Even humans’ best friends may dream or even have nightmares as they sleep. All dog owners will certainly have watched their dogs sleep and heard them yelp and move their paws in a really funny fashion. But what do dogs dream about?
What do dogs dream about?
It’s impossible to know for sure what dogs dream about, but several scientific studies show the presence of things in common between the way Toto’s brain and a human brain work during sleep. From this fact, one can assume that the contents of canine dreams may be similar to human dreams, both connected to experiences in real life. We, for instance, dream about what we know, what we consider important, and what makes us scared.
A recent research by Harvard University showed that a dog’s favourite dream material is his owner. Doctor Deirdre Barrett, in an interview to People, stated: “As dogs are in general extremely attached to their owners, it’s very likely that they dream about their face, their smell, the pleasure of remembering them or, in some cases, owner as a nightmare, when the relationship is not exactly pleasant.”
Dream or nightmare?
During the R.E.M. phase, dogs go through a deep sleep phase, and it’s during this period that the experiences lived that day, or somewhere else in the past, are fixated in the brain. If your dog has experienced something negative, he’s likely to dream about it, which will make him look scared in his sleep, even trembling or downright crying. We can suppose that when they’re moving their legs in their sleep, they’re dreaming about running, playing or hunting; if they’re moving their mouth, they’re likely to be dreaming about eating or enjoying their favourite delicacy.
Curiosities about dog dreams
Not all dogs dream the same. Puppies have longer R.E.M. phases (therefore longer dream phases) than adult dogs, as they need to store more data and sleep more consecutive hours. Small dogs have shorter but more frequent dreams than large ones, which dream less often, but for longer periods.
It’s important never to wake up a dog from his sleep, even when it looks like he’s having a nightmare, as this would scare him and is likely to cause an unexpected reaction.
Do your dogs dream in their sleep?