Washington: Despite previous suggestions that cats are daintier drinkers than dogs, a new study finds that canines have a similar mechanism of adhesion to cats to lap up their liquids.
Despite their reputation as messy drinkers, dogs use the same gravity-defying lapping technique as cats.
Evolutionary biologist A.W. Crompton of Harvard University and his colleague Catherine Musinsky, filmed a dog lapping up broth using a high speed camera. They also filmed the same dog using high speed X-ray video. This time, they gave the dog milk mixed with barium - a liquid that shows up clearly on X-rays, reports ABC Science.
"When we took the X-rays you could really see the liquid quite clearly and it was clear that dogs do not scoop liquid into their mouths, they do it the same way cats do by adhesion to the tongue," said Crompton.
“Dogs get liquids into their mouths by relying on the way liquid adheres to their tongues and the inertia of liquid column."
Just like cats, dogs fold the tip of their tongue backwards so that the top of the tongue penetrates the surface of the liquid.
While water adhering to the top surface of the tongue is pulled upwards to the mouth, water sitting on the bottom side of the tongue spills back down towards the container as the tongue is withdrawn and the jaw closed.
X-rays show it takes three laps to move liquid to the back of the throat. Each time, liquid is trapped against ridges on the dog``s palate to stop the liquid falling out as the tongue is protruded.
But there is one important difference between cats and dogs: "Dogs make much more mess," said Crompton.