Beautiful dreams and nightmares There is a lot of solid evidence to suggest that dogs also dream
After a long day of living a dog’s life, the family pet stretched out on the carpet for a well-deserved nap, to start twitching, stretching and making muffled barking sounds during sleep. And most dog owners, after witnessing this unconscious activity, come to the logical conclusion that the dog is dreaming. It is a phenomenon that every dog owner thinks he knows well. Still, is there any truth in that and do dogs really dream?
The short answer is yes … probably. In the absence of a fairy-tale canine companion who would confirm that dogs dream, people can only assume that twitching and growling in the sleep of their four-legged family member indicates brain activity similar to the human concept of dreaming. Fortunately, curiosity about dreaming dogs has long been a topic of study, and this assumption is based on an extensive series of scientific studies. There is a lot of solid evidence to suggest that dogs are actually dreaming. For starters, a dog’s brain is structurally similar to a human’s. Scientists studied the brain waves activities of sleeping dogs to find that they experience the same phases of electrical activity as humans.
Researchers have confirmed that dreaming occurs in animals with a less complex neurological system, because studies in sleeping rats suggest that rodents also dream. Interestingly, however, the frequency varies, so small dogs dream more often than large dogs.
What do dogs dream about? So, what do people dream about? The most common belief is that animals dream about activities in which they participate in the waking state, just as a person’s daily activities determine later dreams. Science confirms this belief.
In research, identical brain activity was observed during sleep as was observed while rodents performed activities awake. It can be assumed that a dog that experiences terrible situations while awake, probably has nightmares.
Many pet owners wonder if they should intervene while their sniffer dog is asleep when kicking, barking, or otherwise experiencing brain activity during sleep. Sometimes this is based on caring for a dog, and sometimes it is for purely selfish reasons – a person’s desire for undisturbed sleep.
The old adage, though, is the best advice: let the dog sleep. Interruption of the REM phase can confuse the animal and jeopardize the much-needed sleep cycle of your faithful friend.