Do Dogs Have Nightmares

Do Dogs Have Nightmares?- Comforting Your Dog During Nightmares

Do Dogs Dream of Frightening Nightmares? Unraveling the Mystery of Canine Sleep!

This article explores the science behind canine sleep cycles and dreams, as well as what to look out for if you think your pup might be having nightmares. It is impossible to know exactly what dogs dream about, but research suggests that people and dogs share similar dream experiences. Signs of nightmares include agitated behavior, vocalizations, and rapid eye movement (REM). There are several things pet owners can do to help their dog through nightmares such as playing soft music, letting them work through it on their own, or gently stroking their head or body.

Do Dogs Have Nightmares? Exploring the Science Behind Doggy Dreams

Do dogs have nightmares? It's a question that has been asked by pet owners for many years. While the answer is not definitive, there are some signs to look for that may indicate whether or not your dog is having bad dreams. In this article, we'll explore the science behind doggy sleep cycles and dreams, as well as what to look out for if you think your pup might be having nightmares.

Dog Sleep Cycles

Dogs spend about half of their lives sleeping, but their sleep cycles are different from those of humans. Dogs enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep much more quickly than people do, and they stay in it much longer – up to 75% of the time they're asleep! During REM sleep, dogs can show signs of dreaming, just like people do.

Do Dogs Have Nightmares

Do Dogs Dream?

It's impossible to know exactly what dogs dream about since they can't tell us. However, research conducted by Stanley Coren suggests that people and dogs share similar dream experiences. Coren found that when dogs were woken up during REM sleep they often showed signs of distress or agitation – just like humans do when they're woken up in the middle of a nightmare!

Signs Your Dog Might Be Having Bad Dreams

If you think your pup might be having nightmares, there are several signs you can look out for:

  • Agitated behavior: If your dog seems agitated or restless while sleeping then it could be a sign that he's having a bad dream.
  • Vocalizations: If your dog is making noises like whimpering or barking while asleep then it could be an indication that he's experiencing an unpleasant dream.
  • Rapid Eye Movement (REM): If you notice your dog's eyes rapidly moving beneath his eyelids then it could be a sign he's in REM sleep and dreaming.

Helping Your Dog Through Nightmares

If you think your pup is having nightmares there are several things you can do to help him through them:

  • Playing soft music: Playing calm music in the background can help soothe him and make him feel more secure.
  • Sleeping Dogs Lie: Don't try to wake him up if he seems distressed – let him work through his nightmare on his own.
  • Rapid Eye Movement (REM): Try gently stroking his head or body to help him get out of REM sleep.

Related Article: Do Dogs Get Headaches?


While we may never know exactly what our pups are dreaming about, understanding the science behind canine dreams can help us better understand our furry friends. Knowing how to recognize the signs of nightmares and how to help them through them can go a long way towards helping our pups get some restful sleep!"

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it bad to wake up a dog having a nightmare?

It's tempting to wake up a pet that shows signs of distress such as thumping or trembling during sleep. According to the American Kennel Club owners should allow sleeping dogs to lie down. The AKC says that disrupting REM sleep in dogs can have serious consequences.

What do dogs usually have nightmares about?

A dog having a nightmare may be dreaming about something they don't like or even something that gives them anxiety. This can vary depending on the dog, but any situation that causes stress or anxiety for the dog could lead to nightmares, such as nail trims, grooming, stress at vet and more. Jul 6, 2022

What do dogs dream about when they cry?

What do dogs dream about when they cry? If your dog cries or whimpers in their sleep, it might mean they're dreaming about something that's causing them fear or distress. If your dog has had a recent traumatic, painful, or scary experience, it could be that they're dreaming about that. Dec 14, 2022

Do dogs like to be hugged?

Experts in dog behavior believe that, in general, dogs do not like being embraced. However, every dog has a unique personality. Some may dislike hugs more strongly than others, and some may actually adore them. The closest thing our furry family members do to a hug is something referred to as 'standing over'.

Does my dog know I love him?

Yes, your dog knows how much you love him! Dogs and humans have a very special relationship, where dogs have hijacked the human oxytocin bonding pathway normally reserved for our babies. When you stare at your dog, both your oxytocin levels go up, the same as when you pet them and play with them. Jun 26, 2022

Why shouldn't your dog sleep with you?

Point: Dogs carry certain intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks that cause human illnesses. Sleeping with a dog increases human exposure to these parasites and vector-borne diseases. Very young, very old, and immune compromised people are particularly at risk of infection.

Back to blog