Friday, October 7, 2016
Do dogs have nightmares?
The evening was peaceful and quiet, just like most every evening, with my husband and I relaxing in the livingroom and our dogs napping on the rug. Suddenly our rescue golden retriever, Ike, started twitching and crying, a soft yelping sound. His paws moved. When we called to him, he awoke, looking around like "What are you waking me for?" Then he seemed fine.
Was Ike having a bad dream?
Research suggests that dogs dream.
1. Scientifically speaking, dog brains are similar to our brains. So if we dream, it seems likely that dogs dream.
2. EEGs indicate that dogs enter a deep sleep stage, just as we do.
Sometimes we surmise that our dog is dreaming about running in a field or chasing a squirrel. Ike's dreams, if that's what they are, seem like bad dreams. Usually not terrifying, but he cries and yelps. He is not a nervous or anxious dog otherwise, so other than gently calling his name to ease him awake when he cries out, we haven't needed to do anything.
We always awaken Ike, but experts suggest that you don't wake up your dog if he seems to be having a nightmare, in case he awakens confused and becomes agitated. I guess you just have to know your own dog and how he/she responds.
Apparently dog dreams are common. Does your dog have dreams? What do you imagine he is dreaming about? Do you think he's having a good dream, or does it seem like a bad dream like Ike?