Have you ever heard your dog whimpering in their sleep like they’re having a bad dream and wondered what they’re dreaming about? It’s normal for dog owners to think about this, and the answer is, It’s likely that your pup is dreaming about something that has happened during the day or a memory from the past. Dogs have dreams and brain activity during sleep, just like humans do, and understanding what they dream about can help us better understand our canine companions. Larger dogs, older dogs, small dogs… it doesn’t matter when the dog cries. Human owners, read on to learn more.
Dogs Experience Dreams Like Humans
Scientists believe that dogs experience REM sleep just like humans do, which is when most dreams occur. During REM sleep, dreaming dog eyes move rapidly under their eyelids, and their breathing becomes shallow and irregular. While dreaming, dogs may also make whining noises or bark randomly. This can sound like separation anxiety, a traumatic experience, or a scary dream, but in all honesty, it may very well be a happy dream. This suggests that their dream consists of some type of activity—running around, hunting prey, bath time, playing with other animals—or memories of events and people that your furry friend knows.
What Do Dogs Dream About?
Dogs likely dream about activities they are familiar with (e.g., chasing a ball) or situations they have been in before (e.g., meeting a new person). Dogs may also dream about things that happened during the day; for example, if your dog had an exciting adventure or experienced a traumatic event earlier in the day, those memories will likely surface in their dreams at night. Similarly, if your pup was exposed to unfamiliar people or animals throughout the day, those experiences will be reflected in their dreams as well. In other words, whatever your pup encounters during waking hours will show up in his/her dream state at night!
How Can We Tell if Dogs are Dreaming?
To know whether dogs are dreaming even less complex dreams, we first have to look at their sleeping patterns. While humans experience four stages of sleep—three light and one deep—dogs go through five different stages, two light and three deep. The third phase of sleep is where most dreams occur for both dogs and humans’ dreams. During this stage, both species show similar signs such as twitching, whining, or moving around in their sleep. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on your pup while they’re sleeping; if you hear them whimpering or see them twitching, it might be because they’re having a dream!
Do All Dogs Have Dreams?
The answer is yes! All mammals—including a sleeping dog —experience REM (rapid eye movement) during the third stage of sleep, which indicates that all mammals dream. So, no matter whether you love large dogs or smaller dogs, know that all dogs have dreams! However, it’s important to note that puppies who are still growing will often experience more vivid dreams than adult dogs since puppies need more REM sleep for proper development.
Do Puppies Dream Differently?
Puppies typically do not experience deep sleep until after a few weeks of age; however, it is believed that puppies still enter REM sleep much earlier than adult dogs do. During this early stage of development (up to 16 weeks old), puppies generally only experience short bursts of REM sleep that last between five and 10 minutes at a time—and these bursts become longer as they mature into adulthood. As such, puppies typically don’t have long enough dreams to remember them when they wake up; however, they are still processing events and experiences from the day while they rest at night!
Fido Does Dream!
Dogs experience REM sleep just like human beings do; therefore, it is possible for them to have dreams as we do! Whether it’s chasing a ball or meeting a new person – whatever your pup encountered during waking hours will show up in his/her dream state at night! Understandably so, puppies typically don’t have long enough dreams to remember them when they wake up; however, each time your pup sleeps, he/she is still processing events and experiences from the day before, readying themselves for tomorrow’s adventures!