Thursday, March 13, 2014

Does Your Pet Dream?

For humans, we climb into bed each night knowing we’re off to dreamland. Dreams are a result of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the most important and deepest stage of our sleep cycle. But do our dogs and cats also travel to a dream world in their sleep, too?

Many pet owners are adamant that their pets do dream. We’ve all watched our pets while they’re fast asleep, and often gush over their cute twitches and muffled woofs during a nap. It turns out that these subtle body movements may tell us a lot about what goes on in our pet’s heads while they slumber.

A recent article in Parade Magazine discussed pets traveling into dreamland. For humans, according to Veterinary Relief Solutions, Inc. owner Lisa Boyer, DVM, the purpose of dreaming may be to help maintain a sense of self. Since we cannot ask our pets, we can’t know for sure, but what we can observe suggests that pets do dream while asleep.

Studies have shows that dogs and cats, while sleeping, exhibit REM sleep actions like eye twitching, lip movements and vocalizations. These signs, along with fast breathing, confirm that our pets do dream, but what they dream about is still a mystery. We hope that these are all signs of good dreams!

So next time your dog mumbles a woof or your cat’s whiskers twitch while they are asleep, take a guess at what might be going on inside their heads. Maybe your dog is running across a grassy field, or your cat is tossing around their favorite toy. No matter what our pets envision while asleep, we can make their good dreams come true by giving them plenty of love and attention when they wake up.

What do you think? Does YOUR pet show signs of dreaming while they sleep?


  1. This is really an interesting topic. When watching dogs sleep it’s clear that something is going on in their heads – they “speak,” they move, they “chase” things, etc., all of which seem to indicate that the dog is in REM sleep. I’ve also heard that one of the reasons that dogs sleep so much and that they can go from being “sound” asleep to wide awake and barking at the door is that they don’t get into a “deep” sleep which is usually required for a REM state. Is this a conflict or am I missing something? Thanks.

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