Have you ever walked through the kitchen in your bare feet, only to have the shock of stepping in a nice slimy puddle of water that missed your dog’s mouth while he or she was drinking?
While it is true that there are some extremely enthusiastic drinkers who seem to revel in making the biggest mess of all, we aren’t giving our dogs the credit they deserve for their style of drinking!
Dogs and cats don’t have flexible lips like humans do, so creating suction in their mouth to drink the way we do doesn’t work. Instead, dogs will drop their tongue down into the water, creating a bowl under their tongue, and will quickly scoop that water upwards into their mouth. Now, don’t get the wrong idea about this bowl analogy, this movement the dogs do is fast and is more of a clean-and-jerk motion than a casual scoop. The dog will then close its mouth around the water and swallow before the tongue darts back down to grab some more.
The mess may be due to the water, which is moving very quickly, hitting the underside of the tongue and splattering sideways. Whoops!
Check out this awesome video of a dog drinking, created by researchers at Virginia Tech!