So it’s 11:53pm and you’re willing yourself to catch up on all the episodes of Mad Men you missed when you hear a whimper and a scuttle from the corner of the room. Before jumping to the worst case scenario (a wild beast has somehow found its way into your living room), take a moment to consider the wild beast that’s already fast asleep in the room. What’s your dog dreaming about? Let’s see what modern science has to say about that.
What’s Going On in Your Dog’s Mind?
According to Psychology Today, there is recent research that suggests that animals less intelligent than dogs dream (such as rats), so it isn’t too farfetched to come to the conclusion that dogs dream. They cite the following as surefire signs your dog is dreaming:
- Breathing becomes shallow and irregular
- Weird muscle twitches
- Dog’s eyes moving
Typically, a dog’s first dream will occur after about 20 minutes of sleep, so next time you’re lounging on the couch in the evening and your dog dozes off you can witness the sleepy time phenomenon yourself.
Snoring: We all do it sometimes. Dogs experience REM sleep just as we do. It is recommended that you refrain from waking your dog when he or she is in the middle of a dream.
Just like us, it’s important that dogs get a proper amount of sleep every night. The Daily Puppy says that on average, most dogs get 14 hours of sleep on a daily basis, while many large catch their shuteye for up to 18 hours a day.
All that beauty sleep must be the scientific reason behind their inimitable cuteness…right?
Dogs sleep a lot more than humans. Ever come home to a warm couch after a long day out? Your dog has likely been napping the afternoon away in that very spot while you’ve been out running errands.
Though dogs sleep more, they also tend to wake up more while sleeping, which explains your dog’s habit of waking you in the middle of the night with his loud water lapping or food nibbling.
What Dreams Are Made Of
Dogs reach REM several times during a full night of rest, though it would appear that puppies and small dogs tend to dream more than big dogs.
On the puppy front, this may be because they are “processing huge quantities of newly acquired experiences” like learning the difference between right and wrong and the sheer joy of companionship and a warm afternoon in the yard, according to Pedigree. Squeeee!
So they’re dreaming about the dog park?
Pedigree tells us that “It’s likely that dogs dream in a similar fashion to humans, replaying the everyday activities that make up their existence, like chasing, playing, and eating.”
Could anything possibly be cuter? If you’ve ever caught Fido wagging his tail in his sleep, then you know he’s having a good time over in doggy dream land.
If only dogs could talk, eh?