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Dog dreams while he sleeps beside a curtain

Learn About Dog Dream: Unraveling The Mystery Of Your Sleepy Pet

You’ve probably experienced this yourself: you’re sitting on a couch with your furry pal and enjoying quality time with them when, out of nowhere, they suddenly start twitching and making strange noises in their sleep. That’s a dog dream, and we’re here to help you understand this wonderful phenomenon.

The process itself has intrigued many dog owners and scientists alike for generations. The truth, though, is that many researchers remain unsure as to what exactly is going on inside a sleeping pup's mind.

In spite of these limitations, we’ll still readily discuss some of the more well-known theories behind this phenomenon. In this way, we can make sense of those surprising twitches and barks that they sometimes do.

Additionally, we’ll also explore different ways to help our best friends achieve a good night’s rest. Let’s both get into unraveling the mystery of our cute sleepy pets!

What Is Dog Dreaming?

If you’re here and reading this, then you’re probably one of the many people who wondered whether or not your dog can dream. The short answer to this is yes, they can dream.

However, the pet dream is just as mysterious as ours, speaking scientifically at least. Many researchers in the area are still unaware of what causes these to happen. Even the topic of the dreams for our furry darlings remains heavily debated in academic communities.

What we do know, however, is that dreaming would look different for our dogs than it does for us humans. Scientists have deduced this information by studying activity in the brain.

For example, canine brains show more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep than we do. REM sleep is usually acquainted as the phase in which most dreams occur. From this, we can conclude that dogs do far more dreaming than most humans.

Another striking difference is in the content of the dream itself. Humans will often have complex, narrative-like dreams as they sleep. For dogs, dreams are simpler and less mentally demanding, with a decreased amount of cognitive processing.

One of the most common theories suggests that our pups dream about their daily experiences and activities. These include mundane activities such as chasing after squirrels or asking for our cuddles.

That said, if your pup has been especially active lately, chances are that he’s probably reliving those moments in his sleep.

While our dogs don’t have the ability to communicate to us exactly what their dreams are like, we have our own cognitive faculties, which help us make sense of this activity by looking at their twitches and hearing the noises in their sleep.

Signs Your Dog Is Dreaming

Dog sleeping on a bed while dreaming

Are you feeling curious about what your pup is dreaming about? Wary not, for it’s quite easy to tell! There are a few cues that you can look for to figure out whether your dog is off in dreamland or not.

One of the first clues to this activity is snoozing. A snoozing pup is likely to be dreaming about something. Other common signs include twitching, light movement in paws and legs, as well as some small whimpers or barks.

These movements are probably imitations of their dreams, which is why they tend to move at times.

Dogs go to REM sleep for about half of their sleepy time, which means that dreaming happens quite often for these creatures. If you notice any of the signs above during nap time, there’s a high chance that they’re dreaming about chasing after the neighborhood cat or playing with their favorite toy.

How To Tell What Your Dog Is Dreaming About?

Perhaps the next question in your mind might be, “How can I tell what my dog is dreaming about?” Don’t be worried, because luckily, there are quite a few ways to do this.

First of all, is the fact that each pup reacts differently when they’re dreaming. They’re no different from us humans in this regard.

Before, we’ve mentioned that some common signs include their legs twitching or their eyes moving rapidly under their lids. There’s a reason why they’re doing this, and it’s more probably tied to the content of their dreams.

The twitch in their limbs is a hint that they are probably dreaming about running. This is probably the reason why they are moving a lot because their physical selves are also lost in their imagination.

Other behaviors can portend other kinds of dreams. For example, if your pup is growling or barking, then that probably means that they are having a nightmare of chasing after something in their dream.

On the other hand, if they make some happy yelping noises, they are probably dreaming of positive things. These include playing around with other dogs or people.

If you’re really curious about the inner workings of your pup’s dream, you can consider recording them while they are sleeping. Having their audio record is especially helpful, as you might be able to decode from these noises exactly the kind of dream your furry pal is having.

The Role Of Genetics In Dreaming

Sleepy dog lying by the door

You are probably very astonished to learn that genetics has a large hand in determining the kind of dreams your pooch has. Surprisingly enough, even the particular breed of your dog can determine what kind of dream they’re going to experience.

For example, larger breeds of dogs such as the Doberman Pinscher or the Bernese Mountain Dog will typically have more intense dreams. While they infrequently dream, when they do, it is often with a longer duration.

The opposite has been observed among smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas or Boston Terriers. While these tiny pooches experience dreaming far more than their larger counterparts, they are generally less intense and shorter.

The kind of breed you have may also dictate the type of activity that they’d be dreaming about. For instance, herding dogs may dream about pursuing objects or guarding a lot.

On the other hand, hunting dogs will dream according to their occupation. This means simulating activities for them such as stalking after prey or going over obstacles.

From this information, it can be theorized that dreams manifest more out of instinctive behaviors rather than something that is learned through your pup’s lifetime.

Regardless of what kind of dog you have, it’s very fascinating to think about how their dreams can be connected to some innate characteristic of theirs, something which even their owners might be unaware of.

It really is a great testament to the diversity and complexity of our dear dogs!

Ways To Help Your Dog Sleep Better

The similarities between our dogs to ourselves cannot be overstated, and the same can be said for our sleep hygiene. Just like us, dogs also need to have a better quality of sleep in order to replenish their energy properly and have more vivid dreams.

There are plenty of things you can do to aid your dog in his sleep, and it should always be remembered as these are necessary to his health. Here are a few tips to help you get started:


The amount of physical activity we do influences the quality of sleep we get, and it is also the same for dogs. Get at least a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise each day, whether it be a regular run or playing fetch in the park with your pup.

Regular exercise can help tire out your dog so that when it’s time for them to sleep, they’ll be all the more willing for it. It can also help manage the boisterous energy these fluffy darlings have and overall make life better for both of you.


Having their own space is necessary for all beings. Dedicating an area in your house for your dog’s personal relaxation is a great way to promote better sleep quality.

Try not to cheap out on their things either, and give them a comfortable bed or blanket to flop on. Your dog will dearly appreciate the gesture and be inspired to go visit snooze land in no time.


Routine is very important for dogs, considering that they are creatures of habit. Just like how you can train them to sit, you can also train your pup to keep up with good sleeping habits.

Having a consistent bedtime creates an expectation for your pet throughout the day, which lets them prepare their body for rest. Insisting on this kind of predictability is necessary to achieve better rest and dream quality for your furry darlings.


Black French bulldog sleeping on a table

Dogs do dream. Our wonderful canine companions are no strangers to this pleasure of sleeping, although many aspects of this phenomenon shall remain a mystery to us.

Still, it is important to know about these things, as understanding our pets help us connect with them even more. It is also a way to appreciate their complexity as living beings.

This article has covered some basic tell to figure out whether your pup is dreaming or not, from yelping to twitching to paw movements.

The next time you see your dog in the midst of these clues, be sure to give him some extra loving when he wakes. He was probably dreaming about you as well!

If you love dogs, check out some of our amazing dog lover shirts. We ensure that a fourth of the proceeds are donated to no-kill animal shelters.


Are dogs capable of dreaming?

Yes, this article has covered in detail the process of dreaming for our pups.

What do dogs dream about when they twitch?

It is impossible to know for sure, but they most probably are dreaming about some normal day-to-day experiences.

What do dreams for dogs look like?

It is also impossible to know whether pets dream in the same sense that humans can. As such, it is difficult to presume what dog dreams will look like, although it is highly likely that they vary far from human dreams.

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