A lot of people know that dogs can become dehydrated when they are sick. But what some may not know is that there is another type of dehydration called psychogenic polydipsia in dogs, which causes the dog to drink more water than usual. This condition is often caused by anxiety or stress and it can be dangerous if left untreated.
This article will discuss this condition in depth so you can better understand how your dog feels when he/she has symptoms and what you should do about them.
What is Psychogenic Polydipsia in Dogs?
Psychogenic polydipsia (PP) is a disorder where a dog drinks an excessive amount of water due to stress or anxiety. “Poly” means “many” and “dipsia” means “to drink.”
It is a condition in which a dog compulsively drinks water. He feels the urge to drink and never stops even when he is satisfied and fully hydrated.
How Much Water Should You Be Giving Your Dog?
The average amount of drinking for dogs is about 1/2 to 2 cups per day. More precisely, healthy dogs normally need 50-60 ml water per kg body weight per day depending on the amount of moisture in their food, the temperature and humidity in a dog’s environment and their activity level.
Dogs usually urinate around 20-40 ml per kg of body weight per day. The balance between the loss and consumption of water results from the communication between the nervous center, the pituitary organ and the kidney and is maintained through thirst and the excretion of salt and water.
Polydipsia and Polyuria are often described together as these are linked to each other. Polydipsia is the excess of water intake, while Polyuria is the over production of urine. In short, polydipsia leads to Polyuria.
Polyuria causes salt washout. It occurs after a process lasting at least a few days. When a dog keeps on drinking water, the kidneys have to work more to eliminate it. Then a condition starts developing when some of the salts begin to eliminate through the urine. And in the end, all the salts get removed from the body.
We should remember that Psychogenic Polydipsia is not a disease. It is just a psychological disorder that can be cured easily. But if this issue is not addressed and lasts for a long time, it can become fatal for your dog.
Causes of Psychogenic Polydipsia in Dogs
For a long time, veterinarians have been puzzled about the causes of psychogenic polydipsia. Some believe it is caused by boredom or separation anxiety while others think that there may be an underlying medical condition.
Dogs will drink water excessively for hours on end, to the point where they are urinating much more often than usual due to their increased intake of fluids.
Drinking so much water can lead to health problems such as bladder infections, kidney disease, hypoglycemia and pancreatitis but this has not yet been confirmed conclusively with any evidence based studies because many factors contribute towards its cause including environmental factors.
Some possible reasons for this include:
· Inadequate hydration
· Anxiety and depression
· Increased thirst due to dry air or hot weather causing the body temperature to rise significantly
· Kidney diseases
· Genetics; some breeds such as Labrador retrievers are more prone to such condition
Diagnosis of Canine Psychogenic Polydipsia
Polydipsia is not so difficult to diagnose. Its diagnosis process involves:
- Provide your dog’s complete history of water drinking to the vet.
- Observation of the water drinking habits of dogs
- Vet may perform ultrasound (to check liver functioning) or hormonal tests
- Monitoring urine concentration before and after water intake restrictions
Treatment of Psychogenic Polydipsia in dogs basically depends is a function of the root cause of this disorder. We cannot use the same treatment for all dogs suffering from Psychogenic Polydipsia.
For example, there is a general belief that restricting water intake for the dog for some time can cure polydipsia, which is not true. If the dog has kidney failure, we have to allow him to drink water without any limitations.
But in Psychogenic Polydipsia, all dogs have some psychiatric issues and may need more attention and care. So they drink water to attract attention.
Following are the tips for treating psychogenic polydipsia:
Control Water Consumption
It is the first step that you should take to control psychogenic polydipsia after the diagnosis. It’s best to restrict access to all sources of water in and around the house.
If you have more than one animal in the house, give them water separately so that the dog suffering from Psychogenic Polydipsia will not drink from other bowls at once.
Do not allow the dog to go out of the house alone for an extended period of time because he may find a water source in the neighborhood.
Give time to your dog
When you own a pet, you should remember that you have to look after him. So, it would help if you plan your schedule in such a way that he is not ignored and left all by himself for a long period of time.
Try to find activities for your dog
As we have mentioned above, some dog breeds can easily get bored. They hate sitting idle. It would be best if you take time on a daily basis to go on a walk with them. In addition, search for new activities and games which will stimulate his intellect and get him to burn energy.
Always take your dog for a regular check-up
No matter how much you care, you still cannot find any psychological or physical disorder unless you take your dog to a vet for a regular check-up regularly. You will stay updated about his health and fitness and prevent developing conditions to get out of hand.
Psychogenic Polydipsia in dogs can appear to be an insignificant issue and a dog owner may not feel the need to get his dog examined and his condition evaluated.
But it is not that simple a disorder. It can become a serious health condition that can be very harmful to the dog. So it is very important to take quick action, whether it is physical or psychological condition.
Treating psychogenic polydipsia can be more challenging as its symptoms may not always be so clear and you may focus on the wrong signs. In other words, you may be looking for a physical dysfunction instead of observing the dog’s psyche.