Many pet owners have experienced the same scene, your furry friend is resting peacefully when suddenly their legs start twitching and you hear a muffled bark or yip. It would seem that your dog is having a dream. But do dogs dream? According to experts, the simple answer is—Yes.
Without the ability of your canine friend corroborating or denying the prospect that they do in fact dream, then we have to go by scientific proof that they do. The twitching and growling during sleep is actually an indication of the same brain activity that humans experience when they are sleeping and dreaming.
There is significant evidence that dogs do in fact dream, starting with the fact that their brains are structurally similar to our human brains.
Scientists at MIT studied the brain wave activities of various dogs while sleeping and in doing so discovered that dogs do in fact experience the same stages of brain activity while sleeping that a human does. However, the frequency of dreams varies, with more frequent dreams occurring in smaller dogs, than in larger dogs.
So, the question now is—what do dogs dream about? Well, let’s answer that question with a question—what do YOU dream about? The dreams of our furry friends are based on their waking activities and moments, just like ours are. And, believe it or not, science has confirmed this to be true.
Studies from MIT show identical brain activity during sleep as those seen in humans. It also may be suggested that if a dog has experienced fearful events while awake, they will, just like humans, experience nightmares when sleeping.
Many dog owners, when viewing their furry friend twitching and growling in their sleep, feel a need to wake the dog up, assuming all dreams they have are bad and scary. In this case, it is better to heed to the old saying: let sleeping dogs lie. If you wake a sleeping dog, you are interrupting their REM sleep, which very much like in humans can cause confusion and compromise their sleep cycle.