Dogs are just like human beings. They eat, they drink, they play, and they sleep. All of these are things that we can see physically from them. But what about the things that we cannot see with our bare eyes such as dreaming? Can dogs dream? If so, what do dogs dream about?
As a dog owner, I am pretty sure that you must already have these questions in your mind. But since these questions are not openly discussed given that many people tend to hide such things due to embarrassment by thinking these are absurd questions. These intellectual inquiries have been mostly overlooked by some people. Now let’s find out the answer to your query.
Have you ever had a time when you checked on your dog while he is resting and he suddenly jerks? Or were you worried to see that your dog is having some irregular breathing while he sleeps which made you think that he is sick or something? If you observed these things in your puppies and adult dogs, then there is nothing to worry about as your dog might just simply be dreaming.
Yes, you heard it right. Dogs and dreams. Now, several other questions might arise upon reading our simple introduction. But we address your all queries related to dog’s dreaming in the following section in the best way we can.
Do Dogs Dream?
Some people don’t actually think that dogs can dream. But believe it or not, some studies show that dogs indeed have dreams on their own. There were researchers who studied dogs and their brain activities while sleeping and they found out that humans and dogs have similar sleep patterns and brain wave activities during the sleep. Dogs also have a phase in their sleep called the deep sleep stage, wherein they experience irregular breathing and have REM sleep, or what we call the rapid eye movements.
When Do Dogs Get Dreams?
The SWS is the first stage experienced by your dog when he first falls asleep. In this stage, your dog’s mental processes are quiet. However, its muscle tone is the same as when he is awake. During the SWS, there are undulating and slow brain waves. It will make your dog look like he is just plainly and calmly resting. Since their muscles are not completely relaxed at this stage yet, they are easily awakened by noises and other external factors during this particular stage.
After the SWS comes to the REM. During the rapid eye movements, your dog’s body becomes relaxed in a full sense of the word. However, even if the body feels fully relaxed, the mind of your dog is working very rapidly, which leads to the darting of the eyes in a quick manner. In REM stage, the dog’s brainwaves are surprisingly fast and regular and follow the pattern of the brain waves while your dog is awake.
There are times when a dog becomes loud or active during the REM stage and this can alarm owners who are not knowledgeable enough that their canines are simply having dreams. Rest assured that this stage is perfectly normal and is just natural for your dogs to undergo. Hence, there is no need to worry about it.
How Can You Know When Your Dog Enters into a Dream?
Your dog usually enters into a dream state after 20 minutes of uninterrupted sleep. If you want to know how to know when dogs have dreams, watch their eyes so keenly. You can see them having an eye twitch. It signals that your dog is already gone into a dream world.
Signs That Show Your Dog Is Dreaming
During REM sleep, actual dreaming occurs in dogs and it is also accompanied by other involuntary movements. For example, if your dog is dreaming about him running or walking, he or she may move his or her legs while sleeping. If excited, your canine may whine or whimper. Irregular breathing such as breathing rapidly or holding their breath for short periods of time may also occur during the dream state.
Since dogs stay awake more than humans do, we might find it hard to catch them dreaming in their REM stage of sleep. Such REM sleep can only happen when your dog is really tired from a very long day of strenuous activities and exercise. If you really want to see your dog dream, then I suggest that you tire him out with energy draining activities all throughout the day, and you stay awake to observe him while he is still sleeping and as he enters the REM stage of sleep.
What Do Dogs Dream About?
Curious as many of us are, we can never tell what dogs dream about since, unlike humans they could not talk about their sleeping experience. However, studies suggest that dogs actually dream in the same way as humans. They dream about regular day-to-day activities that they are engaging in such as walking in the park, eating, and playing with their human family.
Do All Dogs Dream Equally?
No. Not all dogs dream equally. The amount of time dogs spend in dreams vary from dog to dog and time to time. Scientists say that smaller dogs dream more than the larger ones. In this case, we can think that a Shih Tzu may dream once every ten minutes, when compared to a Doberman who might only dream once every 1 ½ hour. While small dogs dream more frequently, they usually have shorter dreams that can only last for a minute or so. On the other hand, large dogs dream less, but they have longer dreams when compared to the length of the dream of the smaller ones lasting from 5 to 10 minutes.
It was also suggested that dreams occur more in puppies than in adult dogs. Puppies dream more since they have many newly acquired experiences that their brain needs to process, and these affect their sleeping time too. Adult dogs usually have REM sleep for 10-12% of their sleeping time.
Factors That Affect the Dogs Dreaming
So, say me now, do dogs dream? For humans, dreams are nothing but the reflection of your deep thoughts regarding the past events or the futuristic imaginations. These have a very high impact on you while you are sleeping. Basically, it is also the same with dogs. Hence, external factors such as weather, temperature and other things do not quite affect how your dogs dream.
External factors can only affect a particular dream if it plays an important role on your dog’s life. Let’s say, for example, he was left outside the house while there was a storm coming in and thunder crashing. The dog will be traumatized, and the bad weather might trigger his nightmares.
Since dogs cannot speak up about what greatly affects their dreams, humans can only guess what these factors are. However, it is strongly believed that dogs dream about what they can see in their waking life and these experiences can be one of the factors that affect their dream.
The age of the canine will also affect the quality of dreams in our pet company. Since puppies have many new experiences and memories to process than the older the older ones, they experience more frequent dreams.
It is strongly believed that the size of the dog also plays an important role in the dog’s dreaming time. The amount of sleep being required is tantamount to the size of your dog too. If you have a larger dog breed, then you should expect that this breed requires more sleep. On the other hand, small dog breeds may stay awake most times of the day.
Another factor that can affect your dog’s dream is the amount of activity he has during the day. Activities that your dog engages in may either tire him out or make him more hyper. Such activities will affect your dog’s sleep cycle and amount of sleep, thereby, affecting your dog’s dreams too.
How Long Do Dogs Dream?
Dream length differs from dog breeds, sizes and even age. As said earlier, smaller dogs dream more often though for only short periods of time, while large dogs dream less frequently but their dreams can last between 5 to 10 minutes. Dogs who are middle-aged also tend to dream less in comparison to puppies and older dogs.
Do Dogs Have Nightmares?
As said earlier, we are unable to know what dogs dream about since they could not speak and tell us what they are experiencing. But if we base the findings of researchers who found out that dogs dream similarly to humans as based on their brain wave activities, then, it is just and right to say that dogs can also experience dreaming about nightmares and some other bad stuff.
However, when dogs have nightmares, these frightening dreams would be less abstract compared to the nightmares we all experience. When dogs have nightmares, these dreams are probably more concrete and are likely to be realistic and revolves in real life threatening dangers that our canines are experiencing every day.
Do Dogs Have Wet Dreams?
It’s too personal for dogs. But still the question on whether dogs also experience wet dreams as humans do is a very interesting topic that we need to address.
Since they dream of having nightmares and the like, it is also sensible for us to say that dogs are also thinking of sexually satisfying scenes while they are sleeping. Well, we can even see how dogs can be when they mate in public. So, what’s stopping us to think that they are not doing it when their minds are at peace and resting?
For us to be clear on the answer to if dogs actually have wet dreams or not, I think that it is best for scientists to further study this side of the dog’s dreams. After all, many people are curious on what the answer is and to enhance our knowledge about what we need to understand regarding our dog’s behaviors when they are in dreamland.
What Should You Do When Your Dog Is in Dreamland?
Aside from restraining yourself from waking your dog from his dream, you are also giving him the time to recuperate his tired body from all of the activities that he needs to endure.
Just like humans, dogs also need their much needed sleep to have more energy to face the following day. It is also important that you should leave a resting and sleeping dog as it is because there can be dangers that can happen when you disturb their slumber.
It has been found that 60% of children bitten by dogs occurs when they try to wake up a sleeping dog. This is not a problem on the dog’s behavior on whether he is violent or not, but rather a simple natural instinct to react harshly when you are being disturbed while having a great sleep.
Since we all love dogs like family, it’s very important for us to understand them in every possible way we can. Knowing whether dogs can dream and what they dream about will help us to treat them even better. Let’s hope to find the awesome technologies to study our pet’s minds in the near future.