Do you suspect that your dog is having nightmares but you are unsure about it?
According to science, dogs do have dreams just like humans, and the process is very similar. Like humans, dogs also have nightmares, and sometimes they twitch their paws and growl in their sleep when they are dreaming.
It has been scientifically proven that when dogs have nightmares, they might be dreaming about things that they dislike or painful situations that they fear. Dogs will also dream about normal activities that happen in their lives.
What dog nightmares are about?
Dog nightmares are mostly from memories and bad experiences from the past. Dogs only dream about things that happen to them during the day. They will dream about their owners, going to the park, taking a walk playing fetch they even dream about bath time.
They also dream about bad experiences, and this is where nightmares come in. Nightmares happen when your dog’s brain is trying to process stressful and scary real-life events. Some dogs even consider bath time a stressful event in their lives.
Unlike human beings, dogs do not have an advanced imagination, and they will not dream about imaginary things attacking them. Instead, they will dream about things from their memories.
Dogs that have a traumatic past are more likely to have nightmares and dream about their past traumatic negative experiences than dogs that have always have a stable home. If you adopt a dog, have a look at his history to establish if he might be having nightmares from his past traumatic experiences.
Signs that your dog is having nightmares
When your dog is anxious, annoyed, or stressed when awake, they portray the same signs as to when they have a terrible dream. They cry, whine, and growl when they feel threatened or stressed. You will even notice your dog barking, twitching their paws, and moving their eyelids while dreaming.
If you notice that your dog acts like he is startled when he wakes up, this might indicate that they are just waking up from a nightmare. Just like humans, dogs also wake up sweaty and dump after a dream.
Below are some body language signs that indicate your dog is having a nightmare
- Heavy and fast breathing
- They make a bubble-like noises
- Twitching and moving their eyelids
- Sweaty and damp paws after they wake up
- Barking in their sleep
- Growling and panting
- Whimpering and whining in their sleep
- Twitching their whiskers and a tense jaw
What to do when your dog is having nightmares
The most important this is to let him sleep through his nightmare, it might not be easy, but it is safe to do that.
If you wake your dog up in the middle of a bad dream, they might bite you or growl out of fear, which is not safe. Do not touch them walk to a far distance, and call out their name gently if you must.
If you notice they are having nightmares at night, take them out during the day, exercise with them, play games, and spend quality time with them. This will help them form positive and happy experiences during the day and hopefully wipe away the bad memories.
If your dog’s nightmares are frequent contact your vet or a dog behaviorist, they might help you diagnose if there is a medical reason behind it and, in some cases, prescribe medication to help ease your dog’s nightmares.
If you notice that your dog has a disrupted sleep pattern, you can change their bedding, give them a cozy bed, use a crate to provide a secure sleeping spot, and sometimes play some classical quiet, and soothing music. It will help create a soothing environment for them, so rest easy.
Tips to ensure your dog is having a good night sleep
- If you do not allow your dog to sleep in your bed with you, provide the right sleeping spot for your dog, ensure it will not get too cold or too hot. Do not put your dog’s sleeping sport in place with direct sunlight
- During the day, take your dog out, have him do a lot of his favorite exercises, play with him his favorite games. Wear him out and give him plenty of positive memories to dream about.
- Make sure to take your dog to the toilet just before bedtime and ensure it is the last thing he does.
- Have your daily exercise early in the day, do not have him do too many activities just before bedtime will have him drinking water, and as a result, wake up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break.
- Do not share your bed with your dog. Studies have shown that most pet owners who share a bed with their pets get sleep disruptions leading to poor quality of sleep for both you and your pet.
- Layout a good quality bedding for your dog and some warm blankets and make sure to reduce any loud noise when they are sleeping.
Look after your dog
It is usual for dogs, even those that seem to have perfect lives, to experience bad dreams. If you notice your dog is continuously kicking, crying, and lashing out as a result of nightmares, there are a few things you can do to help them. Please take a closer look at your dog during the day and pinpoint what scares them.
Dogs dream about fears like being kicked and attacked by other dogs, hurt by humans, or a bad experience they had during the day. Nightmares highlight their concerns.
Help your dog overcome real-life fears that will help them reduce these nightmares. Show your dog a lot of love and affection during the day, make his experiences enjoyable and fun.
Although nightmares are regular, it is imperative to speak to a vet or a dog behaviorist. They might recommend some supplements to ease your dog’s anxieties and fears so that you and your dog can now rest easy.