Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Dog Lapping Only Seems Sloppy

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Dog Lapping Only Seems Sloppy

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Dogs' method of drinking isn't as sloppy as it looks, say researchers at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering.

Using photography and laboratory simulations, researchers studied how dogs raise fluids into their mouths. They discovered that sloppy-looking actions at the dog bowl are in fact high-speed, precisely timed movements. Their discovery appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers also discovered that feline and canine drinking methods are as different as cats and dogs. Neither dogs nor cats have full cheeks, so they can't create suction to drink--as do people, horses, and elephants. Instead, they use their tongues to quickly raise water through a process involving inertia.

Dogs accelerate their tongues much faster than cats, plunging them into the water and curling them downward. They quickly retract their tongues, and a column of water forms and rises into their mouths, but they also curl the underside of their tongues to bring a tiny ladle of water upward. Dogs precisely bite down to capture the water. …

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