Ever wonder how a dog drinks? Like this.

This video clip from "Secret Life of Dogs" was filmed at 1000 frames per second, so you can see exactly how its done, in all its fascinating sloppiness.

Harvard University uncovered the secret a few years ago using this high-speed camera trick. Rather than just splashing a bunch of water in their mouths and hoping they get enough to satisfy their thirst, dogs have a brilliant technique. As BBC puts it, "[A]s the tongue touches the surface of the water, the liquid adheres to it, creating a water column as the tongue is drawn back towards the mouth. The dog then snaps its mouth closed just as the water begins to fall backwards towards the bowl."

"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," Global Animal explains.

So while it takes some work, exuberant dogs don't mind a little splashing as they drink. Research has shown that dogs and cats use this same technique -- a much more sophisticated trick than simply scooping up water with their tongues -- but cats do it with far less mess.

Related posts on MNN: