Why Are Dogs Sloppy Drinkers?

dogs

It is impossible to train a dog to drink from a water bowl without water being splashed everywhere. This has nothing to do with the training skill or the unwillingness of the canine animal. It all rests with the physical make-up of the dog.

Speaking with Science News, Sunghwan Jung of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg explains more:

“We cannot train dogs to drink nicely.”

The fluid scientist expands further, nothing that dogs are unable to close their relatively wide mouths with sufficient tightness to suck up liquids. To overcome this, proceed to lap up the liquid instead. The lapping process involves the dog extending out its tongue and then retracts it quickly. This process, executed rapidly, draws up a thin column of water underneath.

Dogs splash more than cats because they plunge a greater surface area of their tongue into the liquid and dogs also retract their tongues faster, with a measured acceleration rate of four times that of gravity.

As the column of water is about to collapse back into a water dish, a dog snaps its jaws closed, capturing the water. Dr. Jung has produced an in-depth description after videotaping and reviewing 19 different dogs drinking, ranging from a Yorkshire terrier to a Great Dane.

Dr. Jung’s study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper is headed “Dogs lap using acceleration-driven open pumping.”

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.