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Dog Dreams

Dear Triple D, yes, dogs certainly do dream. And before I go on to elaborate on this I would like to point out that we day dream as well. In fact I have been sitting here at Second Chance just dreaming about my new home for the Holidays. We will get back to that and touch upon the content of our dreams shortly…

Dear Pet Column,

My dog appears to dream when he sleeps, moving his legs and body, whining, growling, while appearing to be in a deep sleep. Do dogs dream and what do they dream of? Should I wake him up when he is appearing to have a bad dream?

Sincerely, Dreaming Dog Dad

Dear Triple D, yes, dogs certainly do dream. And before I go on to elaborate on this I would like to point out that we day dream as well. In fact I have been sitting here at Second Chance just dreaming about my new home for the Holidays. We will get back to that and touch upon the content of our dreams shortly…

My scientific research uncovered that dogs actually have very similar sleep patterns and brain activity as humans. We also go through the similar patterns of light to deep sleep modes of increasing brain activity and cycle through these stages several times throughout a night.

And like our human counterparts, once entering the deeper sleep phase you will notice our breathing becoming more irregular, coupled with the occurrence of rapid eye movement (known as REM – when our eyes are actually watching images within our dreams). It is during REM sleep that actual dreaming takes and place involuntary vocalizations and body movements happen.

As to whether you should wake up a dog that appears to be under distress or having a nightmare – it is not recommended. Like humans, we need uninterrupted sleep for healthy mental activity during our waking hours and we can become very startled if awoken during this dream state. If your pet appears distressed by its dreams it is better to make a soft noise that alters the pattern of your pet’s sleep without actually waking him.

My research into dreaming has also uncovered interesting mysteries that show that younger dogs and smaller dogs dream more often than older and larger ones. But the biggest mystery is what do dogs dream of? This has been postulated by many and solved by none. There are logical guesses to the fabric of our dreams, involving our everyday existence such as chasing rabbits, being chased by big dogs, swimming, eating bones and the like. But those explanations are boring and limiting – as though we lack imagination, creativity, or spirit.

Are your dreams restricted to that of eating, working, and playing? You may want to consider that dogs dream of a greater breadth of material – perhaps of turning into a cat and being chased by a large bird, or of tying our human up outside of a restaurant, in the rain, while he watches us eat bowls of ice cream, or flying or traveling to places with rainbow stars and having conversations with enlightened alien creatures.

Basically, I don’t think it is as important that you understand the subject matter of our dreams as much as that you help make them come true – which means a loving home for me and all my friends here at Second Chance.

My name is Ruby and I am a 5 year young lovely Border collie/Shepherd mix with very big dreams. I am a sweet and loving girl with a passion for Frisbees and fetching. I enjoy the company of other dogs and dream of one day completing my teleportation device I am devising while I sleep...

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at adoptmountainpets.org.

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