Canine Facts

Do Dogs Dream?

If you’ve ever wondered if your dog is dreaming when she’s deep asleep, the answer is yes. Those yelps, barks, limb movements that can even mimic running—all of those things indicate your dog is experiencing the same profound, bizarre—even scary—subconscious dream world that we do.

This isn’t anthropomorphizing dogs. It’s a scientific fact that they dream, as do many animals, even less-intelligent ones, like rats.

Here’s what we know about dog dreaming:

Age

A dog’s age affects how it dreams. For example, young puppies and senior dogs move more in their sleep and dream more than adult dogs. The reason has to do with pons. The pons is the part of the brain stem that keeps your large muscles paralyzed during deep sleep so that you don’t flail your arms and legs. But the pons in young puppies are underdeveloped and in senior dogs they’re less efficient. Pons in human babies are also underdeveloped, which is why babies sometimes move a lot in their sleep.

Size

Smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas, have a new dream about every 10 minutes, whereas larger breeds dream fewer times per night.

Species

Your dog’s species can affect the type of dreams she has. Researchers have found that a dreaming pointer may start “searching” for game and sometimes even go on point. A springer spaniel may flush out birds in her dreams.

What do they dream about?

Scientific evidence indicates that dogs dream about activities they perform while awake, like we do. Researchers found that “dogs dream doggy things … Pointers will point at dream birds, and Doberman pinschers will chase dream burglars.”

So, does that mean your dog dreams about you? It’s very likely she does. Dogs are extremely attached to their owners. Hopefully they’re nice dreams of getting treats and told she’s a good girl.

Nightmares

Dogs can definitely have nightmares. You may have seen your dog twitching a lot in its sleep, or even whimpering. When this occurs, you can wake your dog up by gently calling her name, but do not physically rouse your dog, because a startled dog might bite. Or, you can follow the old adage and “let sleeping dogs lie.

Cute dogs sleeping

If you love dogs like we do, check out some of these hilarious YouTube videos of dogs dreaming. The next time you notice your dog dreaming, pay close attention—who knows, maybe you’ll be able to guess what she’s dreaming about?

P.S.

Does your dog dream often? We’d love for you to share funny doggy dreaming stories. Also, have you ever dreamed about your own dog? Tell us about it—we’d love to know!

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