If you’re a dog parent, you have probably watched your pet sleep on several occasions and noticed interesting movements, such as your dog moving its paws, blinking its eyes, and moving its paws. You might have also heard your dog while when sleeping or rolling over in a restless fit.

The reason behind this movement has been found out; your dog is dreaming. Yes! Dogs also have dreams, and research shows that these dreams, their phases, and their patterns are quite similar to that of humans.

What Do Dogs Dream About?

There’s a lot to know about your dog and its dreams. We have it all covered, so sit back and discover amazing things about your dog in animal dreamland.

What sleep phases does your dog go through? 

Scientists have discovered that your dog goes through the same sleep phases and cycles as you do, making them more similar to you than ever. However, while humans go through five sleep cycles or so, your dog goes through 20 cycles because the sleep phases are repeated again and again.

Here are the phases your dog goes through in sleep:

  • Non-REM 1: This is the dreaming phase where your dog has its eyes closed and begins to fall asleep slowly. At this phase, your pet’s muscles relax and even begin to twitch sometimes.
  • Non-REM 2: At this point, your pet is in light sleep. This is the phase your dog spends 50% of its sleep cycle on. Your dog is completely relaxed and its body becomes calm.
  • Non-REM 3: This is the deep sleep phase where your dog is fully immersed in sleep, breathing deeply and calmly, and has a slow and steady heartbeat.  
  • REM phase: It takes about 20 minutes for your pet to reach the REM phase once he is asleep. The REM phase is where most dreams happen. During the REM phase, your pet moves its eye back and forth quickly, which is the same thing humans do.

 During the REM phase, which is often shorter for dogs compared to humans, the dog also moves other body parts like the mouth, legs, and eyelids. Some dogs will even wag their tails, whine, or bark, which is a sign that your pet is having a dream.

  • Short waking phase: This phase happens after every REM phase, and this is where your pet opens his eyes for a few moments to see if he is safe, where he is sleeping, and the like. Following this phase, your dog will begin the cycle again from non-REM 1.

How do Dogs dream?

Now that we have better understood the REM and Non-REM phases, let’s try to uncover how your pet dreams, shall we?

According to studies, your dog can reproduce the events that took place throughout the day when they are sleeping. They can even go a step further to generate or create new events just like humans. Isn’t that really cool?

Immediately your pet moves into a deep sleep, it begins to have dreams play out. Interestingly, the duration of these dreams can be dependent on the nature of your dog.

For instance, scientists say smaller dogs seem to have shorter dreams than larger dogs. However, its short dreams are more frequent, while the larger dogs have longer dreams that are not as frequent. As for puppies, they tend to dream a lot as they go through their development phase.

Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, they need to sleep soundly, have dreams, and experience all that happens in dreamland.

Talking about dreamland, let’s now find out what your pet does in Animal Dreamland.

What Do Dogs actually Dream About When Sleeping?

Can you guess what your dog dreams about when it enters Animal Dreamland? Did your guesses include you? If they did, then, you’re right.

Although it cannot be said with 100% certainty what your dog dreams of, research by experts deduces that dogs spent the most time dreaming of their owner or parent, A.K.A you. It is no surprise that this is the case because your pet spends most of its time with you.

Apart from you, your dog also dreams about events that happen in the course of its day, whether it is the meals they eat, the places they go, the fun activities they engage in, and even memories and experiences of the past days. They often process these experiences and memories as they dream.

One thing research has also shown is that what your dog dreams about can also be dependent on its breed. For instance, a Doberman might often dream about chasing away intruders while a beagle might dream of play and food.

One thing that remains unclear is whether or not your pet will remember those dreams when it wakes up. And if it does, are dogs able to differentiate between dreams and reality? We are still not sure.

However, what we’re sure of is that while your dog is dreaming, it can process all its experiences and the things it has learned, and even get them ingrained more firmly in its mind. That’s why dreaming is considered a learning process for puppies that help them mature and learn better while being a process of recreating and experiencing memories for older dogs.

At this point, it probably goes without saying that your dog needs to have a good day with positive experiences to have good dreams when they sleep.

Dreaming Puppy

Can dogs have bad dreams?

Yes. Dogs can have bad dreams too, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want your beloved pet to have terrible dreams when they sleep, especially when we’re not sure whether they will remember these dreams as a part of reality, or whether they will forget it shortly after they wake up.

How do you know your pet is having a nightmare? Restlessness, whimpering, barking, and kicking are often signs of bad dreams. However, experts advise that you don’t wake up your dog even if you think they’re having a nightmare. This is because waking them up could lead to confusion and fright. However, you can calm your dog down by placing your hand on its stomach and talking calmly to them. This is likely to calm your pet without waking him up.


An animal dreamland is surely an interesting place for your dog. Your pet dreams about you, its day, friends, meals, and even things we are yet to discover. We sure hope that your pet always has a beautiful experience in animal dreamland.

Read also: Dogs in Chinese Mythology – A Deep Dive into the Rich History and Legends of Canine Companions in Chinese Culture

Categories: BlogsDogs

Princess Egieya


Princess Egieya is a thriving radio presenter and newscaster with a few years of media experience and many more years penning words to life. The Mass Communication graduate from the University of Benin has a keen interest in current affairs, a knack for communicating, and a skill with words. She loves writing about everything there is to write about, just as much as learning all that there is to learn out there.


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