Water, water…

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Your Dog expert Vicky Payne helps a worried reader understand the possible reasons for her Golden Retriever drinking water excessively.

Q: Recently, my nine-year-old, neutered Golden Retriever has been drinking water excessively. It’s been slowly getting worse, and then, the other day, after emptying her water bowl, she went into the garden and started drinking from the puddles.

As a consequence, she has been weeing a lot and wetting herself in her sleep. Apart from this, she is her usual happy self; she sleeps and eats well.

I have taken her to my vet who took blood tests to check for kidney failure, but these came back clear. She is now having a urine sample analysed. Any ideas on what this might be?

Catherine Leggit, Staffordshire.

A: Vicky says: Common causes of excessive thirst and urination include kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, and Cushing’s disease. Hopefully your vet has done comprehensive blood tests and ruled all of these out. 

Urinary infections can also increase urination. Less common causes include medullary washout (where excess drinking makes it impossible for the kidneys to concentrate urine) and diabetes insipidus (a lack of antidiuretic hormone in the kidneys). Very occasionally I have seen older dogs with cognitive function start to drink excessively because they forget they have already had a drink, or as a repetitive behaviour to cope with stress.

If the urine test doesn’t provide an answer, ask for referral to a medical specialist who will be used to making more unusual diagnoses.