Can a Dog’s Food Lead to Increased Urination?

by VetDepot on July 12, 2013

dog food and increased urination editedYour dog’s increased urination can be puzzling, but it’s no reason to panic. It is, however, reason enough to see your vet, who’ll check for liver, kidney, and urinary tract problems. When there’s no medical explanation for increased urination, your dog’s food may actually be to blame. This is especially true if symptoms coincide with a change in dog food. Keep an eye on your pet’s water intake, too, and note whether the increase in water consumption is occurring right after meals.

Do You Feed Your Dog Canned Food?

There’s more moisture in canned dog food than you might realize. While the moisture content generally ranges from 6 to 10 percent in dry kibble and from 15 to 30 percent in semi-moist food, the moisture content of wet canned food is usually 75 percent. This contributes a significant amount of water to your dog’s diet, and it can be quite a lot for a puppy or small breed.

Is Your Dog’s Food Too Salty?

Your dog gets extra thirsty from eating salty foods just like you do. If your dog is eating commercial or homemade food that’s high in sodium, lapping up water after a meal would make sense. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) only sets a minimum recommended sodium content level, not a maximum, mostly because dogs excrete sodium via their urine and high intake isn’t associated with health problems in canines. Maintenance dog foods should contain at least 0.3 percent sodium (dry matter basis). Stick to food with a sodium content close to this.

Maybe you’re thinking, “but doesn’t salt make the body retain water?” Yes, it does, but only to a limited degree, and only temporarily. All that water your dog drinks has to come out, and it will. If your dog is drinking a lot of water after each meal, a cycle of increased urination will begin eventually.

Does Your Dog Have a Food Sensitivity?

Dogs sometimes have food intolerances or allergies. Although these are often used interchangeably, they are different. A food intolerance is the digestive system’s inability to properly break down a particular component of food. Often, it’s an absent or insufficient digestive enzyme causing the problem; for example, a dog that is lactose intolerant doesn’t have enough of the lactose enzyme to digest lactose. Other times, irritable bowel syndrome or a digestive disorder causes an intolerance. Alternately, food allergies are a malfunction of the immune system. The immune system mistakenly identifies a protein as a threat and acts against it.

Both food intolerances and food allergies cause symptoms that may make your dog increase water consumption. They can irritate the mouth and throat, trigger reflux or digestive discomfort, or prompt vomiting or diarrhea, all of which may trigger your dog to drink and urinate more. If you notice any such symptoms after your dog eats, or if a rash, hives, or facial swelling develops, talk to your vet about a food elimination diet to uncover any food sensitivities.

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