Every pup owner has wondered about this. The subject of dreams is fascinating as of itself – taking a trip from your bed to the ends of earth and beyond. Well, what about our furry companions? Do dogs dream? And if they do, what are they dreaming about?
Well, there are certainly times in which we can most definitely tell our dogs are dreaming. For instance, you might find your dog smiling in his/her sleep, or maybe even twitching or quivering in their sleep.
Some dog owners have even witnessed their furry companions seemingly running in their dreams. Their four paws are
Psychologist and Dog Behavior expert Stanley Corey believes that dogs do, in fact, dream. A dog’s brainwave patterns are almost the same as a human’s brainwaves on a structural level – meaning we have the same biological responses, like feeling hungry or sleepy – and even dreaming.
A Dog’s Sleep Cycle
When dogs dream, they go through three stages of sleep:
- Non-rapid Eye Movement (NREM) – In this stage, it’s still easy for your dog to wake up. They are in a light stage of sleep which could last anytime from 15-45 minutes. Their heart rate begins to slow down as their body prepares them for deep sleep.
- Rapid Eye Movement (REM) – This stage begins to happen about 90 minutes into the sleep. Dogs usually begin to dream during the REM sleep, as their brains are beginning to get more active. It will be more difficult to wake your dog up during this phase.
- Short Wave Sleep (SWS) – In this stage, your dog will begin to breathe heavily. During this phase, your dog will resume to its light sleep. You can rouse your dog awake easily in the SWS stage.
Of these three stages, the dreams occur in the REM phase. Your dog might begin to display signs of dreaming like
Do All Dogs Dream?
It’s natural to dream during your sleep – after all, that is one of the ways your brain processes information and develops your memory. But not all dogs dream in the same quantity or intensity.
By simply observing your dog’s sleeping position, you can tell whether they could possibly be dreaming or not. If your dog is curled up asleep, then this will tense her muscles. In turn, this will cause your dog to be more relaxed, as opposed to a dog stretched out in their sleep. The former sleeping position is more likely to cause your dog to twitch in his sleep.
The breed of your dog could also factor into the amount he dreams. According to scientific research, smaller dogs are observed to dream more frequently than bigger dogs do. However, evidence also found that small dogs experience dreams in shorter durations of time.
Your dogs’ breeds will also determine the types of dreams they may experience. For example, a guard dog might dream of taking down an intruder. Retrievers, on the other hand, might dream of joyfully chasing a frisbee on a park with their best friends.
It’s also been observed that puppies and aging dogs are more likely to move in their sleep or have restless nights. The reasons for this have not been uncovered yet, though.
Why Do Dogs Dream?
Humans dream in order to process whatever signs they’ve unconsciously picked up throughout their day. Dreams, for humans, are also a great way to understand emotions and how you feel about things.
Due to a dog’s emotional and social capabilities, scientists have assumed that dogs probably dream for the same reasons too. By dreaming, dogs can reinforce the memories that they’ve acquired that day.
If your dog met a new friend, then your dog might dream of getting belly rubs. However, if your dog has had a stressful day or is emotionally distraught, they might get nightmares.
Dreaming about these things will help your dog’s memory of the things they liked or didn’t like during the day.
Signs That Your Dog is Dreaming
It’s quite easy to determine whether your dog is dreaming, without having to resort to any expensive methods of recording equipment. Just watch your dog as they begin to fall asleep (it usually takes them about 20 minutes of snoozing for a dog to begin dreaming).
Their breath will begin to deepen and stabilize into slow and steady breaths. This means that they’re officially asleep. But they’re not dreaming yet.
Once your dog starts dreaming, their breaths will change once more. Instead of the deep, consistent breaths, your dog’s breath will start to become shallower and less consistent. Your dog has officially entered the dream world.
Is your dog twitching? Or is your dog’s paws moving? Or is your dog’s eyes looking at things from behind closed eyelids? These are all signs that your dog is dreaming of activities and adventures.
What is My Dog Dreaming About?
Just like humans, dogs can pretty much dream about everything that they’ve experienced.
For humans, this is usually the case. If you’ve spent an intense day playing sports, then you might dream of playing that sport. If you spent a couple of hours reading a book by the sea, then the characters in the book might fabricate into your dreams.
For dogs, this is usually the case, too. Eye movements in dogs during sleep means that their eyes are following something – whether it’s a furry little squirrel or another dog. This stage in sleep is known as rapid eye movement (REM) and is when dreams begin.
However, not all dreams are pleasant. Some pet owners have seen their dogs jolting out of their sleep and seeking comfort. This could be a huge indicator that your dog is experiencing unpleasantly scary nightmares.
Nightmares occur for a number of reasons – one of them being that dogs are capable of simple emotions, such as fear. Since sleeping is a good method to process emotions, dogs will sometimes get uncomfortable images in their sleep. This could be based on something they’ve seen, or a traumatic history that’s left them shaken up.
Should I Wake My Dog Up from a Nightmare?
Like humans, dogs dream of terrifying things. There will be several indicators as to whether your dog is having a nightmare or not. Is he whelping in his sleep? Is she twitching and churning? Did your dog wake you up in the middle of the night from a growl, scream or a cry?
While having a nightmare is considered normal, if your dog dreams of bad things often, then there are medical solutions.
There are some kinds of supplements dogs can take to help ease the anxiety that occurs in their sleep. This is an easy solution which will help calm your dog down and ease anxiety. In turn, your dog’s sleeping habits will be much calmer.
How Do I Wake My Dog Up from a Bad Dream?
Some nights, you will notice that your dog is having nightmares or appears to be disturbed. If that happens, whether in the middle of the night or during the day, you’ll want to wake them up. It’s no fun having a nightmare, is it?
If you want to wake your dog up from a bad dream, then make sure not to touch them! If your dog jolts awake from contact, then their first natural instinct might drive them to bite. When dogs dream, they can’t tell what’s real and what’s not.
Don’t shake or nudge your dog to wake your dog. Although your first reaction might be to call out for their name, it’s advised that you don’t do that either. If you’re having a bad nightmare, the last thing you’d want is someone waking you up in a panic.
Instead, you should gently repeat your dog’s name over and over again. Begin by calling their name softly, and if they don’t respond, then call louder until they respond.
Touching your dog when they’re experiencing a nightmare is a risk you want to avoid. Some pet owners have reported incidents of their dogs growling or even biting, if physically woken up from a nightmare.
This is because – due to their alert nature – dogs will think that they are being attacked, or that they are in danger. They might bite you – but that doesn’t mean they love you any less. If your lovable dog bites you or someone else when they woke up, then they were probably just anxious.
Once you’re sure that your dog has fully woken up and has adjusted to the real world, then you can commence cuddling. You can soothe your dog by hugging them or petting them or giving them
If you lead a healthy and happy lifestyle with your puppers, then you can be sure that your dog will be dreaming of sunny days and happy times.
Check out these other popular Dogmembers posts: