According to the confirmation of a study by an American university, it was shown that dogs dream as we humans do, remembering things they do in their day to day life, such as their relationship with their owners, food or walks.
Deep phase of a dog’s sleep
During the deepest phase of sleep, dogs’ eyes move quickly under their eyelids just as we do, and during this period, our pets may also show other physical activities, such as grunting, whining or movements of the paws or tail that mimic those they carry out when they play or run. Thus, it is concluded that it is at these times that the dog dreams, and in all likelihood, dreams of things related to their daily life, such as playing, running, eating or being with their owners.
Similarities and differences between dog sleep and human sleep
Brain activity tests have been performed with brainwave receptors on dogs while they sleep (completely painless patches) and it has been observed that the sleep patterns are very similar to those of humans, since the graphs obtained are almost identical.
It has also been discovered that, as in humans, they can either dream things they like or have nightmares, although it is important to keep in mind that the latter will be especially difficult to deal with in the case of adopted dogs whose previous history we do not know, since they will have phobias or fears that we do not know about.
Even so, there are traits, of course, that vary between humans and dogs with respect to sleep-wake cycles: dogs wake up continuously during rest (they sleep 5 to 20 minutes and stay awake another five minutes) due to the habit inherited from their ancestor, the wolf, that is, they alternate sleep and wakefulness; it is a behavior adapted to the need to hunt in nature, as is the acute sense of hearing and the constant level of alertness.
The age and breed of the dog influences sleep
According to this study, dogs dream more when they are puppies, although their dreams are of shorter duration because at this stage of their life they are capturing a large amount of new stimuli, while adult dogs have longer dreams but with a more superficial sleep. This is why it is important not to wake puppies when they are sound asleep, as they could become very frightened. In fact, what they learn on a daily basis is consolidated during the hours they sleep.
It is also known that the size of the breed influences the frequency with which dogs dream. Thus, toy-type dogs can dream several times in an hour, while medium or large dogs only dream once every two hours or so.
How to promote proper rest for your dog
In order to improve our dog’s rest and ensure that his activity, both physical and mental, is optimal, it is important to provide him with a suitable place to sleep and, above all, let him regulate the time and duration of sleep, without waking him up. And in case he suffers from insomnia, we should find out if there is any physical problem or cause of stress that prevents him from resting properly. It is important to avoid sources of anxiety, illness or an unsuitable environment, such as excessive heat or cold, drafts, etc. If all this is guaranteed and our pet is still unable to sleep, it is essential to take him to the veterinarian and ask for advice.