Our Pets

Our Pets

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Do Dogs Dream?

There is plenty of scientific evidence that dogs do dream. A commonly cited one is the fact that animals of lower intelligence, such as rats, have been researched on the subject and found to dream while sleeping, so, if a rat dreams, a higher intelligence animal such as a dog also dreams. Dogs sleep more than people do. On average, dogs sleep for about 12 to 14 hours of every 24-hour cycle, but for puppies, seniors and certain breeds of dogs this statistic raises to 18-to-20 hours. With all this sleeping time there is plenty of opportunity for dreaming; and that’s exactly what dogs do.

At the structural level, the brains of dogs are similar to the brains of humans. Also, during sleep, our brain wave patterns are similar, so it is not surprising at all that the structure of dogs sleep resembles that of humans. Like humans, dogs cycle through stages of wakefulness, rapid-eye-movement or REM and non-rapid-eye-movement. Also like humans, dogs dream both during REM and non-REM stages, but we, humans, can only remember what we dream during REM. We can extrapolate this observation to dogs, but we are not sure.

Based on her body movements and extrapolating from our human experience, it is believed that when a dog is dreaming, she is dreaming about you, the owner. Human dreams consist of replaying events that we experienced throughout that day, but in a more visual and less concrete or rational way. Simply put, our dreams connect to actual experiences or components of events that happened while we were awake. For dogs, we, owners, are the most relevant event in their lives, so, when dogs dream, they are dreaming about what they did that day with us.

If you want to know when your dog starts dreaming, wait for about 20 minutes after he or she falls asleep. When you start seeing his/her eyes moving, like blinking, behind the eyelids, that’s the moment when your dog starts dreaming. Not all dogs dream the same. Small dogs dream more than large dogs; puppies and seniors dream more than middle-aged dogs.

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