According to the latest research, when dogs sleep, they are most probably dreaming about their humans. Dogs are our best friends, but who would have thought that their loyalty and love for us extend into their dreams as well?
While we all know that humans dream during sleep, it was unclear whether animals did for many years. According to scientific research on rats, their brain activity while awake and performing tasks is the same as their brain activity while asleep. This indicated that rats are dreaming and that all mammals do. Sleep is essential to animals because this is the time where their body systems undergo repair, and sleep aids their growth. During sleep, the brain also processes information and experiences during the day.
Dr. Deirdre Barrett, a Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist at Harvard Medical School, told People Magazine in an interview: "Since dogs are generally extremely attached to their human owners, it's likely your dog is dreaming of your face, your smell and of pleasing or annoying you." Since Barrett has studied human sleep behavior for the past few years, she said it is most likely that dogs dream about their everyday experiences too, such as their interaction with humans. Smaller dogs have more frequent but shorter dream periods, while large dogs have less recurring but more prolonged dreams.
However, there is no particular way to know what's exactly inside a dog's mind when they dream. But most mammals have the same sleeping cycle as humans: going into a deep sleep stage where the brain is much less active, and then into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, where dreams usually occur.
Have you noticed that sometimes your dog moves his legs as if running in his sleep? Is he twitching, chattering, or moving his paws? Then it is probably dreaming about its day. Anything that happens to them during the day will be processed when they sleep.
For our pets to have good dreams, says Dr. Barrett, we must have happy daytime experiences with them and make sure that they get plenty of sleep in a safe and comfortable environment. Spend quality time with your dog, and chances are, he might dream about your play session, morning walks, and your cuddle time together. What a dream life to be in!