15 December 2015

Why Dogs Are Such Messy Drinkers >> by Alfredo Carpineti

photo credit: Dogs have to lap up water because
they don't have cheeks like us
There are scientific reasons why dogs make a mess when they drink. As animals adapted to biting they lack full cheeks, which is important as it stops them from creating suction like we do, meaning they have to lap up water. Also, dogs are useless with straws.
The process has been observed in slow motion before, but a team from Virginia Tech was able for the first time to produce a physical model showing exactly how dogs drink. By quickly hitting the water with their tongue and then retracing it, they generate a column of water that they can easily close their mouth around.  

The team recorded tongue motion and measured the height of the water column. Large dogs accelerate their tongues to around 4 g (four times Earth’s gravitational acceleration), and smaller dogs to about 2 g. The researchers used slow-motion cameras and laboratory simulations to understand how the fluid is raised. A dog drinking might appear messy in our eyes, but in fact every action is quick and precisely timed.

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