The Doggy Dream State

June 08, 2022 by admin

At some point during your stint as a dog owner, you have probably noticed your dog moving in his sleep, twitching his legs or making noises. So do those movements mean that your dog is deeply involved in a naptime fantasy of chasing an enormous steak or scaring away an intruder? Do dogs really dream while they are sleeping?

The Results of the Research

Scientists tend to agree with pet owners that dogs show evidence of dream behavior. Researchers conducted tests, measuring the brain wave patterns of dogs during sleep. They found that human and canine brain wave patterns are quite similar in sleep, with similar stages of electrical activity occurring in both species. The cyclical patterns of sleep seem to indicate the possibility of a dream state.

The Smarter Species

Believe it or not, animals much less intelligent than dogs appear to dream as well; for instance, scientists have observed dreamlike behavior in rats. Animals seem to have dreams about things that they do frequently. For example, the rats’ brains lit up during dreams in specific ways that correlated with the mazes they ran in the daytime. Since dogs have much more complex, intelligent brains, logic indicates that dog dreams are probably more similar to human dreams, involving more complex actions and experiences with which they are familiar.

Watching the Dream

Want to observe your dog’s dream state? You don’t need any fancy equipment. Simply note the time when your dog dozes off for a lengthy nap or a nighttime sleep. The deeper he sinks into sleep, the slower his breathing becomes. It takes around 20 minutes for a typical mid-sized dog to begin dreaming. When that happens, the breathing changes again, becoming shallower and less predictable. Peer at your dog’s eyelids, and you may see movement occurring behind them. This means that your pet is in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, a phase of sleep that usually includes dreams.

Don’t Wake a Sleeping Dog

Next time you see your dog moving oddly during a nap or you hear growling while he is asleep, don’t be concerned. Your pet is simply experiencing a natural occurrence—a normal, healthy dream sequence. Let the dream run its course, and avoid waking the dog up during this natural sleep cycle. In some cases, dogs that are otherwise perfectly friendly may bite when they are woken straight out of REM sleep. It is a natural reaction to the shock of being pulled out of the dream into the real world. The dog is disoriented for a moment, and reacts in response to a perceived threat. If you have children in the home, teach them not to wake the dog from a nap.

When to Worry

If your pet’s breathing becomes too shallow or seems labored during sleep or at any other time of the day, contact your veterinarian. For sleep disorders and related behaviors, your vet and a local dog training expert in Singapore should be able to help. For the most part, however, you can relax and let your pet dream. Maybe you can even grab a nap along with him.