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Dog drinking less water.

Species: Dog
Breed: Lab Mix
Age: 2-5 years
Over the past week, my dog has been drinking less water than usual. She usually drinks about 2 cups per day in addition to the water I put in her kongs (which I freeze), and in her dinner (about an additional 1/2 cup).

Everything else has been normal (appetite, energy levels), so I assumed that she was less thirsty, even though the weather has gotten warmer. She is not acting lethargic, and I've tried the dehydration test where you pull the skin around a dog's neck up and see how quickly it snaps back. Hers snaps back immediately.

I visited my dad this weekend, which is 3 hours away by car. Travel always makes Honey a bit stressed, and she was somewhat constipated yesterday (much smaller stools than usual, although she did still poop). This returned to normal on our walk this morning.

While we were away, her urination seemed normal, but then this morning, she peed much less than she normally does. Maybe just about enough to fill a shot glass? It was a bit paler than usual, too, although definitely still yellow.

This concerns and perplexes me because when we got home last night around 10pm last night she drank water, which she normally doesn't do before bed (but, we had just been in the car for 3 hours driving home), and still she produced such a small volume of urine this morning. Her morning pee is usually her biggest/most concentrated one of the day.

On the rest of our walk she did her normal "marking" pees, which is just a tiny sprinkle when she smells where another dog has gone. She has always done this.

She does not seem to be in any pain, and her urine does not smell any different from usual, although the possibility of a UTI has crossed my mind, although I thought that would make her drink more water, not less.

I have an appointment for a regular wellness check up for her tomorrow (Tuesday) evening because she is due for a heartowrm check, annual bloodwork, urinalysis, and a I imagine if there are issues, we will discover them then. I made this appointment a while ago, before these symptoms started.

However, if these symptoms sound more urgent, I will take her in sooner. Could producing less urine be a symptom of kidney failure? Is it normal for her to be drinking less water even though the weather is warmer?

If it is something that can wait until tomorrow, I will happily do so, but if you think it is urgent, please let me know!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi and thanks for your detailed question. Nothing you have written really has me too concerned which is good news.

I don't usually get worried about a dog drinking less water than usual unless it is combined with obvious signs of sickness.

Most forms of kidney issues will cause an increase in thirst, not a decrease. Also, you would be seeing a great increase in the amount of urine produced as opposed to less.

Very severe acute kidney failure can cause a dog to produce tiny amounts of urine. But, dogs with this condition would be very very sick, not eating and not wanting to move at all.

I have had some cases where a dog didn't want to drink because there was a pain issue such as a dental problem or a neck problem where the dog didn't want to lower her head to the bowl. However, usually these dogs show other signs of discomfort.

I am guessing that Honey is just fine. Seeing as she is in tomorrow, I would definitely mention it to the vet. They may want to check her urine which is not a bad idea, but I would be very surprised if there is an issue.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thanks for your reassurance! The reason I asked the question is because it is hard to find any information about decreased thirst in dogs online (everyone says an increase in thirst is a clear sign of a problem!).

On our subsequent walks today she seemed to be producing more urine, so I'm hoping it's just a change in response to recent stresses/weather. She still hasn't been drinking much, but I added extra water to her dinner and she drank that. It seems like she just isn't seeking out water to drink, but she's not resisting it.

I'm definitely going to mention it to the vet tomorrow. A urinalysis is part of their "Adult Wellness Package", so that's going to be done anyway, and I'm glad because it will give me peace of mind.

I thought she might have some pain in her mouth, but I brush her teeth every night and she hasn't shown any signs of discomfort/resistance. As far as a neck problem - I certainly hope that isn't it. She's been very active, so I will be surprised, but hopefully I'm just being paranoid about all of this (I live in Boston, and this past week left us all in a highly anxious state).

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I will be very surprised if there is a problem. :)
Hope your visit goes well.

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.