“This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.”
Do you ever hear your dog whining or barking while he’s fast asleep? Are those cute vocal sounds ever accompanied by paw twitching and tail flicking, too? Indeed, it can be amusing to watch our furry four-legged friend display these subconscious movements, and most of us are convinced that our pooch is in fact dreaming.
So, do dogs dream? Well, there’s no way for us to be absolutely sure what exactly is going inside our dog’s mind. However, it certainly appears as though they are!
Understanding the Basics
· The brain. The genetics shared between canines and human beings is as high as 95%. Yes, our fundamental makeup is not really all that very different from our doggie friends. Consequently, it is logical to believe that we are more alike than we realize both in terms of our brain makeup and functions. If you examine the structure, dogs’ brains are very similar to those of human beings. The human brain and that of our dogs is remarkably comparable not only at the structural level but in basic neurochemistry as well. The brain wave patterns of dogs during sleep is also the same with people; going through the same electrical activity stages that are seen in humans. The consistency of the findings suggests that like us, dogs also dream.
· The research. A dog’s capacity to dream is so obvious that it would be more surprising if they didn’t dream. Recent evidences suggest that even animals that have simpler brain structures and are less intelligent than dogs also appear to dream. To support this, a study conducted by M. Wilson and K. Louie of MIT discovered that the brains of sleeping rats also function in a way that strongly suggests dreaming. The results were carefully described by Wilson, saying that “The animal is certainly recalling memories of those events as they occurred during the awake state, and it is doing so during dream sleep and that’s just what people do when they dream.”
· The REM sleep. It is quite easy to recognize when your dog is dreaming without having to use electrical recordings. All you need to do is watch your pooch from the moment he begins to doze off. As his sleep deepens, his breathing pattern will become more regular. After about 20 minutes, an average-sized dog should start dreaming. You will spot the change since his breathing pattern will become shallow and rather irregular. You may see odd twitching of his muscles, and his eyes may even move behind the closed lids if you look very closely. The eyes move because your dog is in fact looking at his dream images as if they were actual images of the world. These REM or rapid eye movements are a major characteristic of dreaming.
Now, if only we knew WHAT they were dreaming about!