The next time you’re cleaning up puddles by your dog’s water bowl, try to appreciate the science behind the mess. At the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting, researchers described the different mechanisms animals like humans, cats, and dogs use to drink. Humans, with our full cheeks, can create suction to draw in liquid.
Other animals, including dogs and cats, don’t have complete cheeks, so they’ve found other ways to lap from the bowl. A cat’s delicate flick of the tongue may seem more precise, but how dogs drink water earns them top spot for efficiency. According to the researchers, dogs use more of their tongue to slap the water, drawing up a column at the speed of about five to eight times that of gravity when switching direction from down to up.
If only straws were as effective.