Dogs are audacious optimists. They do every little thing with enthusiasm and verve—manners be damned. Drinking water is no exception, and anyone who has ever seen a dog lap from its water bowl on a hot summer day knows they are willing to loudly splash their way to hydration. But how does the water get from bowl to mouth?
In 2014, a team of researchers led by Virginia Tech’s Sunny Jung used high-speed cameras to film dogs as they drank water from a bowl. They examined the slow-motion footage and were able to study the mechanics behind a thirsty dog’s tongue.
As Discover magazine reported, “dogs curve their tongues backwards in a ladle-shape … When they rip their tongues out of the water, they cause a significant amount of acceleration—about five times that of gravity.”
Because dogs don’t have cheeks, they can’t create suction. To compensate, their tongues slap the water and pull it toward their maw in the form of a liquid column. As this water is suspended in mid-air, they chomp down on it and swallow, repeating the process until they’re satisfied.
This tactic is very much like the one performed by cats. Unsurprisingly, felines are slightly more graceful and fastidious in their drinking habits. A cat gently dips its tongue into a beverage and neatly pulls a thin column of liquid into its mouth. The result is silent and splash-free:
Silent and splash free? The world's benevolent union of thirsty dogs kindly inquires: Where's the fun in that?
[h/t: Discover Magazine]