There are many similarities between the human brain and the brains of our beloved pets. Both show similar sleep cycles, which leads researchers to believe that sleep in dogs and humans is the same.
There has been some research conducted that illustrates that dogs go into REM sleep as humans do. REM sleep is when the body is relaxed, but the brain is highly active. Because dreams occur during REM sleep, it is safe to say that dogs do in fact dream.
When your pup’s eyes are closed, but you can tell that their eyes are moving behind their eyelids, it means they are experiencing REM sleep. If you want to know about dogs dreaming, this article is for you.
Sleep is the same in dogs as in humans, which is why understanding the nature of sleep and dreams will help you recognize how dogs dream. During sleep, our bodies decrease consciousness and muscle activity. Rest recharges the body and allows us to rest and reenergize when we wake. Dreams occur during REM sleep when the body is more relaxed, but the mind is more active.
There are two primary stages of the sleep cycle. The first is slow wave sleep when you can be awakened more easily. The second is rapid eye movement, where there is increased brain activity, and dreams occur. Dreams are a part of the normal sleep cycle.
Both humans and dogs have these two stages of the sleep cycle. Humans dream, and since research has shown similar brain activity in dogs and humans during sleep, it is reasonable to speculate that dogs dream as well.
There has been research conducted concerning animals and their dreams, and researchers found that animals dream similarly to humans. The animal subjects involved in the study were rats who went through multiple stages of sleep, including slow-wave and REM sleep.
The animals were put through several REM cycles, and their findings concluded that brain activity was the same as when the animal was awake and running. Their dreams were similar to their reality, just like in humans. Most humans draw from real-life experiences when they dream, and so did half of the rats.
Researchers gleaned from this study that since rats are intellectually less elaborate than dogs and cats, it is safe to say that dogs and cats also have dreams. After all, a dog’s life is far more interesting than a rat’s.
Just like humans, dogs exhibit certain behaviors that indicate that they are dreaming. Some humans wrestle in their sleep, and many talk or carry-on conversations. Many humans have noticeable behavior changes when they dream. When dogs are dreaming, they may:
If you are a pet parent, you may also wonder if your pup dreams when sleeping. If you want to tell if your dog dreams, watch them sleep for about twenty minutes or so after they have fallen into slumber, and if their eyes begin to move when they are closed, it means that your pup is dreaming.
If you are worried that after all that leg movement and barking, your dog may hurt themselves when they are dreaming, fear not. All mammals have something called “pons” in their brain stems. The pons paralyzes their large muscles during sleep, so your pup will not hurt themselves. The pons keeps us from doing something regrettable in our sleep, such as scratching our face and leaving a scar or poking our eyes out.
This is a fascinating question to ponder. Dogs may dream about many different things, such as chasing small animals like squirrels or rabbits or playing a fun game of catch with their humans. It is a logical assumption that pups dream about experiences they have or have had in real life, such as with the rats in the dream study.
In addition to dreaming about their daily activities, dogs may also dream about lessons and commands. Sleep plays an essential role in knowledge and memory. Those are the main factors involved in the dog’s ability to understand information. Puppies, for example, require adequate sleep to learn new commands.
Some other examples of dog dreams may be:
Of course, this is all just speculation. It is believed that what pups dream about the most is their humans. They are around their humans the most, and it makes sense that when they dream, they dream about the people who take care of them. Perhaps they dream that they are cuddling with their pet parent. Pups dream like us, so anything is possible!
It is thought that canines can have nightmares as we do, but most of their dreams are not nightmares. It may be troubling to see that your dog may be having a nightmare, but it is entirely natural. Dreaming is normal, and dogs are free to dream whatever their imagination can come up with.
If your pup is having a nightmare, they may dream about something they do not like or that gives them anxiety. It is different for each dog. Also, if your dog is a rescue dog, they may dream about their life before having a new family.
You can see subtle differences if your pup has a nightmare instead of an ordinary dream. Generally, if your dog dreams about good things, they will not demonstrate any signs of distress in their sleep. Dogs may even awake from a bad dream the same way humans often jerk themselves awake from a nightmare.
If you can see that your dog is having a nightmare, you should not wake them up unless it is necessary. Dogs are like human beings in that they require uninterrupted sleep. However, if your dog seems to be having a particularly bad dream, it may be the kind thing to do to wake them. You will need to be careful when you do.
You may want to try saying their name in a gentle voice, so they can bring themselves out of their nightmare and wake up peacefully. You may also choose to try playing soft music or watching television. It may be a better way for them to wake up, rather than them waking up feeling scared or distressed.
Dogs, like humans, have dreams. Dogs also show signs of having dreams the same way that we do. If your pup is having a terrible nightmare, you can gently awaken them and give them comfort and love.
Do you have any more questions about your dog dreaming? Pet Check Urgent Care has locations in Sewell, NJ and Deptford, NJ to treat pets across the region. Give us a call at (856) 404-9858 to book your appointment today.