Do Canines Actually Dream? Find Out What They Dream About

Do canines dream like humans? Have you ever wondered about it? Is your K-9 capable of having nightmares? What about puppies?

These are all very interesting questions and, believe it or not; there is quite a lot of science that goes behind them. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of their sleep in an attempt to understand a little bit more about their dream world.

Can a Dog Dream?

Not only do they sleep (find out how much they need), but they also dream. And, interestingly enough, dogs apparently create thoughts about things which are quite similar us. Of course, this fact is based on scientific assumptions. You see, dogs have a brain which more complex than ours.

They do show the same electrical sequences. That’s why scientists have accepted that it is quite reasonable to believe that dogs, just like us, are dreaming.

How to Tell If Your K-9 Is Dreaming

Dogs usually start dreaming no more than 20 minutes once they have fallen asleep. One of the most obvious telltale signs that you can be looking out for is the REM cycle. Just like us, they go through a few different phases through their sleep, and the rapid eye movement is amongst of them.

The easiest way to notice this is to go ahead and take a closer look at the eyelids – you’d be able to notice whether or not his eyes are moving underneath. If they are – your dog is probably deep in thought. Also, you can look for certain twitches in their body. Just like us, their imaginations might provoke sudden body movements (or even bark). A dog running in sleep or loud dog dreaming noises are quite common, and you are likely to observe them as well.

What Do K-9s Dream About?

As we’ve already established, canines are quite similar to us. However, there’s no certain way of being 100% sure what they imagine in their thoughts. We have to guess.

If your dog’s paws are twitching and if his lips are moving, the chances are that the dog is chasing something or it is running in his sleep. If he starts barking while sleeping, he might be preventing a theft or chasing off an intruder in your home? We'll never know for sure, but the chances are that it’s going to be something like that.

puppy sleeping in the cubby

Commonly Asked Questions

Can The Breed Affect Their Dreams?

Just like humans, not all dogs imagine the very same things or even for the same duration. For instance, smaller breeds tend to have a higher frequency compared to larger ones. However, they also tend to dream for shorter durations. Larger breeds, on the contrary, have longer (but fewer) occurences.

Now, once again – there is no real way of being 100% certain about it, but we can hazard a guess that the breed might also determine the type of dreams the dog is having. A large Doberman, for instance, is unlikely to imagine the same things as a small pug, genuinely because of their nature and behaviors.

Can The Size Affect Their Dreams?

Yes, their size might be able to directly impact their dreams as we’ve explained above. This is also because their brains are rather primitive when it comes to making the association. Unlike humans, the size of the dog is directly related to his self-worth and psychology.

You know how smaller dogs tend to be more bossy and pushy while larger ones are lenient and relaxed? It’s commonly determined by the size of the dog, generally because the same would also determine their overall behavior.

Can Your Canine Have Nightmares?

Naturally, some will be nightmares. You are likely to notice it when your K-9 has a nightmare, but it’s important to let it pass. This is mainly true because your dog could lash out or attack the person who is waking them.

Of course, they would do so unwillingly, but it is easy to see how this could become a serious problem, especially if your little kid is the one waking the dog up.

Do K-9s Sleep Walk?

While, theoretically, dogs might be able to sleepwalk, chances of this happening are rather slim. On the other hand, you are far more likely to see the animal paddling its feet as if it is currently running. Additionally, it could engage in certain jerky movements of its body as well.

Do Cats Dream As Well?

Cats can dream as well. If you’ve seen your feline friend twitching in their sleep, the chances are that he or she has a dream. Even though their sleeping patterns are quite different, this is something that they have in common with dogs.

Find out why your cat sleeps so much.

large canine sleeping by the water

Conclusion


As you can see, there’s a lot that we have in common with our K-9 and feline friends when it comes to the realm of dreams. As sensational as it may sound to certain people, our dogs have brains which might even be more complex than ours and it is only natural that they are dreaming commonly.

So, the next time you see your best bud running in his sleep or barking uncontrollably – don’t be alarmed. It is something as natural as you talking in your sleep.

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Author: Sleep Advisor

Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.

Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

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