I am quite certain that you have experienced this before. You are in the living room, watching television and relaxing after a long day at work. And then, all of a sudden, you hear your dog whining and scratching in his dog kennel. Curious of what’s going on, you get up to check him only to find out he is in deep slumber. “He must be having a bad dream,” you say to yourself.
But is that what’s exactly happening when dogs make those odd movements and noises while sleeping? Though dogs cannot talk to tell us what them dreamt about, there are lots of scientific studies that prove these animals do dream.
Let’s discover more.
Sleeping Similar to Humans
While there are many obvious differences between a dog and a human brain, they are somewhat similar on a structural level. Because of that, experts conclude that there are higher chances that dogs also dream.
Like humans, dogs enter into a stage of deep slumber that is accompanied by irregular breathing and rapid eye movements. At this stage, it is believed that we humans dream. And same as with dogs, it is also the point when we hear them whining or whimpering for no reason while sleeping.
What They Dream About
Although we are not 100% sure whether dogs dream, there are some things we need to understand, assuming that they really do.
First is the theory that says smaller dogs tend to dream more than the bigger breeds. While there is no valid evidence to support that, it has been observed that Chihuahuas and toy poodles have new dreams once every 10 minutes. Golden retrievers, on the other hand, only dream once every 1 and ½ hours.
Seeing our dogs acting strange in their sleep may be sometimes frightening and surprising. But then again, it is normal, healthy, and natural!
Compared to humans who have a part of the brain that keeps them from acting out what they’re dreaming of, dogs don’t. So the tendency is we see them do things like fighting with unseen burglars, chasing cats and birds, and digging imaginary holes, while in deep sleep.
How to Know if Your Dog Is Having a Dream
So how do you know if your canine buddy is having a dream? It’s easy. Observe him while sleeping. If you notice he is making odd gestures and sounds after 20 minutes, experts say your dog might be in some kind of a great adventure!
For a medium-sized dog, you can easily tell when he is having a dream. In the first 20 minutes, breathing cycle would appear regular. After that, you will notice changes – eyes moving around the closed lids and irregular breathing.
Dog Sleep vs. Human Sleep
Even if dogs dream like humans, the amount of sleep is very different. On average, a human sleeps about 7 to 8 hours in a day. A dog, in contrary, sleeps 12 to 14 hours per day, which is about 50% of their day.
That probably explains why dogs escape one sleep problem that is prevalent among humans – sleep paralysis. In this condition, a man’s consciousness returns ahead before the brain could even switch on the muscles. As a result, he wakes up only to find out he can’t move. This usually happens when there is sleep deprivation, which is obviously rare for dogs.
Don’t Wake Him Unless Needed
Because dogs dream, try to give them time alone when they are sleeping. As a responsible pet owner, you have a better understanding of how important rest is for them.
Also, it is worth noting that there are dangers involved with waking up a sleeping dog. According to statistics, about 60% of kids who are bitten by dogs, are those who wake up sleeping canines. Hence, it would be safe to teach children to never bother a dog while he is in his deep slumber.
It is understandable that waking up a dog is somewhat tempting, but as much as possible try to resist the urge. If you insist to wake him up, not only will you interrupt his sleep, but also he is more likely to wake up disoriented and possibly angry, affecting your relationship with him. Well, if you really need to wake them up, just avoid touching them. If possible, use a calm and soft voice, too.
Actually, if dogs did not dream, it would be even more surprising. But now you know all these, just enjoy watching them sleeping peacefully. He’s probably in his glorious moments after finally catching your neighbour’s cat!
If you find this topic interesting, feel free to share your experiences or thoughts. Also, you might want to download the eBook below. I know you’re going to love it as much as others did!