The sudden twitch of a paw, a faint woof, the flicker of an eyelid… we’ve all looked at our sleeping pooches and wondered if they’re dreaming. But do dogs really dream? Let’s find out…
Do dogs dream?
Yes, scientists certainly think so. Just like their owners, dogs enter periods of REM sleep (meaning Rapid Eye Movement sleep, so-called because of the twitching in our eyelids that occurs during).
REM sleep is just one of the five stages of snoozing, and it lasts between 10 minutes and an hour. Since the sleep cycle repeats throughout the night, this special stage of slumber can occur several times. During a period of REM sleep, your dog’s brain is more active, and that’s what causes the doggy dreams.
Signs your dog is dreamingJust like us, dogs react subconsciously to images they see during their sleep. Does your dog sleep in your bedroom? If so, you may have noticed some of these signs before:
- A growl, whimper, or soft bark
- Leg movements – just as if they were running!
- Sudden spasms or shivering
- Eyelid twitches – this is the biggest indication that your pup is dreaming
What do dogs dream about?
This is the question we’d love to know the answer to, but unfortunately never will! However, because of the similarities between dogs’ brains and our own, we can assume that their dreams are similar to ours. They tend to dream about what’s happening in their lives – or even the events of that day. So that could involve a long walk, chasing the neighbour’s cat, or simply spending time with you!
If your pup is simply paddling their legs or making sounds of excitement, then they’re probably having a good dream. But if your dog is whining, crying or growling, then they may be having a bad dream.
Should you wake your pooch if they’re having a bad dream? No. While it’s hard not to reach out and comfort your seemingly distressed dog, it may take them a moment or two to distinguish between the dream and reality. That means it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie if you don’t want to risk them lashing out.
What’s the best way to help your dog have good dreams? Well, as they sleep, dogs process the day’s events. So, the simplest method is to make sure they have a happy day! If you’re noticing signs of anxiety or stress in your canine, now might be the time to introduce them to a calming supplement. A content dog is much more likely to sleep – and dream – well!