A real lapping matter the difference between dogs and cats when drinking

Meeting Abstract

47-1  Tuesday, Jan. 5 10:15  A real lapping matter: the difference between dogs and cats when drinking JUNG, S.*; GART, S.; SOCHA, J.; VLACHOS, P.; Virginia Tech; Virginia Tech; Virginia Tech; Purdue University sunnyjsh@vt.edu

Animals that drink must transport water into the mouth using either a pressure-driven or inertia-driven mechanism. Previous work on cats shows that these mammals lap using a fast motion of the tongue with relatively small acceleration (~1g), in which gravity is balanced with steady inertia in the liquid. Do dogs employ the same physical mechanism to lap? To answer this question, we recorded 19 dogs while lapping and conducted physical modeling of the tongue’s ejection mechanism. In contrast to cats, dogs accelerate the tongue upward quickly (~1-4g) to pinch off the liquid column, and thus operate within a high-inertia regime. The amount of liquid extracted from the column depends on whether the dog closes the jaw before or after the pinch-off. Our recordings show that dogs close the jaw at the moment of pinch-off time, enabling them to maximize volume per lap. In addition, dogs significantly curl the tongue ventrally to increase area in contact with water, which scales with body weight to the 1/3 power. By combining a theoretical pinch-off timescale and observational tongue-weight relation, we found that the scaling of lapping frequency with body weight (frequency ~ weight to the -1/6 power) is the same in dogs and cats.

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