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Biol Lett. 2011 Dec 23;7(6):882-4. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0336. Epub 2011 May 25.

How dogs lap: ingestion and intraoral transport in Canis familiaris.

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Museum of Comparative Zoology, Department of Organismic Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


It has recently been suggested that the mechanism for lifting liquid from a bowl into the oral cavity during lapping is fundamentally different in cats and dogs: cats use adhesion of liquid to the tongue tip while dogs 'scoop' with their backwardly curled tongue. High-speed light videos and X-ray videos show that on the contrary, both cats and dogs use the mechanism of adhesion. Liquid is transported through the oral cavity to the oesophagus, against gravity, on the surface of the tongue as it is drawn upwards, then a tight contact between the tongue surface and palatal rugae traps liquid and prevents its falling out as the tongue is protruded. At least three cycles are needed for intraoral transport of liquid in the dog.

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