Content Reviewed by an Essentials PetCare Veterinarian

Maybe you’ve noticed your dog having accidents in the house or lapping their water bowl dry. Is this a cause for concern? What causes excessive thirst and urination in dogs?

Here’s what you need to know.

Don’t Assume that It’s Bad Behavior

Polydipsia and polyuria may sound like countries you forgot to memorize in social studies class, but they’re actually quite common conditions in dogs: excessive thirst and excessive urination. 

Many dog parents like to make light of it when their pup pees in the house years after being house-broken. “She gets mad at me when I go on vacation!” “He’s getting revenge for when I wouldn’t feed him table scraps!”

The truth, however, is that dogs don’t want to urinate in their home zone, which includes their bedding. So scolding your pup – or any kind of positive or negative behavior training – probably won’t work. It’s a better strategy to look for underlying medical conditions. This often calls for a visit to your veterinarian.

What kinds of issues could it be?

Bladder, Kidney, or Liver Problems

Often bladder, kidney, or liver problems are what causes excessive thirst and urination in dogs. In fact, dogs may be responding to any number of bladder problems that make the sensation of urination quite urgent, even when it’s really not. These can include:

  • Bladder infection
  • Bladder stones
  • Kidney infection
  • Kidney stones
  • Bladder or kidney tumors

The excessive need to drink water may also stem from issues with these vital organs:

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver disease

While this list may sound a bit daunting, a visit to your veterinarian for an exam and necessary tests will get to the root of the symptoms. It can actually be a blessing in disguise. Infections of this kind can spread to the blood, so catching it from early symptoms will keep your pup safe and healthy in the long run.

Hormonal Imbalances

Your dog may be experiencing a hormonal disorder, leading to their unusual need to pee. This may be due to increased hormone levels from the thyroid or kidneys.

Diuretic Medications

Some medications cause increased thirst. Check to see if this is one of the side effects of any medication that your dog is taking right now.

Urinary Incontinence

Some female dogs develop this as they age. It happens when muscles around the urethra begin to loosen over time. When seen, this conditions usually occurs in middle-aged to older female dogs, but it can actually occur at any age in spayed dogs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the incidence of this condition is low, so the health benefits of spaying your dog still outweigh the chances of developing urinary incontinence.


In female dogs who have not been spayed, they may display urinary incontinence if their uterus becomes infected

Prostate Gland Disease

In male dogs, their desire to over-hydrate and pee in inconvenient places may occur due to a disease of the prostate gland. This may especially be the case if the dog has not been neutered. Your veterinarian will be able to run tests to see if this is the cause.

Seek Veterinary Help

As you can see, learning what causes excessive thirst and urination in dogs can be incredibly important to your pup’s overall health. That’s why you should always start with a veterinary exam if you notice your pup struggling to keep up with water or their bathroom needs. Your veterinarian will be able to help you trace the cause of this problem – and find the right treatment for your dog.

Need veterinary care that’s quick, convenient, and affordable? Visit your nearby Essentials PetCare clinic location. Our same-day visits work for your schedule and your budget – and get your pup on the track to health!

Essential Tip: Our Urinary Package may be just what your pup needs to help with their excessive thirst and urination. It includes diagnostics, a veterinary exam, and treatment recommendations for just $80.


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