What Do Dogs Dream About? Should I Wake Up My Dog?

What Do Dogs Dream About? Should I Wake Up My Dog?

Last update: 20 June, 2018

How many times have you been on the couch, and suddenly your dog starts barking in his sleep? Probably many times, and it has made you wonder whether you should wake him up or not. You also may even have wondered what dogs dream about. Would you like to know? Well, continue reading to find out!
Despite many debates on this subject, science has shown that dogs dream about things in everyday life. What might these things be? For example, a dog can dream about eating his favorite food, chasing an animal, or finding his favorite toy.
People have also speculated about if dogs can have nightmares. Some people believe that when a dog barks instead of just moving while asleep, it’s a sign that he’s having a nightmare.  Some people say it’s true, and others don’t agree. There is really no definite answer.

Why do dogs move when they sleep?

Sleep is divided into two different types of sleep: the slow wave sleep and REM sleep. REM is the deepest form of sleep, and it takes place when we have vivid dreams that seem real.

A puppy dreaming

Like people, all dogs don’t dream at the same frequency and ease. However, since REM sleep intensity is the same regardless of a dog’s size, small dogs dream more frequently and more vividly than big ones.

You also have to consider the time it takes to enter into REM sleep, which is about ten minutes for a small dog, twenty for a medium-sized one, and thirty for a large one.
The movements a dog might make while dreaming are spasms in his extremities, barking, stomach spasms, ocular tics, etc.

Should you wake a dreaming dog?

How do you feel when you wake up while dreaming? Probably disoriented, lost, and overwhelmed. You might even be a bit angry, especially if you liked the dream.
A dog can express more with his tail in minutes than an owner can express with his tongue in hours.
-Karen Davison-
Your dog will feel the same way if you wake him up. He might be shocked, and might even bite you because he doesn’t know where he is. On the other hand, if he’s trying to rest, why interrupt him? It’s just a dream, there’s nothing wrong with him. He needs his rest as much as you do, so let him enjoy it.

What do dogs dream about? Do they always dream?

The answer is no. This is because enough time needs to pass in order to enter into REM sleep, and dogs don’t always have the ability or the sleeping environment to sleep for half an hour without any interruptions. Their finely-tuned ears and noses always wakes them up by sensing things around them.
A white puppy sleeping
This is something that dogs have inherited from their ancestors the wolves. Wolves, live in a hostile environments in which survival is for the fittest, therefore, they have to sleep with one eye open. In order to protect their lives, they had to disrupt their rest by staying awake.
This is a natural instinct dogs have and it will remain forever.  Apparently, a canine sleeps around five to twenty minutes, then wakes up for another five minutes until he falls asleep again. Although he doesn’t have a reason to fear for his life, his natural guardian and protective instincts cause him to sleep this way.
So, dogs dream, and they maybe even have nightmares. Don’t wake up your dog because dreaming is is part of resting. Just like you rest when you dream, so does your dog. Let him stick to his sleep schedule and don’t interrupt it.
Keeping this in mind will help you understand your dog better. Therefore, you’ll be able to take care of him better and have a more loving relationship.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.