We've all seen our dogs do it. They're deep in sleep, and suddenly, they start twitching, and may even let out a muffled bark.
You're probably wondering: "What is going on?!" Well, just like humans, dogs can also have dreams. But what are they dreaming about?
Sleep Cycles Similar To Humans
Dogs experience sleep cycles very similar to humans. They go through stages of wakefulness, REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep, and non-REM sleep. Dogs enter REM sleep about 20 minutes into slumber, and may stay there for two or three minutes.
During this stage, you may notice your dog breathing irregularly, and its muscles twitching. This is when your dog is dreaming (or having a nightmare). Though it may be alarming to witness your dog pawing, running, or whining, don't worry! This behavior is normal, natural, and healthy, so also, don't interrupt.
What Do Dogs Dream Of?
The size of your dog may even determine the length and frequency of its dreams.
Research suggests that, much like humans, our furry friends dream about what happens to them during their everyday lives, from long walks to doggy treats and chasing squirrels. But, just when we thought we couldn't love dogs any more, we pondered this: Since dogs are generally attached to their human owners, they're probably dreaming about you. (Cue heart melting!)
When your dog's legs move, chances are it's walking or running in its dream. Similarly, when your dog lets out some muffled barks, chances are it's yelping in Slumber Land, too.
Although we love the likelihood that dogs dream (and dream about us), there is one downfall: Our furry friends can therefore also experience nightmares.
Bigger Dog Means Longer Dreams
The size of your dog may even determine the length and frequency of its dreams. Smaller dogs will have more frequent, but shorter dream periods, while larger dogs have less frequent, but longer dreams.