As pet parents, we have all watched our dogs twitch, bark, whimper, or appear to run in their sleep. It can be quite amusing to watch and wonder what is going on in their minds. Are they dreaming? Animal experts believe dogs do dream and their dreams are similar to ours.
According to researchers at MIT, dogs’ sleep cycle is similar to humans so their dream pattern would be close to humans’ dream patterns. Since humans often dream about things they do during the day, dogs would also. They dream about doggie activities.
During REM sleep, dogs will begin to twitch or bark and whine. Stanley Coren of AKC Family Dog tells pet parents to watch their dogs about 10 to 20 minutes after they have fallen asleep. You will likely see their eyes moving behind their eyelids. This indicates they have begun to dream.
Because there is such a strong bond between dogs and their humans, it is reasonable to assume that your dog is dreaming about you. Dr. Deirdre Barrett, Psychologist at Harvard Medical School tells People.com “since dogs are generally extremely attached to their human owners, it’s likely your dog is dreaming of your face, your smell and of pleasing or annoying you.” Dogs will also dream about chasing an animal or maybe something that happened to them during the day. When your dog is sleeping and their legs start to move, they are most likely dreaming about running. The Sleep Foundation tells us that different breeds dream differently and the subject of their dreams will usually be a trait or activity that is common to the breed. For example, Pointers will dream about looking for game and will often “point” in their sleep.
Sometimes it may seem like your dog is in distress when they cry or bark in their sleep. That is not the case. It is always best to “let sleeping dogs lie.” Interrupting their REM cycle can be jarring and scary for your dog. Just let them sleep and dream and enjoy watching them sleep.
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