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Do Dogs Dream?

Amy Aitman
June 13, 2017

Do dogs dream? Why are they such active sleepers? Are they chasing the neighborhood cats while they catch their zzz's? Here are some fun facts about dogs' dreams.

You've witnessed it before. The barking, the leg movements, the snarling and even the drooling. No, he's not chasing a rabbit in the backyard -- he's just having a doggie dream. But wait, do dogs dream? And if they do dream, what do they dream about? It doesn't take much to imagine the great dreams your dog could be having. Eating unlimited doggie biscuits, long walks with plenty of stumps to pee on, other dogs to run around with and lots of critters to hunt and chase. Ahhhh. It really is a dog's life, isn't it? But if dogs do dream, are these really the kinds of thoughts that flood them? Here are some fun facts about dogs and dreaming.

Do Dogs Dream?
According to Psychology Today, yes. Dogs dream just as you do. In fact, human brains are structurally very similar to dogs', and your brain waves look very similar when you sleep. Many of the dreams you have at night are based on what you did during the day. So what did your dog do today? Maybe he is reliving a fun moment when you played fetch, or he made a new friend at the dog park.

Maybe this time, she actually catches that pesky squirrel in the yard. There is evidence that even rats dream, and dogs are much more intelligent, so the evidence is pretty clear -- dogs do dream. Scientists think they dream about common activities and what they did that day, just like you.

Here's a fun video from YouTube of a dog having the best dream ever!
 


Why Do Dogs Seem to Move So Much When They Sleep?
You may have noticed that there are times during your dog's sleep when she is particularly active and twitchy. According to Next Generation Dog, an evidence-based source and blog on dog health, dogs have two main stages of sleep: slow wave sleep, which is the lighter type of sleep, and rapid eye movement (REM), the deeper type of sleep in which a lot more brain activity happens.

Since REM brain activity is closer to what a dog's brain does when she is awake, it results in more physical activity. Watch out! It can start with a leg twitch and end in full-body jerking! She is moving around and not realizing it because she is in a deep, deep sleep. Puppies and older dogs seem to do more dreaming than most.
 

Some More Fun Facts About Dogs' Dreams

 

  1. According to Next Generation Dog, the length of your dog's dreams depends on her breed and size. Large dog breeds may dream for longer periods of time but dream less frequently. Little guys might only have minute-long adventures, but they may get to go on a new one every 10 minutes.
     
  2. The old adage still rings true: Let a sleeping dog lie. When you startle a sleeping dog and wake her from her deep sleep, she could react by biting you. It's better just to let her have her rest.
     
  3. Dogs sleep in many positions depending on which stage of sleep they're in. Sometimes when he's sleeping on his back, you may see all four of his legs move at once, like he's running around the yard ... on the ceiling.
     
  4. They do imaginary dog things in their dreams. Watch closely, and you just might see your little guy digging a hole, sniffing a tree or licking his lips -- all while he's asleep.

     

Amy Aitman is a freelance writer who writes lifestyle and parenting articles, including those for pet parents. Find her on Twitter

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