Just like humans, most dogs will dream while they sleep. This is a perfectly natural experience that can be seen in dogs of all ages, from puppies to seniors. Some dogs will twitch or wiggle their legs and tail, while others will bark, whimper, or growl.
You may wonder what your dog dreams about. It could be the last time you played with a ball, or played tug of war with their favorite toy. Or maybe it was the time you jogged through the field while your dog ran circles around you in excitement.
Whatever the reason, dreaming is a very natural and extremely common thing to notice in dogs. In fact, studies have been done to see that the brain waves exhibited by sleeping dogs are very similar to those shown in sleeping humans which tells us that dogs can potentially have vivid dreams about running and playing.
While there is no proven way to encourage a dog to have dreams, you can help them get a good night’s sleep by providing a safe and secure place for them to sleep. Many dogs love having their own personal space, which is why kennel training is a great choice for many dogs.
A kennel with a bed and some favorite toys inside can be your dog’s very own personal den. This gives them a place to snuggle down for a nap, or a place to retreat to when they are feeling insecure. If your dog has a place to sleep where they feel comfortable, dreams will come naturally.
In most mammals, as the body and brain fall into the deep sleep known as the REM state, muscles will naturally twitch. In sleeping dogs, this can be a quick and sudden jerk of the foot or ears, a single wag of the tail, or a quick snap of the jaws.
In puppies, muscle twitches may be very aggressive and could give you a scare. However, some studies have determined that muscle twitching in puppies helps strengthen and tone their muscles as they grow, as well as improve overall circulation.
Having a Seizure
In addition to dreaming and muscle twitching, dogs may show similar movements when they are having a seizure. Seizures are not common in most dogs, but can be seen often in certain breeds. If your dog is prone to seizures, you may notice dream-like movements which are slightly more rigid and less fluid.
If you think your dog may be having a seizure, ensure they are in a safe space away from potentially breakable items the seizing dog can bump into and damage. Avoid touching the dog, especially around the face and mouth as they can unintentionally bite you.
As a dog starts to come out of their seizure, they may be disoriented and scared. Talk calmly to them and use their name or other words they understand in order to help “ground” them and bring them back to consciousness.