Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Back to results
Enter Your Information All fields are required

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

*Please note: Questions submitted and the answers will appear on our website as a benefit to all pet owners. Please make sure not to include any personal information in the box where you enter your question.

Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Thank you! Your question has been submitted.

You will receive an answer from Dr. Dym and our vet/tech team as soon as possible, usually the same day.

All answers are provided for informational or educational purposes only, and are intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your pet's veterinarian.

It may be necessary to consult your pet's veterinarian regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your pet's symptoms or medical condition.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Oops! Your question has not been submitted.

An error has occurred, please reload the page and try again.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Got questions? Ask Dr. Dym & our Vet Team:

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

Do these answer your question?
Showing of | See All
Have another question, or can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
We're Sorry!

There is no answer related to your question

Can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
Category Hide All Show All

Water Intoxication In Pets

We worry about our pets drinking enough water, but did you know that it’s possible for them to drink too much?

Though rare, water intoxication is a fatal condition usually associated with pets that play in and around water and those that participate in sports on hot summer days.

When a pet drinks too much water, their kidneys are unable to filter it properly, releasing water into the blood. The excess water dilutes electrolytes, essential minerals like sodium and potassium that regulate the central nervous system and aid muscle function. It can also cause cells in the brain to swell. In severe cases, water intoxication can cause seizures, coma and death.

Why Pets Might Drink Too Much Water
Most of the time, cats and dogs will not drink more water than they need. They usually do not drink enough water to stay adequately hydrated.

In general, excessive water drinking is usually a sign that your pet may have a chronic illness like diabetes, kidney disease, or hypothyroidism. If your pet has started drinking a lot, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

For dogs, outdoor sports in hot weather go hand-in-hand with water intoxication. Border collies, Jack Russell Terriers, and other high drive dogs seem more prone to it because they may continue playing even when they feel sick. Small dogs, puppies, and lean athletic dogs have a low body mass, which also puts them at greater risk of drinking a large amount of water in proportion to their size.

Preventing Water Intoxication In Pets
On a hot day, your pet may drink water excessively and still feel thirsty because they’re low on electrolytes. An electrolyte-boosting beverage can quench thirst more effectively than water and prevent the electrolyte imbalance associated with water intoxication.

Anytime your pet might drink too much water, take breaks to offer them an electrolyte-boosting, pet-appropriate beverage like dilated coconut water, bone broth, or a made-for-pets electrolyte solution. Unflavored, unsweetened electrolyte drinks for kids, found at most pharmacies, are also safe for pets.

Pets generally need an ounce of fluid per pound of body weight per day. On hot days, they may need a bit more to stay hydrated. Dogs and cats sweat through their paw-pads, and they also lose water through panting and licking themselves to cool down.

It’s impossible to tell exactly how much water your pet is drinking when they go swimming or play with the garden hose. If your pet spends time in or around water, be sure to take breaks and give them opportunities to urinate.

Symptoms Of Water Intoxication In Pets
In the early stages of water intoxication, your pet may vomit and seem disoriented. However, your pet may not show symptoms until their condition becomes more advanced. Seizures, brain damage, coma, and death can result in severe cases. Potential water intoxication should be considered a medical emergency.