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How Do Dogs Drink Water?

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Dog Drinking Water – The Way Dogs Do Lapping

When it comes to water, you have more than likely noticed that your dog is just plain going to love it.  Whether it be playing in it, diving into it, or simply drinking it, most dogs just simply love water.  With that being said, have you ever taken a second to watch how your dog actually drinks water?  And if you have, you have also probably wondered how exactly it is that your dog is able to drink that same water?

The truth of the matter is, the way that dogs are able to drink water has actually baffled scientists for years and years.  While it may seem extremely basic upon first inspection, it really is not.  Yes, all they need to do is to simply lap it up with their tongue and they can get all of the water they are going to need to satisfy their thirst.  With that being said however, what seems like a very simple task for your dog is actually going to be something that is quite impossible for you to do.  So how exactly is it that a dog is able to get water from their bowl into their mouth using their tongue?

This is going to be one of the questions that has taken researchers a much longer time to answer than you would normally think.  But don’t worry as it was definitely worth the wait.  Here is the fascinating way that dogs are able to drink water effectively with the use of only their tongue.

The Way Dogs Drink Water is Completely Different Than Humans

Take a quick look at your dog and then take a quick look at yourself in a mirror.  You may have noticed that you have and your dog does not have when it comes to drinking water.  Do you need a hint?

The answer is going to be your cheeks, according to Sunghwan Jung, one of the associate professors of biomedical engineering and mechanics over at Virginia Tech.  He was able to do a study about how dogs and cats were able to drink water, in order to understand how their physical mechanisms work.  During his study, he was able to figure out that the main reason your dog is unable to drink water as you do, is because of what’s become known as ‘incomplete cheeks’.  

This is going to be a feature that every single carnivore is going to share, your best friend being among one of them.  This is because your dog’s mouth opening is going to be extended all the way to the outside of their cheeks.  This makes sense if you think about it, as your dog does have a mouth that is much larger than yours or any other humans.  It is going to be this larger mouth opening that not only allows them to open up their mouth much larger and wider in order to kill their prey that much more quickly, but it is also going to increase the amount of biting force that they are able to apply at any given time.  

So, you may now be wondering what your dog’s bigger mouth has to do with them drinking water?  Again, the answer is going to come right back to the cheeks.  The problem with them drinking water is going to be because of their cheeks.  Their lack of cheeks means that they are not able to simply ‘suck water in’, as humans do when they are drinking water.  In fact, if your dog does try to suck in water, air would end up coming into their mouth as well through both sides of their mouth.  Dogs are unable to seal their cheeks to create any type of actual sucking motion.  This is going to be the reason why carnivores have developed the lapping mechanism that you see your dog using today.  This lapping mechanism is going to be the very same way that all carnivores drink water, that being with the use of their tongue.

Lapping, how it Works

How lapping works is going to be a completely different question altogether.  Since dog’s are unable to create any type of sucking motion in order to get the water that they require on a daily basis, they have instead developed the method of lapping, where they move their tongues in and out of the water they would like to drink.  This in turn, creates a water column that they can then bite down on to get the water that they are trying to drink.

So now you are probably wondering what a ‘water column’ is?  A water column is going to be water that is literally going to splash up if you were to slam your hand into and out of a bowl that is full of water.  You can try this yourself if you would like (which it is extremely fun and you definitely should try it), as it will allow you to see water that is now shooting up and down, creating a column-like shape.  This is going to be the exact reason that your dog bites down on the flying column when they are drinking and the water makes its way into their mouth.

Why Are Dogs Such Messy Drinkers?

If you have ever seen your dog drink water, you know that the last thing you want to do is walk in that area wearing nothing but socks.  So why is it that dogs make such a big mess when they drink water?  

The answer is going to be that when dogs do drink water, they want to create as big a water column as they possibly can.  This way, they are going to be able to get more water in their mouth at a time.  As for the mess that they make, they really do not care about that.  What this means for you though, is that you are going to need to make sure to have some paper towels or even a mop handy when they are drinking water inside.

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