Tip 77 – Do dogs dream – dreaming dogs – sleeping dogs
While dogs are sleeping they sometimes moan, whimper, growl and have involuntary body gestures such as twitching, tail wagging and lip licking. In fact if you watch your dog sleep, it sleeps in very much the same way we humans sleep. This phenomenon begs the often asked question: Do dogs dream. The evidence supports that yes, dogs dream.
Dogs are similar to humans with regard to their sleep patterns and their brain wave activity. Experiments testing canine brain wave activity during sleep have been reproduced and measured by researchers using an electroencephalogram (EEG). As they first fall asleep dogs are in a ‘lighter’ sleep mode where their breathing is very regular and they can be easily awakened. Once they enter deep sleep they are more difficult to awaken and their brain wave activity is greatly increased. Like humans, once in deep sleep they enter a stage where their breathing becomes more irregular and they have rapid eye movements (REM) where actual dreaming takes place.They enter and exit this dreaming stage several times per night. This rapid eye movement stage has this name because behind their closed eyelids, the dog’s eyes are moving rapidly back and forth. Presumably, they are watching the images that they are dreaming about. It is during this stage where they may also have involuntarily vocalizations and body movements. Even if it seems like they are having a bad dream it is best not to wake a sleeping dog. Dogs, like humans, need uninterrupted sleep for healthy mental activity.
Are all dogs alike with regard to their dreaming? Research suggests that small dogs dream more than larger dogs. Dream frequency also seems to be related to age where puppies dream more than adult dogs. Given that dogs can’t tell us their dreams, the 64,000 dollar question is what are dogs dreaming about. It is likely that dogs dream in a similar fashion to humans, dreaming up canine fantasies and the everyday things that make up their existence like chasing, playing and eating.