If you see your dog twitching up a storm while asleep, you might find yourself asking what do dogs dream about.
Do Dogs Even Dream?
You may wonder if dogs can dream at all, but if you’ve ever watched a dog dream, you’re sure to notice their muscles twitching and even some noises. From what is known about human sleep and dream cycles, it can be safely said dogs do very much dream and do so often.
How does a Dog Dream?
Dogs dream the same way humans do, using experiences and memories to construct new and exciting scenarios to go through while deep asleep. This has been studied and documented in rats and cats, so it’s safe enough to say your dog is dreaming the same way.
Dreams occur during REM sleep and only last a little while in dogs, though much longer in humans, which can last up to an hour. For dogs, the length of time spent dreaming is dependent on their size. The sleep cycle of small dogs is fairly short, with them being in a light sleep and easily woken for about 10 minutes, followed by roughly 1 minute where they’re in REM sleep and dreaming. For large dogs, they have almost an hour of light sleep, followed by roughly 5 whole minutes of dreaming.
What is REM Sleep?
REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, as during this time you, and your dog, are in a very deep sleep where dreaming is possible, and as a result, your eyes flicker and move about, hence the name Rapid Eye Movement. This is the 3rd phase in a sleep cycle.
During the 1st phase, you and your dog are falling asleep and are easily woken up. During the 2nd phase, you and your dog’s heart rate and breathing slow in preparation for the next phase, but it’s still relatively easy to wake you up. During the 3rd and final phase, you fall into a deep sleep where REM sleep occurs.
What do Dogs Dream About?
Science hasn’t been able to give an exact answer on what dogs dream about, but based on research from cats and rats, we can safely assume dogs use their memories and experiences to construct new scenarios. This means your dog could be dreaming of running and chasing things, playing games with you, going for a walk, playing with other animals, or even just spending some good quality time with you.
Just like you, your dog can have good dreams that are pleasant, or they can have bad dreams and nightmares, especially if they’ve had issues with previous owners or fights with other animals.
How to Tell When it’s More Than a Dream
Sometimes, you may worry about your dog while they’re asleep because they seem to be moving too much too quickly and you may be worried they’re having a seizure.
Usually, your dog is just dreaming, even if they seem to be moving too much. Dogs, unlike humans, have less paralysis while sleeping and dreaming, allowing them more movement when it comes to their limbs. However, your dog can still suffer from a seizure. You’ll be able to see a clear difference in their movements if they’re from a seizure, as they will be much faster and very pronounced. If you’re worried your dog is having a seizure, but are not sure, you can try calling your dog’s name or tapping the ground near them in an attempt to wake them up. If they wake up and respond, they weren’t having a seizure, as you cannot rouse your dog from a seizure. If this is happening, call your vet for instructions on what to do.
Is it Okay to Wake Your Dog Up from a Dream?
Generally, it’s okay to wake your dog up during a dream, especially if it doesn’t seem like an aggressive one. Your dog will be a little confused, but there’s no harm done. If your dog does seem to be having an aggressive dream, it may be best not to wake them, as they may attack you in their confusion.
What do dogs dream about is a fairly easy question to answer nowadays, as it seems they dream about the same things you do.