Do Dogs Dream?

Dogs are naturally curious animals. Many dog breeds, including the spaniels, poodles and labradors, have been bred over thousands of years to be exceptionally alert and eager for mental stimulation. Dogs have been trained from a young age to be proficient at tricks such as sit-stays, heel walks and recall. They’re also natural problem solvers; even very young puppies will spend hours trying to figure out how to access their food or water bowl. Dogs don’t just dream about food and other important things like us humans do – they have very specific recurring dreams that reflect their internal state of well-being. These dreams can occur during REM sleep, when most people experience them as well. Rather than being frightening or troublesome, these dreams are an indicator that your dog is happy and relaxed in their current environment.

What are dogs’ dreams?

Dog dreams occur when a dog is in REM sleep. Normally, your brain enters this state of sleep shortly after the eyes close and you enter into a period of dreaming. Dogs have very specific dreams – these are the canine equivalent to human nightmares. These dreams can include anything from predatory animals chasing your dog, to being chased by a pack of wolves and being devoured. Dreams like these indicate that your dog is happy with their current environment and content with life. A recent study conducted by the University of Stuttgart revealed that dogs dream about 90 percent of their sleeping time – which means they experience more REM sleep than humans do! It’s important to keep an eye on your pet during their REM sleep because they tend to engage in behaviors they wouldn’t during ordinary sleep cycles. For example, dogs may start barking or growling while dreaming, or they might snap at people who come into contact with them while they’re asleep.

Can Dogs Have Dreams?

No, dogs can’t have dreams on their own; they only dream when they’re asleep and dreaming. There’s no evidence that dogs can even dream at all. Dogs might experience a sensation of falling or flying during sleep, but there are no memories associated with the experience – it's just a sensation. Dogs don’t dream like we do; their REM sleep is light and without vividness which means you can't remember them when you wake up. They might be able to smell things in their dreams, however these are just dreams about smells without memory-like associations attached to them. If a dog is awake and aroused during REM sleep, they may act out behaviors from their dreams but usually not remember them later. Still wondering if your dog has any thoughts while they're sleeping? It turns out that dogs have a very unique way of thinking while they're asleep. Because their brains aren't engaged with the outside world in the same way as ours, they don't have anything to think about…which is why they fall into deep sleep!

Types of Dreams that Dogs Have

Dogs experience a wide variety of dreams that can even include nightmares. These dreams can be caused by things such as unsanitary living conditions, fear, stress or pain. Some animals, including humans and dolphins, are known to engage in what’s called REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), which is defined as very vivid and realistic dreaming while the animal is in REM sleep. Those with RBD often dream about an event that they experienced during their waking hours. For example, if you were to give your dog a treat when they wake up in the morning and then leave the room for a short period of time, your dog may dream about the treat waiting for them when you return. If you’re worried that your dog might have RBD, it would be best to consult with a professional like an animal behaviorist or vet to help you determine what kind of solution is best for your pet.

Why do Dogs Dream?

As a dog’s body is made up of 70 percent water and they are an obligate carnivore, they can experience dehydration if they don't drink frequently enough. Their dreams are often triggered by the feeling of thirst, which provides them with a pleasant and comforting relief. They also dream about food when their stomachs growl during the night in conjunction with a drop in body temperature, indicating that they are hungry. The frequency of certain types of dreams varies depending on your dog's personality type. For some dogs, like golden retriever retrievers, it's more common to have night terrors while others might tend to dream more at day-time hours and experience their nightmares at night. Dogs also experience REM sleep paralysis – a period in which the dog can't move or speak as though they're having an out-of-body experience – from time to time. This has been studied as far back as 1884 when it was discovered that dogs were apparently experiencing hallucinations and other bizarre behaviors during these periods.

What does a dog dream about?

Dogs often dream about their favorite people and places. They’ll also dream about finding things they aren’t able to find during the day, chasing things in particular and playing with other dogs. Dogs might also have dreams where they are running or fighting with other animals. Many dogs will dream of being on a farm or wandering around a familiar forest, while others might dream of being chased by something scary like a bear or wolf. Dogs often have one main recurring dream that reflects their mental state, but that doesn’t mean they don’t dream about anything else! Some dogs will spend their whole sleep time dreaming about eating food or chasing squirrels and even other dogs, but just because these are the dreams that your dog has doesn’t mean it is common for them to share these dreams with other dogs! So if you're wondering what your dog dreams about, you probably won't ever know unless you try asking them!


Dogs have a complex brain and, like humans, they dream. Even though a dog’s brain is more complex than a human’s, they also share some of the same thoughts as humans during sleep. Dogs may dream about hunting, running, chasing, playing and even about humans. While these dreams can be interpreted as the dog’s thoughts, it’s not always the case.

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