Does Your Pet Dream?

Have you ever seen your dog running or heard your cat chattering in their sleep? Maybe you’ve wondered what is going on, and the question is does your pet dream?Is she really hunting rabbits, or is she just twitching in her sleep? Do dogs dream as we do?



What is Your Furry Friend Dreaming Of?
Humans don’t have a monopoly on dreams. In fact, scientists believe that most vertebrates, and maybe even the humble fruit fly, can – and do – dream on a regular basis.So now that you know your pet is dreaming, you might be curious about what pets are dreaming of. Cats and dogs probably dream about the same sorts of things that we do. They probably dream about their day-to-day activities and occasionally they have a super-exciting dream about something out of the ordinary – like chasing a squirrel!

How do we know pets dream?
Dogs experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and slow wave sleep (SWS) just as humans do. The REM stage of sleep is a deep sleep where dreaming can occur, and dogs spend about 10% of their time in this dreaming phase when asleep.The earliest sleep researchers conducted a series of sleep experiments on cats. Initially, his studies focused on the similarities between sleeping cats and sleeping humans by measuring muscle tension and brain activity. Later in his research, he disabled parts of the cat’s brain stem called the pons that controls paralysis during sleep. While in REM sleep, the pons is responsible for sending signals to the muscles to relax and abstain from moving around acting out dreams. Once the cat’s body was no longer inhibited of movement during REM sleep, the cat would perform actions that he often went through while awake. The cat stalked invisible prey, groomed himself and walked around- all while asleep!

How are dog and human sleep cycles different?
We’ve already mentioned how dogs and humans both experience slow wave and rapid eye movement stages of sleep, but these stages occur differently in the sleep cycle for dogs and humans. Humans will average about four or five complete cycles per night, with each cycle lasting roughly 90 minutes. Canines, on the other hand, have shorter, 15-minute cycles and often will experience 20 per night.

Tips for a better night’s rest!
Whether your dog is a rambunctious dreamer or a quiet, tightly curled ball, it’s important to provide a comfortable sleeping spot for him to call his own. Leave blankets or a dog bed down if you don’t allow him to sleep in your bed with you. Ensure that your dog’s bed isn’t somewhere that will get too hot or too cold, such as in direct sunlight or near a drafty door. Don’t forget to give your dog plenty of his favorite exercise during the day to wear him out and give him something to dream about!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*We hope to give you better ideas for your pet, but this information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian. If your pet feels bad, please take it to the veterinarian in time.