Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Yes, excessive thirst is a worrying sign. You should take your dog to your vet for examination and possibly a blood test. If you take a fresh urine sample with you it may aid diagnosis. The most common reason of excessive thirst is kidney or liver diseases, diabetes, hormonal imbalances or even a tumour.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Excessively drinking water.

Many dogs will drink water until just before death and some will even show increased thirst in dogs. Don`t assume your dog is well because he is still drinking. Evaluate other signs and behaviors for a more accurate assessment.

Although it depends on your dog`s size, activity level and age, the general rule of thumb is that dogs need to drink between 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per 10 pounds, meaning a 50-pound dog needs between 42 and 84 ounces of liquid refreshment to stay happy and hydrated.
Increased water intake and weight loss are definitely cause for concern, and should prompt a visit to your veterinarian for an exam and blood tests. The two leading causes of these signs together would be kidney failure and diabetes mellitus.
Symptoms of over-hydration (water intoxication) include staggering/loss of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death.
Increased water intake can be a sign of many different conditions. Kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, and Cushing`s disease are the most common causes in senior dogs. Increased water consumption may also be seen with dehydration, however, this condition may be seen in dogs of all ages.
As your beloved pooch ages, their habits change. Many senior dogs eat and walk less, but sleep and drink more. Depending on the climate of your city and the temperature of your house, your dog may naturally drink a lot of water.
Limit their water supply.

You`ll have to refill their water bowl a lot, but if you only give them small amounts at a time, they can`t drink too much all at once. You`ll find some DIY ways online to slow down your dog like putting a large ball in their water bowl, so they have to drink around it.

Why Is My Dog Drinking Lots of Water and Licking Their Paws? These signs together can be caused by dehydration, allergies, pain, or even behavioral issues, including anxiety, stress, or cognitive dysfunction (the dog version of dementia).
When it comes to the possibility of their own death, they are at least aware that they are not feeling well or are sick. They can also sense our levels of stress and know that something is wrong. However, canine companions are not as self-assessing as humans about death.
Cushing`s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) is a serious health condition in dogs that occurs when the adrenal glands overproduce cortisol (cortisone) in the animal`s body. Excess cortisol can put a dog at risk of several serious conditions and illnesses, from kidney damage to diabetes, and can be life-threatening.
As a rule of thumb, remove the food and water bowls about two-to-three hours before bedtime. So, if your lights-out time is at 11 p.m., a puppy should have no food or water after about 8–8:30 p.m. This gives you a chance to take him out for a one last potty break before settling in for the night.
There are many disorders of the respiratory system that can lead to breathing difficulties and panting in older dogs. Some of the most common include laryngeal paralysis, pyothorax, lung tumours, bronchitis and pneumonia.
If your dog is having increased thirst at night, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will perform an extensive examination of your companion including a complete blood count, urine and fecal analysis, and overall wellness profile to check for abnormalities or infection.
You must continually monitor your dog`s food and water intake. Both should return to a normal level. Water intake should be less than 1 ounce per pound (66 ml per kilogram) of body weight per day, but do not limit the water if your dog needs to drink more.
Dogs have several reasons for staring at their owners, like to communicate with and understand us. Some dogs stare to manipulate owners, as in with begging for food or asking to be let outside. Training and dog sports are good ways to turn focused staring behavior into a positive experience.
As a pet owner you can choose whether you want your dog to have a natural death or to ease his suffering by putting him to sleep. Choose what feels right for you and your dog. Euthanasia is when a veterinarian gives an overdose of a sedative, usually the injectable pentobarbital.
The final transition to death comes when a dog`s organs shut down, they stop breathing, and their heart stops beating. Once breathing and heartbeat have stopped for 30 minutes after a natural death, pet parents can be assured that their dog has passed away.
Bad breath – Breath that smells like an outhouse can be seen in the advanced stages of renal failure in dogs. This is a result of the toxins that build up in the blood.
Seeking Comfort

Dogs may become clingier when they begin approaching the end of their lives. They likely won`t feel well and some dogs will look to their owners for comfort.

According to Dr. Brian Hare, a canine cognition specialist, our dogs do know we love them. Dogs and humans have the ability to form a special neural connection. This connection is the same human oxytocin bonding pathway used by parents and babies.
Cushing`s disease in elderly dogs doesn`t mean they can`t continue to lead a quality life even after diagnosis. Since there is no known cure for the disease, the best a pet parent can do is care for their pooch through managing and lessening symptoms and pouring out affection for their long-time best friend.
If your dog`s appetite, hydration, hygiene, skin health, and sleep are all affected, the quality of life has dramatically decreased due to Cushing`s disease. At that point (or even before) it may be time to consider euthanasia as the kindest decision.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. My dog drinks a lot of water, should I worry?
ANSWER : A. Firstly, you should quantify if your dog is actually drinking an excessive amount of water. In a 24 hour period, a dog should drink about 1 fluid ounce (or 30mL) per pound of body weight. Therefore, the recommended amount of water intake (in fluid ounces) equals your dog’s weight (in pounds). For example, if your dog weighs 8 pounds, he/she should drink about a cup of water in a 1 hour period. This will be slightly increased if your dog gets a lot of physical activity or lives outdoors.

You can measure your dog’s water intake the following way: in the morning, measure a specific amount, a little bit more than you think he/she will drink. 24 hours later, measure the remaining amount. If the amount of water your dog drank is significantly greater than it should be, then you should take your dog to a veterinarian.

Causes for mildly increased water consumption include: food changes, increased ambient and body temperature, increased activity, urinary tract infection, and general illness.

Common causes for greatly increased water consumption include: diabetes, urinary tract infection, kidney disease, steroid use, and other systemic diseases. With large increases in water consumption, you will also usually see increased urination. Please take note of urinary patterns to discuss with your vet. Greatly increased drinking and urination is ALWAYS a reason to see a vet.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. My cocker spaniel is 9 years old. He has involuntary bowel movements (little drops) very frequently, especially when he is asleep.
ANSWER : A. Is your dog on a senior dog food? I would get your dog on a high quality high protien dog food. Ask a pet store assosicate or your regular vet for a food recommendation. When you buy a better food the dog will have to eat less to get the same amount of energy from the food. The dog has to eat more of the cheaper foods to get the energy it needs from it. Meaning more poop and buying more food. So the cost really evens out. So the lessen your dogs bowel movements get on a better senior dog food. Next talk to your vet they may have a recommendation. If you switch dogs do it slowly by mixing the foods. Start with 10% new 90% old mixed for at least a week until you have switched to 100% new 0% old. Senior foods have more fiber to help with bowel movements. Take the dog outside to go potty more frequently, right before bed time.

Read Full Q/A … : Symptoms Questions & Answers

Q. Can I give my dog ice water to drink?
ANSWER : A. Yes, of course you can. However, you do not want to give ice water to your dog when he is already overheating. If your dog is panting, shallow breaths, vomiting, displaying gums of a different color, having diarrhea, or lethargic, do not give him ice water. Ice, ice water, and very cold water all shock your dogs system, and constrict the blood vessels, making your dog hotter in-turn. It could turn deadly.

If your dog is acting normal, and in a cool room, feel free to give him some ice water, or ice cubes! There a fun treat, and you have nothing to worry about. It’s truly only when they’re very hot, or overheating.

FYI, if the dogs are vomiting, panting with shallow breaths, having diarrhea, etc.. please see a vet immediately.

Q. My Beagle listens to me, but cries & whines when I’m gone & doesn’t listen to my parents. I adopted him just a couple days ago. Any tips for my folks?
ANSWER : A. I really highly doubt that your Beagle listens to you and has formed a connection with you in just a couple of days. It takes months to build up any kind of serious connection with your dog. You need to work on communication with your dog through training them to understand different cues. For instance the Leave-It cue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

You have to work on bonding with your dog through mental stimulation. Training is very important. Luring each new behavior from scratch, and training using treats is how you form a strong bond with your new dog. No scolding is ever necessary… work on being calm, and positive, all the time.

If your dog is crying/whining when you leave, this may be separation anxiety. You’re going to have to separation train this dog from scratch. This dog needs to learn that separation can be a good thing! Tell your “folks” to NOT scold the dog when he is crying/whining after you leave, because that will make your dog MORE anxious when you leave next time. Your dog will be dwelling on the negative if your parents fuel your dogs negative feelings towards you leaving. FUN things should happen when you leave. Your parents should pull out the treats and start doing some basic obedience training with your dog. Your parents should stuff a Kong filled with awesome treats (peanut butter) and give it to him so he feels happy when you leave.

I have some excellent separation anxiety exercises you can work on. If you’d like, you can purchase a consultation with me, and I will go over how to separation train from scratch. It will make your dog comfortable being alone, guaranteed.

Read Full Q/A … : I Don't Like My Mother

Q. My 4 yr old male Catahoula Leopard Dog mix is a rescue. He’s become very possessive of me around larger dogs. How can I correct this behavior?
ANSWER : A. Sudden behavior changes can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue, so scheduling a checkup with your regular vet is always the first step. Once any health issues have been addressed, then you can address the behavioral ones. It is very common for dogs to become “possessive” of people or objects when around other dogs or people, and is called location guarding. Possession of objects or places can be a little easier to manage, however possession around other dogs can be treated as well. Working from a distance in a technique called BAT or Behavioral Adjustment Training may help. This technique involves your dog and another calm dog. Start off at a far distance and then move in until your dog becomes reactive or wary of the other dog. Move back a small amount and wait for your dog to become calm. If he shows calm behavior, reward with lots of praise, treats and love! If he becomes agitated or possessive, move back until he is calm, or stop the session completely and try again later. While this may take some time, it can help dogs learn that other dogs are not a threat to them or their people. Reading more information about BAT training or contacting a local trainer in your area can help with further advice and techniques!