Your dog is sleeping, then suddenly his leg is twitching, and his eyelids are moving quickly. Next, he lets out a whimper and you think, are dog dreams real?
Dog Dreams Are Natural
According to a 2001 MIT study on sleeping rats, “We looked at the firing patterns of a collection of individual cells to determine the content of rats’ dreams. We know that they are in fact dreaming and their dreams are connected to actual experiences.”
With that in mind, researchers assume the more intellectually complex dogs and cats, can dream just as much like rats.
Therefore, dog dreams are a natural part of their life. The twitching you witness in your dog is part of his or her daily routine. In fact, it’s most likely a healthy aspect of a dog’s life.
Josh Weiss-Roessler shares this about knowing if your dog is dreaming, “Simple. Watch him or her after they fall asleep. If you notice odd movements or sounds around 20 minutes in, you can bet that your dog is probably having some kind of adventure.”
Does Dog Size Make A Difference With Dreaming?
We are not sure why, but it seems smaller dogs dream more than larger breeds. Your Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles may dream every 10 minutes or so, compared to a larger retriever who dreams once every 90 minutes.
“Just like us, dogs dream. They go through three sleep stages: NREM, non-rapid eye movement; REM, rapid eye movement; and SWS, short-wave sleep. It is in the SWS stage that a dog breathes heavily while he is sleeping. Animal experts theorize that dogs dream during the REM stage and act on their dreams by twitching or moving all four paws as if they were chasing a rabbit,” reports Arden Moore
How To Respond To Dreaming Dogs
Let sleeping dogs lie is the best idea.
What happens when you wake up suddenly from a dream? How do you feel? I feel startled and a bit confused about where I am. It is safe to assume the same about your dog.
As much as you are tempted to calm them with a gentle word or stroke of your hand, you may want to let them wake naturally.
Have you noticed your dog dreaming, share with us!
Here’s something you can do if your dog is afraid of thunderstorms.