It’s always so interesting to think about what’s going on inside your pet’s mind. It’s especially interesting to think about what they dream of when they are fast asleep while looking so cute and precious.
Of course, we as humans know what we dream about: the people and other things in our day-to-day lives, but from a more skewed perspective.
Our dogs are animals. And we’re animals too! So because of this, it actually might be safe to assume that dogs have similar experiences to us.
Teacher and Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Deirdre Barrett, discovered that canines are likely dreaming about their human owners.
Mesermized by dreams ever since she was little, Barrett has been studying human sleep behavior for years. She stated that, while there’s no way to be 100% certain about what animals dream about, she can use the information she has about humans and translate it over to dogs. As we said, we’re all animals after all!
One thing that is certain is that most mammals have a similar sleep cycle to humans. This means they move fluidly through deep sleep to a less brain-active state and then on to the stage of Rapid Eye Movement. That last phase, also known as REM, is where the dreams occur for humans.
In an interview with People, Barrett shared, “that certainly makes it the best guess that other mammals are dreaming, too.”
Another interesting fact is that there have only ever been two animals that have shared their dreams with a human. These were the signing gorillas Koko and Michael.
“Researcher Penny Patterson reports that Koko occasionally signs about fantastic events, people and places she has not seen recently only upon awakening,” Barrett told People. “Michael, who is known to have been captured when poachers killed his entire family, sometimes wakes up and signs ‘Bad people kill gorillas.’”
So what exactly do dogs dream about, if we’re going based off of human dreams?
“Humans dream about the same things they’re interested in by day, though more visually and less logically,” she says. “There’s no reason to think animals are any different. 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.”
And you know that adorable little leg kick thing dogs do in their sleep? Barrett confirms that they truly are acting out their dreams and trying to run while laying down.
“Common sleep-walking doesn’t occur during dreaming sleep, but a much more vigorous ‘REM behavior disorder’ is accompanied by dreams, so the more pronounced and fast the movements, the more likely they’re acting out a dream.”
This led us to our next question — is there a way to give our pet better dreams?
“The best way to give ourselves or our children better dreams is to have happy daytime experiences and to get plenty of sleep in a safe and comfortable environment,” Barrett advised. “It’s a good bet this is also best for pets’ dreams.”
It makes complete sense. If you watch a horror movie before bed, of course you are going to have nightmares!
It’s great to know that our pets are on the same page as us for the most part. What do you think your pup is dreaming about?