The house is very quiet and you think you could get some actual work done without your dog wanting to play. You suddenly hear some whimpering and whining, some tiny yips coming from where your dog is sleeping.
As most dog owners would do, we rush to see what is happening. It sounds like your dog may be in pain. What you see when you get into the room is your dog jerking and his feet look like he is trying to run in his sleep.
It kind of makes you want to laugh, yet you call his name softly to see if he reacts. You call out a second time and you see him lift his head. Sitting next to him, you ask if he is okay and notices that all the flinching has stopped.
Science says it is so
Scientists have completed some tests such as an EEG and have determined that just like humans, dogs are very capable of dreaming.
Their brainwaves show the activity at the same time they start flinching and whimpering is taking place.
Another similarity between the canine and human is that they both enter different sleep patterns.
When your dog hits the REM stage, rapid eye movements, you will notice his eyes begin fluttering and you see that his eyeballs themselves are moving constantly.
This is the stage where your dog enters the dream stage.
There is no way to be able to know what your dog is dreaming about. It would seem to be that just like we humans, a dog will relive daily activity and basically play the same way they do in their daily lives.
We can only assume that dogs could have nightmares also.
The bad ones
It will never be known why some nightmares are so bizarre or do not make sense in our waking hours. It is likely the same for dogs.
They may spend their day playing with other dogs or chasing cats, in sleep though, these animals may be chasing them for attack purposes. What they seem to interact with as friends could be mortal enemies in sleep.
The body tells it like it is
We assume that when they do is slightly moving their paws it is a pleasant dream they are having. When we hear the yipping and barking or even the growling, we know that it is likely signifying a bad dream or nightmare.
During a doggie nightmare, your dog will show signs of fear, stress, and anxiety. These signs would be obvious such as the actual barking or growling. You will also see that they are moving their paws much faster and their body may be twitching more.
There will be times when you notice that your dog wakes with a start. It is sudden and there may still be a look of fear remaining in their eyes. This should tell you that your dog has just had a nightmare.
In these moments, you need to give your puppy a chance to fully wake up. If you get too close too soon, your dog may be in a half-sleep state still and think you are the enemy from his nightmare.
You do not want your dog to lash out at you or the family, teach them to not go near the dog until they are up on all fours.
I am sure that you have experienced this next one a time or two, you feel as though you are falling. In all actuality, you are falling. Asleep anyway. It is a bizarre feeling when you feel yourself falling.
Canines do probably experience the same thing. They likely get just as scared as humans when this happens.
Hot, flushed, and scared
After a dream or nightmare, your dog will wake up possible with sweaty paws or hot and panting. Be sure that there is a dish of water for your dog. All that running has likely made them very thirsty.
When a dog has a seizure, it may appear to look just like when the dog is dreaming. There is a difference though. During the dream state, the movements that your dog experiences last for a brief moment or two.
During a seizure these movements are prolonged and the dog will appear to be stiffer. Convulsions are more of a violent muscle movement, you will also notice that your dog’s entire body seems to be rigid, or ‘Stiff as aboard’.
If this is a seizure, you will notice an abundance of drool, or even foamy drool coming from the mouth of your dog.
Waking your dog
It is never a good idea to wake a dog when you are next to it. They may not have their full senses yet and mistake you for the enemy in the nightmare they had.
If you feel that you must wake the dog, remain at a distance, and call their name, talking to them will help them know it is you.
You could also drop an object to the floor or make a loud pounding noise. A sure way to tell between a medical episode or dreams is how they react if they react to a loud noise made. If there is no reaction, go immediately to the vet office.
Time For Trip
If you have doubts about whether your precious pup has had a nightmare or a seizure, please be safe and take the dog to his vet. A vet can run a test to determine if the dog has any issues that need anti-seizure medication or another type of medicine.
Just remember that the vet is the only professional that can determine if your dog is healthy or has a medical issue. One more aspect to be aware of, if the dog did just have a seizure, they will seem lost or disoriented when they wake up.
When a dog wakes from the dreaming state, he is your happy go lucky puppy who just wants all of your attention.