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When your kiddo goes to bed, you sometimes watch them wondering what they are dreaming about.
If you are lucky, they will shout your name or that of a friend as the dream catches fire.
Well, ever wondered what your beloved pup’s dream zone is really like?
Amidst the twitching, tail wagging, yipping, and occasional barks, do you think your animal friend dreams?
If he does dream, do you think he dreams about you?
See, animals are complicated. Their brains albeit similar to ours in some ways, work quite differently.
For instance, your dog cannot process grief as you do.
When you or another member of the family passes on, don’t expect your loving pup to cry over you.
They may wonder where you are for some time but they will soon move on.
There have been numerous reports of dogs eating their owners after they transit to the next world.
All these reasons make it hard to predict what your doggie dreams about when they go to slumber land.
For many doggo parents, their dogs simply don’t dream.
Those that do probably dream about chasing other dogs, fighting over food, and doing other canine things.
But, do dogs dream about their owners?
Do Dogs Dream?
First and foremost, we need to answer the question of whether your pooch is actually a dreamer or not.
Like humans, dogs sleep to recharge body systems and allow for cell growth.
During sleep, the brain is quite active and exhibits activity according to VCA Hospitals.
Dreams make up part of the canine sleep cycle much like that of humans.
When your pup falls asleep, his brain processes are quieter as the body is not totally relaxed.
After a while, deep sleep sets in and the brain goes into active mode.
Here, muscles are more relaxed and the dog may breathe heavily and rapidly, whine, and move his limbs.
When you compare human and canine brain activities at this stage, you will notice similar electrical activity.
That proves that dogs do dream when they go to sleep.
What Do Dogs Dream About?
It is virtually impossible to determine what a dog is dreaming about at any given time.
We can only speculate.
The American Kennel Club claims that the behavior of your pup as he lies down can give some pointers.
For instance, if his paws are always twitching and his lips moving, chances are that he is running a lot in his sleep.
Perhaps he is chasing something, running after a tennis ball, or playing with his doggie friend.
One dog owner, during an interview with a Harvard psychologist, predicted that his doggie once had a nightmare related to his bath time.
The pooch hated taking a bath and when it was over, he would dash out of the water and hide between the owner’s legs.
When the dog was dreaming one day, the owner observed him perform the exact thing right from sleep.
This made him conclude that the doggie was indeed dreaming about having a bath.
Dreamland, for your dog, is a combination of fragments of real life and mixed-up scenarios.
Anything interesting in their daily lives can trigger the subconscious mind and create dreams when they go to sleep.
That can also mean something bad like being abused, injured in a car accident, or being fought by a bigger doggie.
Do Dogs Dream About Their Owners?
Knowing that your dog dreams about his daily activities is quite fascinating.
However, what if we told you that he also dreams about you?
That’s right. Researchers have discovered that like humans, dogs can dream about other humans.
One such individual is Dr. Deirdre Barret, Harvard’s clinical and evolutionary psychologist.
He’s conducted extensive research on canine sleep behavior and found that dogs dream about similar experiences we humans dream about.
“Since dogs are very attached to their human parents, it is highly likely that your pooch is dreaming about your face, smell, and pleasing or annoying you.” He told People Magazine.
Your dog loves you and thinks about you often.
When he goes to bed, you are likely to pop up somewhere in his subconscious.
What a wonderful thing to know!
This experiment about rats’ sleep patterns also helps give a better meaning to what dogs dream about when they sleep.
A couple of rats living in ideal situations were allowed to run around in a maze and then later allowed to fall asleep.
Their brain activities were monitored both when they were running around and when they fell into a deep sleep.
The findings revealed that the brains lit up exactly the same when the rats were active and when they were asleep.
Scientists concluded that the rats were dreaming about running around the maze as they slept.
They later claimed that animals dream as we do.
They dream about all the long walks they have with their owners, countless belly rubs offered during the day, rewards for good behavior, and the many snuggles they enjoy sleeping next to them.
Dogs may also dream about an experience they’ve had with you or a past owner.
For instance, if he lived in an abusive home, the same is certainly going to be replayed in his dream world.
As a pet owner, you might want to monitor your dog’s dreams occasionally to find out if they are normal or nightmare-ish.
If the doggie is always showing signs of having a nightmare, he will need psychological help to get over the trauma.
More importantly, try to create good memories with your pup to allow comfortable sleep patterns in the future.
Do Dogs Have Nightmares?
Speaking of nightmares, dogs also have them.
Not all their dreams are delightful.
Sometimes their minds drift to bad storylines that the dogs may not want to recall.
An example is past trauma as stated above.
A dog that barks at you when they wake up from sleep, is likely having a nightmare.
Some go to the extent of acting very aggressively towards their owner for a couple of seconds before snapping out of it.
When you notice your dog having a nightmare, the first thought that comes to mind is to wake the poor thing and comfort him.
That can cause the dog to act out of disorientation or fear.
The old adage “let the sleeping dogs lie” is true.
Children are especially vulnerable and should never wake sleeping dogs.
Let the dream run its course then after the dog is awake, offer some comfort to him.
Other signs that may show that your dog is having a nightmare include sweaty paws, growling, whining and whimpering, tense jaw, and fast-paced breathing.
If nightmares persist, take the dog to the vet as they may signal sleep disorders.
You may also want to check out: Can Dogs Have Nightmares And Pee?
How Often Do Dogs Dream?
Now that you know that your dog dreams about you, you probably wonder how often that happens.
The truth is that, like us, different dogs dream differently.
Size is a big player here.
According to AKC, small pups dream often and fast.
They may dream for 60 seconds every ten minutes or so.
Larger breeds, on the other hand, enjoy longer dreams of up to five minutes long every other hour.
That means they stay for 60 minutes or so in between dreams.
While your Great Dane may not enjoy many dreams at night, he certainly has longer ones than your Maltese.
Similarly, puppies dream more often than adult dogs.
The reason is that their little brains process a lot of information at night than their adult counterparts.
Do dogs dream about their owners?
Yes, they do according to canine experts.
Their love and loyalty extend into the dream world.
If you thought your dog couldn’t get any affectionate, now you know.
That’s why he is called ‘man’s best friend.”
Sable M. is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.