Dogs Dreaming: What Do Dogs Dream About?
Research shows that dogs spend half of their day sleeping, so it is not surprising to question if dogs dream. When you see your dog chattering, twitching, or even whimpering in their sleep, the next thought on your mind is usually if your dog is dreaming and what your dog is dreaming about.
Humans often dream when they sleep, so it is not wrong to think that dogs do the same too. So, do dogs dream? If so, what do dogs dream about?
Yes, dogs do dream! Although we don’t know exactly what dogs dream about, researchers have concluded that dogs have dreams similar to what humans have when they sleep. This means that dogs likely dream about playing with their favorite toys, eating their favorite foods and treats, and chasing that squirrel through the yard.
Do Dogs Dream?
As stated above, dogs dream just like human beings do. Scientists say that dogs, and other animals, go through multiple sleep cycles when the sleep. There are different periods of wakefulness; then there are periods of rapid eye movement sleep and non-rapid eye movement sleep.
Rapid eye movement sleep, which dogs achieve after about twenty minutes of sleep, is responsible for all vivid dreams. It is also believed to be how the body processes memory and other things.
It has been shown that dogs have a similar brain structure to humans. This means that their brain activity and waves when they sleep are identical to human beings.
So yes, research does show that dogs dream; their face and body may twitch when sleeping, and they may also let out soft whimpers. A dog’s size is said to play a significant role in how they dream. Large dogs have longer but fewer dreams, while small dogs have shorter but more frequent dreams.
Do Dogs Give Signs When They Dream?
One great way to tell if a dog is dreaming is through the signs they give when they are asleep. You can easily tell when your dog has moved from non-rapid eye movement sleep (restful sleep) to rapid eye movement sleep (active dreaming). Since dogs achieve rapid eye movement sleep after about twenty minutes of dozing off, their breathing will switch from deep and regular to shallow and irregular.
You can also tell that your dog is dreaming through some of these signs:
- their eyes may move behind their eyelids
- they may wag their tail
- they may make some noises and occasionally whimper
- they may growl
- and there may be random muscle movements such as twitching, and lastly, they may move their legs as if they are running in their sleep.
What Do Dogs Dream About?
To answer the primary question of this article, nobody knows exactly what dogs dream about. But, researchers have compiled a list of things that dogs are likely to dream about. Since dogs’ brain activity and waves when they sleep are similar to human beings, they are expected to dream just like us and recount activities they engaged in while awake.
Some of the things your dog could be dreaming of include playing with their favorite toys, eating their favorite meals or treats, and chasing that squirrel through the yard. They likely even have dream of their favorite humans taking them on walks or rides in the car!
A dog’s breed affects the things they dream about, so it is not surprising to see a hunting breed run in their sleep. When you see that your dog is asleep, try not to wake them up; if you must, adopt a calm approach. This is because forcefully waking them up may lead to an unmeant growl or bite.
Do Dogs Have Nightmares?
Since dogs are similar to human beings, they likely also have nightmares. Dogs not only dream of pleasant experiences but can also recount traumatic experiences when they sleep. Dogs can also dream about fears, and this may cause them to cry or yelp in their sleep. They could also twitch and whine softly.
What do you do when your dog is having a nightmare? If you think your dog is having a nightmare, you can try to call out their name or pet their back softly, but it is advisable to let them sleep because they can suddenly react if disturbed.
If your dog starts to let out screams or aggressive growls, it is better to leave them alone until they wake up. Then, you can cuddle them and pet them to calm them down. You should also reach out to your veterinarian if your dog’s sleeping habits are becoming something to be concerned about.
As a dog lover or dog owner, you should know that dogs dream mostly about fun moments or experiences. Although they may have the occasional nightmare, it is usually nothing to worry about unless it starts to affect their sleep schedule or if they start to become aggressive.
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