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My dog and cat are gooood drinkers!

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Hot HOT UAE. And the more water our pets drink, the better. Right?!

Well, possibly not. Believe it or not, the "good drinker" cat and dog might be drinking too much, and this might be going unnoticed because we pet owners are thinking "the more, the better". Yet excessive drinking, or insatiable thirst (called polydipsia), even in our hot and dry climate, could indicate an underlying illness for which there are as yet no other symptoms. In other words, with a keen eye and not too much worrying, how much your pet is drinking might be one way for you to keep an eye on their health. And don't let us make you paranoid - this really is not a prevalent issue which should cause you great concern; it's merely a potential issue about which it would be good to be aware.

So, what is a "normal" amount of water in a day? Well, depending on diet, activity levels, age and ambient temperature, most mammals require between 40 and 60 millilitres of water/fluid per kilogram of personal weight per day. (By the way, it's interesting to realise that a dog or cat eating dry food only would likely drink more than one eating wet food only because the wet food itself supplies a portion of your pet's fluid requirement.) A good rule of thumb is that if she's drinking more than 50ml/kg/day, it is very possibly excessive.

Monitoring all this probably seems daunting, but in fact it's quite simple to do a reassuring spot-check. Just make sure that you give your pets measured bowls of water to drink each day so that you can literally see the results when you next fill the bowl. With dogs (and possibly cats too) it can be a little more difficult because Rover the Romper may be getting into toilet bowls, fountains, sprinklers and pools, but access to these sources can be temporarily and usually fairly easily controlled until you have a sense of the water consumption. Also, related to this is that cats and dogs with polydipsia will also urinate more frequently (called polyuria), which itself can also be an important indicator of illness.

But which diseases cause polydipsia, you ask? Well there's a mystery we unfortunately just don't have space for in this column (are you on the edge of your seat?). As we said, this is not something we want you to worry about. Instead, just take in this little bit of info, possibly do a spot-check, and if you're suspicious of a problem, visit your vet.

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