You can tell if your dog is having a dream or a nightmare through the signs he shows. For instance, he will twitch and make quiet noises while dreaming. But in case of a nightmare, he will growl, cry, and seem to be restless.
Let’s extend the difference in the behavior of a dog wandering around having fun in dreamland and one running for his life trying to wake up from a horrible nightmare.
Signs Of A Dog Having A Regular Dream
As discussed earlier, your dog will show slight movements like his paws, tail, or ears twitching while making small noises. To add more, you will be able to notice his eyes or eyelids quivering. Moreover, your dog will seem in a peaceful state while sleeping with no signs of stress or uneasiness.
All of these signs will probably mean that your dog is having a pleasant dream and a sound sleep. So, in such situations, you don’t have to worry about anything and just let your pup have his beauty sleep, and you have yours.
Signs Of A Dog Having A Nightmare
While having a nightmare, your pup will behave kind of opposite to having a delightful dream. You can expect some growling along with the rapid movement of eyelids and shuddering paws.
Also, you can hear your pup bark a bit, cry or howl while asleep. These symptoms indicate that your dog is terrified because of something in the dream.
In some cases, dogs even wake up abruptly from deep slumber and look alarmed and disturbed, which means they wake up from a nightmare. It is similar to when humans wake up suddenly from a nightmare late at night, looking all pale, feeling hot, and showered with sweat.
In fact, your pup will have his paws sweating, or a bit damp when he wakes up. The following list captures all the signs we have discussed to give you a brief overview.
Understanding The Logic Behind Dogs Having Nightmares
Given that dogs have sleeping patterns similar to humans, they will go through similar sleep stages. The main phases are REM (rapid eye movement) and SWS (slow wave sleep). In order to understand the phase in which your pup experiences nightmares, you will have to know about both these sleep stages.
So, in the SWS stage, your dog’s brain activity reduces, but his muscles and reactions will be just like if he is awake. At this point forth, your dog will transit into the REM stage, where his body will be in a completely relaxed state while having an active mind.
According to studies, your dog will enter the REM phase and start dreaming after falling asleep for around 10 to 15 minutes. It is the stage where your dog will experience nightmares, and they will seem real and vivid. As a result, you get to hear cries or see twitchy paws.
You might be curious about what your dog is dreaming about. Well, dogs dream about their day, the activities they did, or the time they spent with you.
If we talk about the nightmares, it will probably be like your dog getting separated from you or a giant mouse chasing him around. Plus, if a dog goes through traumatizing events, the chances are that he will have nightmares about them.