I have been told that if you catch a dog drinking their urine it's a sign that they might have Cushing's disease. What is Cushing's disease and why would it cause dogs to drink their urine?

1 Answer 1


Cushing's Disease (or Syndrome, which is the symptoms) is also known as Hyperadrenocorticism which, according to Merck is a illness that is either a result of:

  1. Enlargement of the pituitary gland as a result of a benign tumor and this results in excessive production of adrenocorticotropic hormone.
  2. Cancer of the adrenal glands.

Symptoms, in either case, commonly include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urine output
  • Increased hunger or appetite
  • Heat intolerance
  • Enlarged belly
  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Repeated urinary tract infections

So, why might it be a sign of Cushing's Disease when a dog drinks it's own urine? That would be a consequence of the first symptom I mentioned: extreme thirst. A dog that is extremely thirsty and has insufficient water resources may resort to drinking its own urine to help rehydrate.

Treatments are available, though they're not something you would administer at home. The actual treatment really depends on the source of the syndrome, but may include surgical intervention or radiation therapy.

  • Treatments can be administered at home. I had a dog with Cushing's who was treated with Trilostane, though we did go in for monthly vet visits to adjust his medication and check his levels. Cushing's Disease is very commonly associated with dachshunds.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 17:01
  • @JoshDM - Benign tumor I would guess? Cancerous growth would normally be very medical.
    – Joanne C
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 17:29

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