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What do dogs dream about?

Last Updated on June 3, 2023

dog sleeping and dreaming
Dog dreaming

Have you ever watched your dog sleeping and wondered, “What do dogs dream about?” As dog owners, we love watching our furry friends sleep peacefully, but have you ever wondered what’s going on in their minds when they’re dreaming? Do they dream about chasing their favorite toy or snuggling up with their human family? Or do they have nightmares as we do?

In this post, we’ll explore the fascinating world of dog dreams and try to uncover what’s going on in their minds during sleep. We’ll delve into the science behind dog sleep, including the different stages of sleep and what happens in their brains during these stages. We’ll also look at some fun facts about dog dreams, including whether they dream about other animals they’ve met or have memories of experiences from their waking lives.

So, if you’re curious about your dog’s dreams or want to learn more about our furry companions, keep reading! By the end of this post, you’ll better understand what’s going on in your dog’s mind while they sleep, and you may even be able to interpret some of their dream behaviors.

Listen to this article below. 

Understanding Dog Sleep

Like humans, dogs have different stages of sleep. The two main stages are non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. NREM sleep is divided into four stages, where dogs are in a deep sleep. During this stage, their brain wave pattern slows, their heart rate decreases, and their breathing becomes regular.

On the other hand, REM sleep is when dogs are most likely to dream. During this stage, their brain activity increases, and their eyes race behind their eyelids, hence the name “rapid eye movement.” Their breathing may become irregular, and they may twitch or move their limbs. It’s worth noting that puppies and senior dogs spend more time in REM sleep than adult dogs.

Brain Activity During Dog Dreams

So, what happens in a dog’s brain when they dream? Research shows that dogs have similar brain wave patterns to humans during REM sleep, suggesting similar dreaming experiences. The American Veterinary Medical Association explains that during REM sleep, the brain processes information and consolidates memories.

Studies have also shown that the part of the brain responsible for processing smell, the olfactory bulb, is active during dog dreams. This suggests that dogs may dream about smells, such as the scent of their favorite treat or a familiar human.

What Do Dogs Dream About?

While we can’t know what dogs dream about, it’s safe to say that they dream about things they experience in their waking life. This could include playing with their favorite toy, walking, or spending time with their human family.

Some researchers believe that dogs may also have nightmares. In a study conducted by MIT, rats were trained to navigate a maze, and their brains were monitored during sleep. When the rats entered REM sleep, their brain activity was similar to when navigating the maze, suggesting that they were dreaming about it. However, when the researchers added an electric shock to the maze, the rats showed signs of fear during sleep, indicating that they were having a nightmare.

dog on bed


Similarly, if a dog experiences something scary or traumatic during their waking life, they may have nightmares about it during REM sleep. This could include being separated from their human family or experiencing loud noises or sudden movements. 

Fun Facts About Dog Dreams

  • The American Kennel Club explains that dogs may also dream about chasing and catching prey. This is because their ancestors, wolves, would hunt for food in the wild.
  • Some dogs may even dream about competing in dog shows or agility competitions. This is because they may have positive associations with these experiences, such as receiving praise from their human family or earning a treat.
  • Dogs may also dream about other dogs or animals they’ve met. They may dream about playing or socializing with them or about chasing them. 

dog playing with owner


In conclusion, dogs dream just like humans, and they likely dream about similar things, such as playing, running, and exploring. However, the exact content of their dreams is still a mystery, and we can only guess based on their behavior and brain activity during sleep.

We do know that dogs have complex brains, and they experience different stages of sleep, including the REM stage, where most of their dreaming occurs. During this stage, their brain wave pattern and rapid eye movements are similar to that of humans.

Overall, understanding our dogs’ dreams can help us better understand and connect with them more deeply. It can also help us recognize if our dogs are experiencing nightmares or if they’re just having a good dream. As dog owners, it’s essential to provide our furry friends with a safe and comfortable sleeping environment to ensure they get the restful sleep they need.

We hope this blog post has been informative and enjoyable and has shed some light on your question about ‘What do dogs dream about?‘. Remember to give your furry friend some extra cuddles next time you catch them dreaming, and who knows, maybe they’ll even share their dreams with you someday!

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