You know that when your pup is sleeping, they can sometimes twitch their legs or whimper. But did you know that it's because they're dreaming?
New research studies strongly suggest that dogs not only dream, but that they dream about waking activities, just like humans do.
And, just like humans, dogs circle through REM and non-REM sleep cycles, just like humans. Us humans have the most interesting and memorable dreams during the REM sleep cycle, while our more mundane and forgettable dreams occur during the non-REM cycle.
A study in 1977 found that dogs spend most of their sleep cycle in deep, non-REM sleep. Since then, other studies have been done to confirm REM cycles in all animals and dogs.
So these studies tell us that dogs can dream, but how can they tell us what dogs dream about? Well, if you watch your pup while they're in their deep sleep, you might see their muscles twitching. These muscles twitch because, in a way, they're paralyzed temporarily by the brain. This stops them from acting out their dreams. This is more evident in younger pups than older pups.
This tells us that dogs are dreaming of doing something active when they start twitching, whether it be going for a walk, running after a ball, or other mundane dog activities. Studies to find out just what they dream about can only be analyzed right now through their muscle spasms, and the frequency of them.
So next time your pup falls asleep and they start twitching, just know that they're probably dreaming of chasing that squirrel they've seen outside the window for a week. Maybe you guys can start a dream journal together!
Sweet dreams, pups and humans!