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Study: Your Dog’s Sweet Dreams are Because of You!

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You know how your pup is laying there, all snuggly, and then all of a sudden looks like he’s running through a forest, happily  yapping? We joke and whisper, “Go get ’em, Rover!” as we imagine that he’s chasing bunnies in his sleep.

Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist Dr. Deirdre Barrett of Harvard University recently shared that your dog is still thinking of you, not rabbits. Stating that dogs are typically attached to their human owners, it stands to reason that when dogs dream, they are probably dreaming of us… our faces, our smells and things that we’ve done with them throughout the day.

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Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the trigger for dream sleep in humans–you know, when the eye starts moving around inside of sleeping, closed eyes. Dogs and cats experience the same thing. Dr. Barrett said that in dogs during REM sleep, they tend to move their legs like running or chasing a ball, or maybe fetching a stick. Cats, in contrast, also engage in this as well–very still during non-REM sleep, but when in REM sleep, they stalked, pounced and even arched their backs or hissed, as if they were hunting prey.

Dream length and content tends to depend on dog size and experiences. Medium-sized dogs typically fall into their dream state about 20 minutes into their sleep, while smaller dogs will dream more frequently with shorter dreams. Coincidingly, larger dogs tend to have fewer dreams, but their dreams last longer.

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Because the average adult dog sleeps anywhere from 12-14 hours a day, a lot of their day is spent dreaming. Dr. Barrett says that if it seems your dog is having a bad dream, it’s possible that he or she is unhappy about something. In order to help the largest part of our dogs’ days be happy ones, we should work hard to ensure our dogs have lots of happy daytime experiences and to have safe and comfortable sleeping environments.

So sounds like lots more play during the day and comfy accommodations at night are just what the doctor ordered for our pets to have sweet dreams. We think that’s a campaign we can all get behind!

[Source: Daily Mail]


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