Do Dogs Dream?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Is Fido spending nap time dreaming about fetch or is their sleep dreamless? Here’s what the scientists have to say about dogs and dreaming.

We’ve all seen our doggos twitching, whimpering, and moving their little paws while they are fast asleep. Could it be that they are dreaming? And what possibly about? Don’t be surprised to learn that yes – dogs DO dream! Dreams are an inseparable part of sleep for many creatures in the world. Up until recently, it was not clear whether or not dreaming was reserved for humans only, and not for animals. But thanks to scientific research, it was concluded that rats – and most likely all mammals – do indeed dream.

In a sense, there would be sleep without dreams. When mammals sleep deeply, they enter into a natural state of reduced consciousness and paused sensory activity. Sleep helps our bodies to recover and rest, and our brains also use this time to seemingly process all the crucial information that occurred during the day. Often enough, this results in a series of odd and seemingly not-connected imagery – sometimes ordinary, and sometimes frightening.

Researchers noticed that dogs spend more time in the so-called “REM” type of sleep. This signifies “rapid eye movement”, a process in which eyes move rapidly and mirror activities of the awake state. It is during this time that most dreams occur, and that can be the very reason why you see your pupper twitching or “running” while asleep.

It was also concluded that puppies can dream much more and more often than adult dogs. This could be due to the fact that their brains need to process more information and soak up all those new experiences gained through the daytime. And that gets us to the burning question: what on earth do doggos dream about? If you envisioned doggy dreams to consist of playing fetch, munching on food, and chasing things – you were kind of correct! It is likely that those activities your dog had during the day are being processed while they sleep. If there was a lot of running and playing fetch that day – it is likely to observe those cute twitching paws and whimpering sounds.

There is also a high chance that you too are a part of your furry friend’s dreams. If you spend plenty of time together, it is only natural that your face will appear throughout these dreams. Still, we might never know truly in what form and how we appear. Also, nightmares could be a regular occurrence as well. It is likely that these frightening dreams serve to strengthen your dog’s senses and provide possible scenarios as a sort of “heads up”. All in all, it should be understood that these dreams are totally natural and not a reason for worrying. They in fact contribute to your dog’s wellbeing – besides making them look goofy and cute while they nap. So, next time you see your doggo twitching and whimpering, let them be – it’s probably an enticing dream of chasing a yummy treat!

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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