It might come as a surprise to some doggie parents but our four-legged companions sleep just as much as we do. Like their human family, dogs sleep in cycles. Research suggests that dogs first start out in the SLW (slow wave sleep) cycle, which is when your dog turns his thoughts off but still maintains muscle tone. Next, your dog will enter the REM (rapid eye movement) cycle of sleep. The REM cycle is when deep sleep occurs and dreaming. Most dogs sleep roughly 14 hours a day but some dogs, like Mastiffs and Saint Bernards can sleep up to 18 hours a day. As you probably have noticed, your pup will not sleep 14 straight hours but will often wake up. Even during the night when their human family is off in dreamland, your pooch may actually be awake. Read on to learn more about how dogs spend their sleeping hours.
Do dogs dream?
Yes! It is believed that dogs do, indeed, dream. Just like us, a dog’s dreams are very realistic. Your dog may dream of chasing around after his favorite four-legged chum or even being chased by something not as friendly.
How to tell when Fido is dreaming
Have you ever noticed when Fido is asleep that his eyelids may move, he may whimper, bark or that his legs may start to move like he running after something or being chased? Believe it or not, your dog is most likely dreaming. You can kind of get an idea about the pace of your dog’s dream by how fast or how slow his legs are moving or by the sounds they are making. You may even get the sense of whether or not your pup is having a nightmare by the intensity of their whimpering or movements, as a puppy parent this can be hard to watch.
What not to do
If you suspect that your pooch could be in the midst of a bad dream, as hard as it may be, do not wake him. Because a dog’s dream is essentially reality, waking them abruptly can cause them to be agitated and might even cause your dog to bite or growl. You want them to associate waking from sleep as a peaceful time not something to be on guard about. You can gently call your dog’s name until they are no longer asleep. Wait a moment until you feel certain your pooch is alert and awake. Then you can show your pup some affection. More often than not, it is best to let your dog remain sleeping. Remember, uninterrupted sleep is as beneficial to dogs as it is to humans.
Doggie dreaming facts…
- Puppies appear to dream more than older dogs.
- Research shows that smaller dogs dream more than big dogs.
- Dogs dream similarly to humans in that their dreams usually consist of day-to-day stuff.