the blood stream. Inadequate probiotics will allow the bad bacteria to overpower the good bacteria and that's what causes most diseases.
Again, this is off subject of your question but as I said before, it can all be related.
This extra thirst may be nothing at all and diminish over some time or it could be an onset of a disease coming on.
The best way in my advice to battle any potential problems is to make sure his diet is complete.
Besides the enzymes and probiotics, I would still add some fish type oils. Get a good salmon oil and give his a spoon every day.
Some greens like kelp help keep the immune system stronger.
I'm afraid there is no easy answer to your question. There are just too many things that might be going on. It is good that you had the blood test done. If things do not change soon, I would look at getting other diagnostic test done.
In the meantime, if you would like to get back to me with everything that is in his diet and include brand names, I can go over that and make further recommendations.
The thing about smaller dogs is that if you can, you don't need to feed a dry food. It is the most highest processed food for dogs and thus harder on their immune system. You can feed all good quality canned foods and of course add a few supplements to make them complete.
Stay away from any foods that contain wheat, corn, soy, by-products, gluten of any kind, animal far or digest, chemical preservatives and artificial coloring's. These are all crap and weaken the immune system.
Variety is best. Always switch up proteins and brands. The more variety in their diet, the stronger their immune system will be.
Let me know if you would like me to evaluate this further. As I said, just include everything that is in his diet, including treats and the brand names.