While humans extensively talk about their dreams―Martin Luther King Jr. being one of the more famous people to do so and Barack Obama being the most recent―a very interesting question about our canine friends has surfaced over the years. It becomes interesting when we assume that they do. What do dogs dream about? Piles of bones? A female dog?
While the subject of the dream is perhaps specific to each dog’s individual thought processes, researchers claim that dogs do in fact have dreams.
Do Dogs Dream Like Us?
Obviously not the ‘dreams’ which Obama or Martin Luther King were talking about, but dogs do experience some brain activity which leads to visualization within the canine mind while still asleep. The most common half-a-shred of evidence of the fact that dogs dream, is how they sometimes move their legs, whimper or moan, or wag their tails while sleeping. This perhaps sparked off the question for the first time. And since then researchers and animal lovers have tried gaining an insight into whether your pet has dreams.
Scientists have propounded a theory which assumes that there are two kinds of sleep that humans experience. The first, Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) is when the mind is sleeping, but the body stays up and alert. The second type of sleep is known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, where the body is asleep, but the mind is quite active. If the mind is active, as is the case with REM sleep, it is assumed that perhaps the person who is asleep is having dreams.
Dogs too showcase these two very distinct types of sleep. During some naps the dogs displayed rapid eye movement and an involuntary body movement. (The body is sleeping, so the movement is involuntary mind you!) Other things which people have noticed their dogs do in their sleep are whining and whimpering. Sometimes the dog even wags its tail, licks its lips, and so on.
But just rapid eye movement is not conclusive enough to establish that the dog is having a dream. Hence, the researchers decided to take this experiment a step further. They decided to check the brain waves of the dog while sleeping to see if there is any activity in the brain of the dog. And there was! The electroencephalogram (EEG), which monitors the level of activity in the brain, showed that there was indeed a heightened level of activity in the canine mind while in its REM sleep than in a slow wave sleep. This pattern has been successful to establish that a human was dreaming and hence, the same is assumed to be true in case of a dog.
They say that puppies dream a lot more than adult dogs. Research has also shown that small dogs have a higher tendency to have dreams at night than bigger dogs. It is said that if a person is having a dream, he should not be woken up; the same applies to a dog. If you can see that your pooch dreaming, it is best left to itself and not woken up.
So, yes! Dogs do dream! Now it is up to you to speculate what your canine’s been up to in its last dream. Chasing rabbits or cars perhaps?