What Do Dogs Dream About?

As human best friends, dogs share a lot of daily behaviors with us. They can get hungry, thirsty, want to do exercises, or sit on the couch doing nothing. However, there is one thing many people have always been wondering about – Do our dogs dream? And if they do, what do dogs dream about?

While we ordinary people cannot have all the answers to this question, scientists are working hard and taking step-by-step approaches to understand dog dreams, as well as help us understand our canine companions better.

What do dogs dream about?
What do dogs dream about? – Photo: Kyzer the Therapy Dog

Do Our Dogs Dream?

For a long time, we may have been thinking that only us humans can have the ability to dream. However, research from scientists has shown that even humble fruit flies can dream on a regular basis.

About dogs, they go through several wakefulness periods, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM sleep, similar to us. During the period of REM sleep, which is also believed to be an element of how their body processes memory and other things, our dogs would go into their most imaginary and memorable dreams. 

For your additional information, according to reports from the National Sleep Foundation, half a day is the average time a dog would spend sleeping, and it will probably be longer for puppies, old dogs, and large breeds. What do they dream about? Let’s find out next!

What Do Dogs Dream About?

Dogs lead more exciting lives than small mice, and, in order to figure out their dreams, researchers conducted a test during which the pons – a part of the brain stem that is responsible for controlling sleep cycles, deep sleep regulation, and preventing large muscles from moving during sleep, will be temporarily disabled. Without the pons, humans and other animals (including dogs) would act out exactly everything they were dreaming about – which would probably result in disastrous results – including death.

According to researchers, dogs and humans have similar dreaming patterns, meaning their dreams would possibly be about a happy moment or a time when they would see their deceased relatives, family members, friends, etc. 

On some occasions, our four-legged friends may give us more clues about their dreams. For example, a dog that is scared of bath time will wake up bolting and hiding between his legs, indicating that he just had a scary dream about having to take a bath.

Do dogs have nightmares?
Do dogs have nightmares? – Photo: Rodney Neyland

Are Dreams Shorter Or Longer For Different Breeds?

Reports have shown that small breeds will have more dreams than large ones, but with a shorter duration. Meanwhile, large dogs will have fewer dreams, but those will be longer ones. 

Also, there is a wild guess that what your dogs do all day would affect his dreams. For instance, a German Shepherd may display house-guarding behaviors in his dreams at night, as it is his main duty during the day. Similarly, a Labrador Retriever may dream about himself chasing a tennis ball.

Hmm, How About Nightmares?

Just like humans, dogs sometimes will encounter nightmares during their sleep and those are hard to watch. We owners will feel sympathetic for them and proceed to comfort them as if they were our children. However, doggy nightmares usually go with some risks such as dog panic attacks.

If you wake your dog from his frightening dream, he may act aggressively toward his owner (which is dangerous, especially for toddlers and young children) since it can take some time for him to remember who and where he is. Therefore, it is recommended that you should “let your sleeping dog lie”, wait for him to wake up, and then comfort him gently.

You should be aware of dog panic attacks which make your dogs wake up in the middle of their sleep.


Dogs’ dreams are just like humans’; they can have a sleep full of happy stories or dreadful nightmares, and that is what makes us more alike.

William Frank

Hi, I'm William, founder and content creator at Boobeepets. I live in breathtaking Hawaii with my little family. I won't say I'm a pet lover, I'm a pet mate, indeed, and living with Typhoon (my little dog) is pretty much a destiny. If you are seeking insights of pets and pets community, especially cat and dog, you will find it here. Hope you will enjoy our fun little blog posts as well as we enjoy creating them.

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