What Do Dogs Dream About Nightmares?

Did you ever look at your dog while they were sleeping on the ground and see them wave their tail or give a few yips? Do you have any idea what is going on? Is it possible they are dreaming? Is it possible they are even okay?

Dogs and other mammals do actually dream. They dream in the same way as humans. It is amazing to think that our brain neurons work in the same way as your pup’s.

Can Dogs Dream?

Spoiler: yes! In 2001, MIT researchers conducted studies on the brains of animals. They found that they have similar sleeping patterns to us. This was done by training rats, recording brain activity while they ran and then sleeping.

Researchers discovered that brain activity that was measured while they ran returned when the rats were asleep, allowing them to conclude that they were dreaming.

Because rat brains look so similar to dogs’ brains, it is likely that dogs have the ability to dream.

What do they dream about?

These dreams are mainly about the dog’s daily activities like running outside or barking at his mailman. Different breeds might have different dreams. You might see your shepherd chasing cats or your retriever retrieving things.

We can’t tell your dog what they are dreaming of, but they may be able to interpret the things they do during sleep.

Are Dogs attracted to their owners?

The good news is that dogs can dream about their owners. Dogs often have dreams about their past experiences with their owners, as well as future experiences with their doggo parents.

While no research has been conducted on this topic, it is believed that dogs dream about their owners as they are familiar with them. Dogs are social animals and it is natural that they dream about their closest friends.

Dogs can have nightmares too if they dream

Dogs can have nightmares, no matter how disturbing. Animal dreams are based on memories. If you adopt a shelter dog from a past that is not so pleasant, the dog might have nightmares about that trauma. It might be a question you are asking: What do dogs dream about when barking?

Chuckles, my BEAUTIFUL rescue was found in an abandoned home, where she was kept in horrible conditions with another dog. She barks at me sometimes when I bump her while she sleeps, but she soon calms down once she realizes who it is she is barking at.

How can I tell if my dog is having a nightmare?

Dogs can bark or growl. Or, they may begin to shake vigorously. Follow your instincts! If your dog is acting strangely, you can turn on the lights and check that nothing is wrong. When in doubt, let sleeping dogs lie.

You might be wondering what is normal and what isn’t. Let’s have a look:

  • Twitches and licking of paws are all normal.
  • Do not be alarmed if your dog seems to be sleeping a lot! Dogs typically sleep about 12-14 hours per day. They might stay awake a little longer if they have had an active day.
  • The act of circling before lying down, and then lying down is a common behavior for dogs. This shows they are marking their territory, and that they feel at home.
  • If they are very comfortable with their environment, they might sleep belly up. They are comfortable where they are and will happily do belly rubs.
  • Your dog sleeping in your bed doesn’t mean that it is comfortable. It means that your dog sees you as a member of the pack and feels strongly bonded to you. Your dog may take up all of your full-size bed, kick you, or lay between your legs while you sleep. But it is because they love you and consider you a part of their pack.

Normal sleeping patterns mimic human ones, so be on the lookout for:

  • Being awake at night and not sleeping are serious problems and cause for concern. It may seem annoying to hear your dog stomping around in the living room at 3:00 AM. However, it could be a sign that your dog is suffering from anxiety or pain.
  • A dog that sleeps too much could be at risk. While oversleeping is not a major problem, it can be a sign that your dog is having trouble sleeping. If this happens, it’s best to have them examined.
  • Dogs that are unable to breathe in their sleep should not be considered a problem. Smaller dogs tend to breathe faster than larger dogs and puppies can breathe more quickly than older dogs. If your dog has difficulty breathing, you should have it checked out.
  • Seizures can also occur in dogs while they are asleep. It may not be easy to determine if the dog is dreaming or having a seizure. You can get your dog to wake up if they are having an exciting dream. If the dog doesn’t seem to be able to come back from the violent state, it is likely that the seizure has occurred. The seizure will be accompanied by shaking and thrashing. These are not the same as simple twitching in sleep.


What are dogs afraid of?

Dogs can have nightmares about any situation that stresses or scares them. Some common triggers are loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, and being left alone.

Are my dog’s dreams real?

Your dog will experience muscle spasms and collapse if they are having a seizure. Dogs that are dreaming may make grunting sounds or move their legs in a dream-like manner.

Are my dog’s dreams real or a nightmare?

Although it’s impossible to tell for certain, whimpering and crying may indicate that your dog is having a nightmare. Dogs may also whimper or move in their sleep, which could indicate that they are dreaming.

Dogs may also make similar facial expressions as humans when they dream.

Do dogs have nightmares all the time?

Because dogs can experience nightmares for many reasons, there is no clear answer. A veterinarian is best if your dog appears particularly upset after a bad dream.