Ever wondered about the mechanics of how your dog drinks water?

If you’ve ever stood near a dog drinking water for very long you’ll have noticed how it seems they can get as much water outside of the bowl as that which apparently makes it in to their mouth. The fast lapping action. The rhythmic scooping of fluids. I’ve even got a dog who drinks in triplets – 1,2,3 – 1,2,3 – 1,2,3 and repeat. But what’s actually going on? Here, have a look for yourself:

“We know cats and dogs are quite different in terms of behavior and character,” said Sunghwan “Sunny” Jung, a study author and an associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech who conducted a study in to how dogs and cats drink water. “But before we did fundamental studies of how these animals drink fluids, our guess was dogs and cats drink about the same way. Instead we found out that dogs drink quite differently than cats.”.

The findings of the study showed that dogs use their tongues a lot faster than cats.

Dogs have to rapidly plunge their tongues in and out of the fluid in order to get their fill, whereas cats use a more smooth action, simply skimming the surface to take on board the water they desire.

“Cats tend be viewed as neater, dogs are messier [raised dog bowls might combat mess], but dogs really have to accelerate their tongues to exploit the fluid dynamics of the water column,” said researcher Sean Gart, a Virginia Tech graduate student.

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