Your dog is sleeping peacefully – suddenly he kicks his legs wildly and starts to growl. And you ask yourself: can it be that my dog is dreaming? In fact, it is very likely! We have put together the most important information about dog dreams for you.
What Do Dogs Dream About When They Cry and Twitch?
Most dog owners suspect it: dogs can dream! Just like us humans, they move or make noises as they pound through their dream. Dogs can even bark in a dream. But the most common is muscle twitching and leg movements like when running. Some dogs growl, gasp, or whine while sleeping.
But of course not every four-legged friend makes dream movements with every nap. Like humans, dogs dream in the deep sleep phase, experts also speak of the “REM phase”. If you watch your four-legged friend carefully, you will see when he is transitioning into this deeply relaxed phase of sleep. Because “REM” stands for “rapid eye movement”.
Medium-sized dogs, on average, begin their first dream phase around 20 minutes after falling asleep. Take a closer look: With some fur noses, we can see the eye movements behind the closed eyelids. Outwardly, dog owners recognize a calmer, shallow breath.
What Do Dogs Dream About?
It would be exciting to find out what exactly our animal companion experiences when he barks in his sleep! Unfortunately, we cannot know exactly what dogs dream of. Presumably, as in humans, dreams serve to process experiences. So puppies dream of visiting the mother’s milk bar and little fights with their siblings.
Dogs who dream after a long hike in the forest experience individual moments of the day again or combine them in new ways. If a dog growls in its sleep, we can assume that it feels threatened. But of what? Whether from the dreamed neighbor dog or the street sweeper – we will never find out.
It is unclear whether dogs dream differently depending on the breed. Study results suggest this. It is likely, however, that hunting breeds dream differently than a Chihuahua in the city because of their different everyday lives. It is certain that large dogs dream longer but less often.
Dream phases often take place when the dog is slumbering in a relaxed side position.
Not a Good Idea: Wake Up the Dreaming Dog
Does your dog twitch in its sleep or start to whine? Nevertheless, the saying goes: sleeping dogs should not be woken up! But if the dog seems to be having a downright nightmare, you can speak to him gently. If you are lying on the sofa together with physical contact, you can wake him up with petting.
However, you should only wake up a really intense dreaming dog if you suspect a very unpleasant dream. Proceed carefully. Noise or rapid approach could frighten him. This would add an additional shock to the dream experience. Many dogs react with stress to sudden awakenings.
Dreaming is Important!
Why humans – and dogs – a dream is not fully understood. However, scientists suspect that all mammals need dreams in order to process the day. Not only the batteries of the body but also those of the head are recharged.
If a dog cannot dream, its ability to concentrate decreases. He may become aggressive or find it difficult to learn simple things. Getting enough sleep in a quiet place is just as important for dogs as it is for us humans. Depending on age and constitution, a dog can need up to 20 hours of sleep per day – plenty of time to dream!