Do Certain Dog Foods Make a Dog Urinate a Lot?

by Jon Mohrman
Food that makes dogs thirsty can increase water consumption and urination.

Food that makes dogs thirsty can increase water consumption and urination.

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Certain dog foods can make your dog urinate a lot for a few different reasons. If your pet's increased peeing coincided with a change in food, consider these possible explanations. However, increased thirst and urination may stem from a medical problem, so consult your vet. Kidney and liver disease, diabetes, urinary tract infections, adrenal and thyroid dysfunction, malnutrition, electrolyte imbalances and other health concerns need to be ruled out.

Canned Food

Canned food may provide a simple explanation for why your dog is peeing a lot. The typical dry kibble for dogs has only 6 to 10 percent moisture while the standard moisture content for wet canned food is 75 percent. If you feed your dog canned food -- especially exclusively and especially for puppies and small breeds -- it's contributing a considerable amount of water to your pet's daily intake. More water in requires more water out, of course.

Food Sensitivities

Dogs sometimes suffer from food sensitivities. Food allergies are one type, caused by an inappropriate immune system response to compounds in food. Food intolerances are another type, differing from allergies in that they are a digestive problem resulting from inadequate digestive enzymes, irritable bowel disorders or other causes. If your pet food contains an ingredient to which your dog has a sensitivity, her symptoms may prompt her to drink more, and thus to urinate more. Digestive upset, throat itchiness, diarrhea, vomiting and other effects of exposure to offending foods may be to blame. If you notice these symptoms or other digestive problems, itchy skin, rashes, hives, facial swelling or other causes for concern, consult your vet about initiating a diet of exclusion to diagnose sensitivities.

Salty Food

Like lots of processed, packaged human foods, many pet foods are high in sodium. Salt is famous for its ability to make anyone, human or animal, quite thirsty. While the Association of American Feed Control Officials sets nutritional guidelines for minimum sodium content in dog food, it doesn't suggest a maximum value. Check your pet food label to see if the sodium content goes well beyond the recommended minimum; if so, it's probably salty enough to make your dog drink a lot and then pee a lot. Standard adult dog foods should have a sodium content of at least 0.06 percent. For puppies and pregnant or nursing dogs, food should have a sodium content of at least 0.3 percent. Remember, this is a dry matter basis; because canned food is only 25 percent dry matter, multiply the sodium content by 4 to get the true value.

When Is It A Lot?

Sometimes it's hard to know whether your dog is peeing to the point of it being excessive. There's no definitive answer for how often or how much your dog should pee; it varies based on so many individual factors, including her age, size, weight, sex, breed, diet, water intake, general health and more. Typically, the smaller the dog, the more frequently she'll pee. On average, healthy dogs pee 10 to 20 milliliters of urine per pound of body weight every day, released in three to five trips to the bathroom. If you're concerned about how much or how often your dog is relieving herself, it's time for a trip to the vet. He can determine whether the concern is justified and how best to proceed diagnosing the cause.

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About the Author

Jon Mohrman has been a writer and editor for more than seven years. He specializes in food, travel and health topics. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for English literature and San Francisco State University for creative writing.

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