What Do Dogs Dream About?


They say that best friends act alike, so it makes sense that human behavior shares a lot in common with dog behavior. They get hungry, need exercise, like to cuddle up on the couch, and get startled when an unfamiliar person comes to the door. We’ve figured out what dog facial expressions mean, how many hours a day dogs sleep, and even pondered if dogs can see ghosts. One thing we don’t know is if dog brains process their waking hours in the same way that humans do. Do dogs dream too? And if so, what do dogs dream about?

Do dogs dream?

The answer is yes, dogs do dream while they sleep. An MIT study found that rats dream about the activities they performed earlier in the day. They had the same unique brain activity while they ran through a maze as they did while they were sleeping, which the researchers took to mean that they were likely having a dream about running through the maze. This led to the conclusion that more complex animals such as cats and dogs also dream about things they’ve experienced, just like we do. Your dog’s sleeping position can tell you a lot too.

Do dogs dream like humans?

Structurally, dog brains are very similar to human brains, says Gary Richter, DVM, a veterinary health expert with Rover. This means that dogs and humans have similar patterns of brain waves and brain activity while sleeping.

“Because of these similar brain wave patterns, dogs actually do experience multiple sleep stages during a standard sleep cycle, including dreams that cause rapid eye movement or REM sleep, which is where we see them twitching while sleeping,” says Dr. Richter. But what are dog dreams like?

What do dogs dream about?

You might like to think your dog is dreaming about their owner, and you might be right. “While there is no scientific consensus, dogs most likely dream about everyday activities such as chasing birds, running after squirrels, or even interacting with you and other dogs,” says Dr. Richter. They might also be dreaming about sleeping in one of the best dog beds.

Are dogs dreaming when they twitch?

Zoe Life Photography/Getty Images

15 Dog Breeds That Are Expert Nappers

Ling Stock/Shutterstock

Things Your Dog Wants from You

Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock

Things You Do That Your Dog Hates

search close