Do dogs dream? That’s the big question, isn’t it? Have you ever wondered while watching your dog in a deep sleep if they dream like human do? What about if that sleep is accompanied by twitching, growling or yips – should you wake them up or it harmful? Read on and we’ll see if your dog dreams and if it is about the same things you and I dream about.
Do Dogs Dream Like Humans?
According to Psychology Today, pets do dream and it is often about the same things that human beings dream about. The brain wave patterns observed while dogs are dreaming are very similar to those of humans in the same state. During tests, when the part of the brain that prevent acting out of dreams was deactivated, dogs would get up, move around and do many of the same things that they did earlier in the day. If they had a good play time that day (with cool games for dogs) that memory is the one that they would dream about and reenact. Interestingly, it appears that small dogs dream more than big dogs and puppies have more dreams than adult dogs. It could be that they just have so much new information to process and they have to make use of every minute!
How do you know when your dog might be dreaming? All you really have to do is watch them when they are falling asleep. About 20 minutes into their sleep cycle, you will see that their breathing becomes shallow, different from the deep regular breathing of sleep. There may be muscle twitching and you can sometimes make out the rapid eye movements behind your dog’s eyelids. Whines, whimpers, growls and even barks can sometimes accompany dreams, depending on what is being dreamed about. Think about your own dreams – sometimes you are yelling at someone in a dream, so it makes sense that your dog might be barking at someone or something in his dreams too!
So, even though it looks disturbing, those yips and barks are part of a natural dream cycle for your dog. It is probably best to not wake up your dog since it appears that dreaming functions the same for them as it does for humans. They need that deep continuous sleep to rebuild their brain function and rest.
Happy healthy dogs will have various kinds of dreams, but all seem to be perfectly normal. As long as they are not in danger, the best thing to do with a sleeping, dreaming dog is to follow the old adage and just let it lie.
What do you think? Have you ever seen your dogs dream when they’re sleeping? How did you know they were dreaming?