We love our canines, and it is safe to assume that our canines love us very much. We keep our dogs warm, healthy, safe, and fed. In return, they shower us with endless amounts of love, cuddles, and affection.
Researchers and scientists have invested countless amounts of money in trying to figure out the brain of canines and why they think the way they do. Many experiments have been carried out to better understand the working of a dog’s brain and psyche.
Thanks to these countless experiments, we now have somewhat of an understanding of everything that goes on inside the brain of canines. Similarly, we also have an idea about what happens when they sleep.
Do dogs dream?
Well, like human beings, dogs also dream when they sleep. If you have ever observed your pet while it is knocked out, you may have noticed that your dog moves its tail or sometimes even legs, as if it is chasing something. And, maybe your dog is chasing something.
Did you know that there is a great deal of similarity between the structure of dogs and human beings? Both, humans and dogs, show cycles of electrical activity that are similar. Hence, it is not wrong to assume that dogs dream. And not only do they dream, but they process activities from everyday life.
For dogs, their dreams are a mix of elements of everyday life, along with scenarios.
Do dogs dream about their person?
As said above, dogs can dream about real-life scenarios. But you are such a huge part of their life. You feed them, take them out for walks and take good care of your beloved canine. Does this mean that your dog also dreams about you? The answer is – yes!
Considering that you are a significant part of their life, and they spend much time with you, it is possible that they dream about you.
How dogs sleep
Like humans, dogs also go through REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep and non-REM sleep. However, their required sleep is twelve to fourteen hours, but their sleep cycles are much shorter than ours.
We have sleep cycles that are from four to ninety minutes. On the other hand, dogs experience fifteen to twenty cycles every single night. Big dogs have longer sleep cycles and they are more likely to dream after the 90th minute. On the other hand, small dogs have shorter dreams, but they see dreams more often.
Taking an example, the Chihuahua dreams every ten minutes! How can we be so sure that dogs see dreams?
Study on dogs’ sleep
Research Assistants at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conducted a deep study on the neurons in the rat hippocampus. This is the region of the brain that plays a part in learning and memory. This was done to better understand and investigate the pattern of neural activity during REM sleep.
They then employed a task that was known to produce brain activity over long periods of time and then comparison was done with subsequent REM-sleep episodes to check for similarity in patterns.
From this research, they were shown that while sleeping, rats were actually recollecting experiences. To put this in layman’s terms: they were seeing dreams. The researchers were able to tell what part of the track these rats were dreaming about.
What do dogs see in their dreams?
It is actually very common for dogs to react to dream images. They do so by wagging their tail, barking, or whining. Sometimes, they even wake themselves up while doing so. However, this does not certainly mean that your dog is having nightmares. Your dog could be barking at something they bark at all the time, as it is a way to communicate for the canines.
Dogs cannot imagine and aren’t creative with their imagination, so you can say that they don’t experience nightmares as humans do. However, they could dream about experiences that were unpleasant to them, like a bath.
If you think your dog is seeing a scary dream, and you want to wake them up – don’t! You should never wake your dog up from a deep slumber. It can actually ruin their sleep and make them snap as well. On the other hand, if your dog’s behavior is getting worrying and you’re stressed then you should consult a professional. If your dog has started to have nightmares out of nowhere, it is better that you take them to a vet as there could be an underlying medical reason.
In dogs that are aged or older that cannot sleep, it could be linked to Doggie Alzheimer’s or Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.
While we cannot say for sure what a dog is dreaming about, we can draw the lines between their behavior. This means, that if your dog barks while it is asleep, it is possible it may be dreaming about an animal running up a tree, or something they would bark at when they are awake.
What are your views on this? Share in the comments bar below.