Running, whining and whimpering are all signs of an alert dog – or are they? You might notice your pup exhibiting any or all these behaviors while sleeping. It isn’t a sign that something is wrong, but it is a sign that your dog might be deep in dreamland.
Learn more about what dogs dream about and how they dream.
As a dog owner, there’s a lot that you probably wonder about your pet: Do they like the food that you give them? What do they really do when you’re away? Do they like hugs as much as I think they do? There are some things that are just unknowable about your pet given the obvious language barrier, but there is one question that continues to come back around: Do dogs dream when they sleep?
Keep reading to find answers to the most common questions about dogs and dreams.
Can Dogs Dream?
Yes! And there’s scientific proof that the yelping, snarling, even running in their sleep is a sign that your dog is dreaming. Using a device called an electroencephalogram (EEG), scientists measured the canine brain wave activity during sleep, similar to how human brains are measured during a sleep test. Researchers discovered that the sleep patterns and brain wave activity in dogs were like what people experience as they sleep.
What Happens to Dogs When They Dream?
When your pup lays their head down to snooze (or nods off sitting upright) their brain begins to transition into a deep sleep stage. It’s here in deep sleep that you’ll notice your dog’s breath becoming more irregular, as well as rapid-eye movements (REM) under their eyelids. As it is for people too, REM is the period of sleep where actual dreaming takes place.
Although each dog is different, you may notice your dog making involuntary movements or sounds, signaling that they might be awake when they’re truly sound asleep. You might also notice that your dog holds their breath for short periods of time when they sleep. This is normal and shouldn’t be cause for concern.
Should I Wake My Dog if They Are Dreaming?
Subtle noises and even loud snoring is normal for dogs to make as they dream. It might be tempting to wake your pup as they snooze or quiet them down as you try to get some shut eye too, but they also need uninterrupted sleep for healthy mental activity. Consider creating alternate sleeping arrangements if a noisy dreamer keeps you up at night so everyone can get a good night’s rest.
Do All Dogs Have Dreams?
Since we know dogs are capable of dreaming, it’s probable that all dogs do dream at some point in their lifetime. Interestingly, a dog’s size and breed affect how frequently they dream.
Researchers believe small dogs dream more than larger dogs. For example, a Toy Poodle can have dreams every ten minutes, while a Golden Retriever dreams once every 90 minutes. Studies involving puppies suggest that they dream more than adult dogs. This is likely because puppies are processing more information than their older friends. After all, every day is a whole new experience for puppies.
What Do Dogs Dream About?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to really know what our dogs dream about. However, knowing that dreaming is our brain’s way of processing and storing information, we can safely guess our furry friends dream about things from their daily life – from a game of fetch to chasing a cat out of the yard.
Do Dogs Remember Their Dreams?
Have you ever woken up from a deep sleep and not remembered what you dreamed or if you even dreamed at all? It’s possible that dogs experience a similar failure to recall, even if they seemed particularly active as they slept. One day we might have a better idea of what kind of dreams our dogs have but until then, sweet dreams to you and your pup!
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