Why you should measure how much your pet drinks - Dr. Marty Becker

Why you should measure how much your pet drinks

Thursday, Jul 14th, 2016 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Thirsty yellow labrador retriever is drinking water from bowl.

I’m a huge advocate of using water fountains for both dogs and cats. Fountains keep the water well oxygenated and encourages pets to drink more. This is especially important for cats, as having originated as desert dwellers, they tend not to drink enough and can easily become dehydrated. Dehydration can have serious medical consequences.

Most pet owners just fill their pets water bowls or reservoirs up each day without noting if they are having to fill it up more frequently, or if the remaining water is at a lower level than it normally is.

At Almost Heaven Ranch, we use a drinking fountain for our pets. Rather than just fill the fountain reservoir from the faucet, we use a measuring pitcher so we can precisely track how much water they’re drinking.

It’s normal for pets to increase their water consumption for these reasons:

Exercise. Physical exertion ranging from a brisk walk to chasing a tennis ball can cause them to drink more water.

Temperature variations. Pets will drink more water when temperatures are warmer — indoor or out!

Medications. Steroids for skin problems, or some meds like Alprazolam for anxiety, can make pets thirsty.

The reason we’re monitoring water consumption is to catch sustained changes in water consumption that could indicate a medical issue such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or Cushing’s. As a veteran veterinarian, I know when a pet owner comes in and says  their pet is drinking and urinating more, we have a problem.

Don’t cheat your pet out of this early warning system. Measure their water intake!