Do dogs dream? Researchers say they do, and similar to humans. In 2001, researchers at MIT studied the activity of rats brains when they ran a race and while they were in rapid-eye movement sleep (REM). They found that the brain activities were similar in both instances and concluded that the rats must be dreaming about the maze they ran earlier in the day.
Since rats can dream, researchers posited that other animals, like dogs, would also dream in similar ways.
How can you tell when your dog is dreaming?
Usually they bark, whimper or twitch their legs in REM sleep. Another indicator that your dog is dreaming is if their eyes are moving behind their eyelids 10-20 minutes after they have fallen asleep.
A dog’s frequency of dreams is also dependent on their size. Researchers have found that small dogs, like toy poodles, dream about every 10 minutes whereas large dogs, like golden retrievers, only dream about every 90 minutes. There is further indication that puppies and senior dogs dream more than middle-age dogs.
So what are they dreaming about?
Very similar to people, dogs dream about waking things or doggy things…chasing a bird, digging a hole or even just running around.
But what to do if your dog is dreaming?
Ever heard of “let sleeping dogs lie?” It’s a pretty good old adage and one you should stick to. Waking your dog up during their REM sleep can be startling, similar to a person being awoken from a dream, and can result in your dog lashing out or being very drowsy in the morning.