Mesmerizing Slow Motion Footage Reveals How Dogs Really Drink
There's no easier way to work up a thirst than playing in the park, romping around the living room and doling out sloppy kisses - in other words, things dogs do all day, every day. It only makes sense that nature has given our beloved canine companions an efficient way to stay hydrated. But until recently, the science behind just how they did it remained something of a mystery.
Fortunately, several of the brightest minds in the country have turned their attention to that question, answering once and for all: How do dogs drink?
It doesn't take an advanced degree in "dog-drinking" to realize that tongues play an essential role in the slurping process, though like many things in the realm of animal behavior, there's more going on than meets the eye.
A team from Virginia Tech and Purdue University, led by researcher Sungwhan Jung, used high-speed cameras to capture the action in intricate detail. They found that dogs slam and retract their tongues from their drinks, creating "a significant amount of acceleration - roughly five times that of gravity," thereby generating a column of liquid that rises up for them to chomp down and gulp.
It's quite mesmerizing, really.
As the New York Times points out, Jung was involved in a similar study focusing on the dynamics of how dogs' daintier counterparts, cats, lapped up liquid. As it turns out, there was one key difference:
"When we started this project, we thought that dogs drink similarly to cats," Jung told Newswise. "But it turns out that it's different, because dogs smash their tongues on the water surface - they make lots of splashing - but a cat never does that."
Cats simply touch water with their tongues to pull up a smaller column of liquid. Here's a cat drinking, for comparison:
Jung admits that there's no practical application for this research - it may not better humanity - but perhaps there is intrinsic value in simply knowing this interesting fact about our best animal friends.
"I was curious about how dogs drink, because cats and dogs are everywhere," he told Newswise.
We'll raise our glass to that (and sip it the normal way, thank you very much).