What are some of the side effects of prednisone in dogs? My dog is drinking water excessively.

Original Question: The vet prescribed 20 mg of prednisone once a day for a possible problem with my 80 lb. Golden Retriever. I know prednisone makes them thirsty, but he’s drinking 1.5 gallons of water per day. He’ll be on the prednisone until Jan 8th. Can that much water harm him in any way? - Earl

What are some of the side effects of prednisone in dogs? My dog is drinking water excessively. Dec 27, 2018

Hi Earl,

Thanks for your question.

It would be against license regulations for me to discuss the use of medication for your dog since I am not the referring veterinarian and I have never evaluated your dog before.

However, I can tell you general information about prednisone. It is a common steroid and it is used alone or in combination for the treatment of many types of ailments.

Based on weight and dosage, I can tell you that your dog is on a dose that is within the safety limits and is within a commonly used range for treatment. Many practitioners try to use the minimum effective dose of prednisone, meaning they try to reduce the dose to the lowest amount while still controlling or treating the condition. A general strategy for using prednisone is also that the dose is slowly lowered over days or weeks and the patient is ‘weaned’ off the medication under the direction of your veterinarian once treatment has been successful or when prednisone use in the treatment plan is no longer required.

Right now you are seeing some of the side effects of steroid treatment, which is: excessive water intake (polydipsia), excessive urination (polyuria), increased appetite (polyphagia), inconsistent energy level (lethargy), increased respiratory rate (panting), among others.

My recommendation is that you call your veterinarian to report these symptoms and discuss the treatment plan with them in conjunction with how your dog’s condition is responding to the treatment.

I hope this helps. Good luck.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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