Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
Health Learn About Dogs

What Do Dogs Dream About?

Sep 2 ·

What do dogs dream about? As a dog owner, it might be a question you’ve had after seeing your dogs sleep. You can see them twitching and moving in their sleep, so you might assume it’s because of a dream. After all, humans sometimes move around in their sleep when dreaming, so why wouldn’t dogs?

But you might have the question: what do dogs dream about? Do they have happy dreams or nightmares? Let’s explore.

Do Dogs Dream Like Us?

Yes! Scientists believe that dogs do dream like us. It’s just one more similarity between us and our best friends, making us feel even closer to them. 

Dogs go through the same sleep cycle, including the REM stage, which is the deepest part of sleep where dreaming is possible and more intense. If they’re sleeping lightly, their dreams won’t be very much, if they happen at all. 

What Do Dogs Dream About?

what do dogs dream about

When people dream, it can be about anything. They can dream about realistic scenarios or have nightmares about terrifying monsters and things that could never logically happen.

What about dogs?

Just like us, the dreams vary, but it’s likely they dream about everyday things that have actually happened to them. It’s not as if dogs have much of an imagination, after all. They might be dreaming about the cat they chased that day, or the piece of tasty cheese you gave them after performing a great trick. Most likely, the dreams are fairly mundane, and you usually don’t need to worry that your dog is being terrorized by extreme nightmares.

What Affects The Dreams?

The dog’s life affects the dream, mostly, and what kind of activities they get up to. Research has also suggested that small dogs have more frequent dreams, though science isn’t quite sure why this is.

The breed can affect it too. For example, a highly active Australian shepherd is more likely to dream about running around in a field than a lazier dog.

The Risks

Yes, there are risks involved with dogs dreaming.

Because dogs dream about everyday activities, they likely aren’t plagued with imaginative nightmares as humans can be. However, they might dream about traumatic things they’ve experienced or something they were chasing. 

If you see your dog squirming, or they look uncomfortable, you might be tempted to wake them. This, however, can be dangerous. You might trust your dog because they’ve never been aggressive towards you, but chances are when they wake up, they don’t know where they are or who is waking them in that second. This means they could be prone to snapping at you or biting you in those first few seconds, even if they don’t mean to. 

Let them work through the dream and wake up on their own. They’ll be just fine, and it’s better than disorienting them. This can be especially dangerous with children, and you should keep other animals away from them too while dreaming, especially if the animal is smaller and more delicate than them — like a cat.

Comfort your dog after they wake up instead. This will be a lot better for both them and you. 

Can I Make My Dog Dream Less?

what do dogs dream about

If your dog is prone to dreaming a lot, you might wonder if there’s anything that can influence this — but the truth is, not really!

You can only lessen your dog’s stress and anxiety, as this might be making them have more dreams. If your dog is anxious, keeping them on a schedule so they know what to expect every day can be a good option. For the most part though, some dogs dream more, some dogs dream less, and that’s just how they’re wired. If your dog has frequent dreams, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. 

So, what do dogs dream about? Everything and anything! The difference is, they’re a bit limited because they don’t have an imagination like humans do. Ultimately though, it’s impossible to know what your dog is dreaming about.

If they’re moving or whining in their sleep, let them work through it, even if it seems like it could be a nightmare. They’ll come out of it on their own and be just fine without your interference.

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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