I Wish I Had Known…What Are Our Furry Friends Dreaming About?

11 May 2024

If you’ve ever watched your dog sleep, you’ve probably noticed the occasional twitching of their paws, slight movements of their lips, or even soft whimpers. These curious behaviours have long made dog lovers wonder: do dogs dream, and if so, what are they dreaming about? Let’s explore the science behind dog dreams and uncover what might be going on in our furry friends’ slumbering minds.


Do Dogs Dream Like Humans?

Research suggests that dogs, like humans, experience various stages of sleep, including the rapid eye movement (REM) stage, which is closely associated with dreaming. A study conducted by neuroscientist Dr. Matthew Wilson at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that the brain activity of dogs during REM sleep bears a resemblance to the brain activity seen in dreaming humans. This suggests that dogs likely experience dreams.


What Do Dogs Dream About?

Although it’s challenging to pinpoint exactly what dogs dream about, many experts believe that their dreams are a reflection of their daily experiences, similar to human dreams. Dogs might be processing events from their waking hours, such as playing fetch, interacting with other dogs, or spending time with their human family. The following are some common interpretations of dog dreams:

  • Reliving Daily Activities: It’s likely that dogs dream about activities they enjoy, such as running, playing, or chasing things. Those twitching paws could indicate they’re reliving their daily adventures.
  • Reinforcing Training and Learning: Some experts suggest that dreams play a role in memory consolidation and learning. If you’ve been training your dog, their dreams might involve practicing commands or refining new skills.
  • Emotional Processing: Dogs experience emotions like joy, fear, and excitement. Their dreams might reflect these emotions, allowing them to process various feelings they encounter during the day.

Signs Your Dog Is Dreaming

While dogs can’t tell us when they’re dreaming, there are a few signs that indicate a dog is in the midst of a dream:

  • Twitching and Paddling: Movements of the paws, legs, or ears often occur during REM sleep, suggesting a dream state.
  • Vocalizations: Whimpering, barking, or growling during sleep can indicate a dream. These sounds might reflect the dream’s context, whether playful or intense.
  • Rapid Eye Movement: If you observe your dog’s eyes moving quickly beneath their closed eyelids, they’re likely in the REM stage, where dreaming occurs.


If your dog is dreaming, resist the urge to wake them abruptly. Just like in humans, waking suddenly during REM sleep can cause disorientation and confusion.

While much about dog dreams remains a mystery, current research indicates that our dogs, like us, experience a world of dreams while they sleep. Whether they’re chasing their favourite ball, playing with their best friend, or dreaming of a relaxing day at home, there’s a certain joy in knowing that our companions are just as imaginative as we are. So, the next time your dog is twitching in their sleep, remember: they might be dreaming of you.

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