As your sweet pup is curled up and peacefully sleeping, you might wonder to yourself, “are they dreaming about anything?” Especially if your canine companion starts to twitch, kick, or make noises in their sleep, you’ve probably questioned what’s going on in that furry little head of theirs. If you’ve ever wanted to know whether your pooch can or is dreaming, we’ve got the answers.
Through research that tracked and compared rats’ brain activity when they were running mazes versus when they were sleeping, we know that they experience the same sleep cycle that we do when we’re dreaming. And since rats are less intellectually complex than our canine companions, a fair assumption was made that dogs can dream in a similar way that we found rats do.
When in REM sleep, dogs have been known to bark or twitch their legs. Sometimes their movements can even correlate with their specific breed’s habits. For example, a Pointer might seem like they’re searching for prey and even go to a point when dreaming, while a Springer Spaniel might seem to be flushing an imaginary bird while fast asleep. If you’re really curious about Fido’s dreaming, try to watch them about 10 to 20 minutes after they fall asleep. If you can see their eyes moving behind their eyelids, then you know that their dreaming has begun.
It may seem weird, but research has actually shown that smaller dogs tend to dream more than their larger companions. A breed like a Toy Poodle may have a dream once every 10 minutes. While a Golden Retriever will probably only have a dream once every 90 minutes. Puppies also tend to be frequent dreamers. This might have something to do with processing all their newly acquired senses and experiences.
If you do notice your pooch dreaming, the best thing to do is let them be. Disturbing a pup while in REM can actually be dangerous for you. This is because Fido might be disoriented upon waking and accidentally snap at you before realizing who you are. The phrase “let sleeping dogs lie” is actually a great statement to follow here.
Learning more about your furry friend, like if they can dream, is a great way to strengthen the bond between you two. The more you know, the better!
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