Hi there friends! Welcome back to Doggo Bloggo. Do dogs dream when they sleep? We’ve all seen our dogs twitching, running, growling, whining, and much more while they are asleep. Lily and I have been researching if dogs are actually dreaming or not. And will we ever know unless we are a dog? Probably not, but scientists have some answers for us.
While doing some research about sleeping doggos I came across this video. The panel gets a question about if dogs dream or have nightmares. The video is set up to start at that question but you can watch the whole video if you’d like.
The video explains that we can do testing to see the brain activity of a dog while they sleep but there isn’t really a way to see if or how they are dreaming. Do dogs have a video playing in their head like humans? We may never know but it seems like it would be more of a shock to scientists that a dog wouldn’t dream.
There have been studies done on rats by a research team at MIT. The study shows rats have the same brain activity while running through a maze as they do when they are in REM sleep. Researchers concluded that they must be dreaming about the maze they ran earlier that day.
Much of the dreaming that you do at night is associated with the activities that you engaged in that day. The same seems to be the case in rats. Thus if a rat ran a complex maze during the day he might be expected to dream about it at night. While a rat was awake and learning the maze, electrical recordings were taken from its hippocampus (an area of the brain associated with memory formation and storage).
Researchers found that some of these electrical patterns were specific and identifiable depending on what the rat was doing. Later, when the rats were asleep and their brain waves indicated that they had entered the stage where humans normally dream, these same patterns of brain waves appeared. In fact, the patterns were so clear and specific that the researchers were able to tell where in the maze the rat would be if it were awake, and whether it would be moving or standing still. Wilson cautiously described the results, saying, “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.”
In my opinion, dogs most certainly dream. I can’t explain any other reason for their movements or sounds they make while sleeping. The important thing to remember is when your dog is sleeping, don’t try to wake them up. This could startle them just like it would startle you to be woken up in the middle of a deep sleep. Unintentional bites from the nicest of doggos has happened so just let your pup live out their fantasy land of bones and toys falling from the sky or whatever it is they are dreaming about.
For fun I put together a collection of doggos sleeping and “possibly dreaming.” I’ll let you be the judge! If anything, they are super cute.
We hope you have a wonderful week!
Jess & Lily