Many pet owners have laughed when they saw their dogs whining, crying and kicking during sleep and wondered if their dogs were dreaming. Dogs, just like other mammals have dreams and cry during REM sleep.
Dreaming happens in REM sleep, a period of deep sleep in when the eyes are moving rapidly and produce dreams. The hippocampus, which is a part of the brain devoted to dreams, emotions and memory, performs like humans and dogs and there’s plenty of reason to believe that dog dreams work just like human dreams.
When you dream, your body goes into the state of sleep paralysis which prevents humans, dogs, and other creatures that dream — from, say leaping up into the air or performing other things during their dreams. But sometimes, sleep paralysis isn’t able to totally freeze the body which is the reason the legs of dogs may be twitching or cause them to be crying and whimpering. The fact that your dog is crying doesn’t necessarily mean she’s in distress; her cries are more like the mumbles of human sleep-talkers–half-developed vocalizations during sleep.
What Dogs Dream
The dog behaviourist Stanley Coren suggests that dogs might dream about their everyday dog activities. This can explain why dogs often beg, whimper and run when they sleep. Dreaming plays a crucial role in the process of storing memories and dealing with stress in the day, therefore dogs might dream about recent events or events that occurred long ago. Because dogs are motivated by scent, their dreams might contain more scent-related information than human dreams.
Waking Dogs Up
If your pet is crying like she’s crying out for help instead of making a few whimpering noises it could be that she is having the most terrifying nightmare. A dog that is dreaming could be risky but it’s not a bad idea. If your dog isn’t fully awake, she might be agitated and strike you. Instead, try to say your name in loud voice from across the room , or making noises to wake her out of her slumber.
Always consult with your veterinarian prior to changing your pet’s diet, medications or routines for physical exercise. These facts are not intended to substitute for a veterinarian’s advice.
If Dreams Trigger Dogs’ Crying While Asleep, What Do They Dream About?
This is where things can get very complicated. It is possible to attach electrodes or probes to the skulls of dogs to get a glimpse of their brain waves. However, it doesn’t provide any information about the content of the dreams they have. We only see peak and troughs or even upwards and downwards in these waves. They are just lines that are irregular that tell us the amount of electrical activity the brain is undergoing in a certain time frame.
The distinction between dogs and humans in regards to dreams is that we are able to convey our nebulous memories of our dream. Dogs however are unable to make the words that are able to describe exactly what they dreamed about. Therefore we are able to only give an educated guess.
It is very likely that the dog has re-enacted certain (or all) of actions or events it could have encountered during the day.
If, for instance, you observe your dog moving, or moving its legs when it’s asleep, it could be that it’s thinking about running around the backyard or perhaps in a large open field, perhaps after an animal like a squirrel, rabbit, or some other prey. Try to remember whether it was doing this activity during the daytime hours during the day. It’s likely it did.
The same can be said for the whimpering or crying. It’s possible that it attempts to sort out the time when you made a remark to your dog the time you left it at home. Have you had it groomed by someone that your dog doesn’t like? Imagine any instance where you could have caused trouble for your pet. You’re likely to find that your dog will be reliving these memories.
These are, of course, our guesses.
A Dog’s Cry and What it is Trying to Communicate
If a dog is who is sleeping and crying essentially indicates that it’s trying to remember an event that could have happened or something it really wants to hear, let’s take a look at what it might be signaling.
Discomfort or pain are just one of the messages communicated when dogs are crying, whimpering or whining. As we’ve stated, dogs, like us aren’t able to communicate their feelings and emotions. The dog you are caring for may be suffering from an injury you are not fully aware of for instance, a developing inflammation or infection in one area of the body that isn’t normally observed. It’s also possible that there’s an existing tumor that is beginning to grow into the tissues around it and cause pain when the mass presses upon nerve endings.
What You Should Do If Your Dog Cries While Sleeping
No matter what they are called All dogs are aware of what is going on around them. They do this to safeguard the family members or the group from threat. They are prone to being easily stimulated or aroused from sleeping. They can quickly wake up after they’ve completed a sleep-wake cycle. This is the reason that they need to sleep longer as we need.
If your dog has a crying fit when it is asleep Let it be. Don’t attempt to wake it up as it’s stuck in its sleep. If you try it, the animal may not be able to notice you and then strike you in the face or bite you. It’s crucial to be aware that the REM phase of sleep is a time of high energy, as shown by the increasing brainwave activity. Awakening at this time can frighten it and cause it to attack you.
If your dog isn’t making a noise that whimpers, and instead is letting out loud cries it could be you’re dog in an unsettling nightmare. It’s possible to get it awake, but you need be careful. Instead of shaking the body to awake it from sleeping state, it is best to shout its name out loud enough to shake it out of its sleeping. Alternately, you can make loud noises to ensure that it doesn’t attack you should it awake and startle.
Dogs who cry when they sleep are actually dogs in a dream.