The Secret Of The Dog Shake

by Patrick Appel

Alexis explores the physics and purpose of animal drying methods:

[T]hink about a dog's skin. You know how loose it is? I had previously thought the main purpose of loose dog skin was so that they would look funny on But it turns out there is another more important reason. Because the skin is loose, it can whip around farther and faster than the backbone can. The skin, to which the fur is attached, travels at three times the speed of the backbone, which, according to the math, generates nine times as much force on the water droplets, helping fling them off. That's the magic of the mammal shake.