A Harvard Expert Explains What Dogs Dream About and It’s Too Emotional

  • By Silas
  • January 13, 2018
  • 2 minutes read

Don’t you find it cute when your dog dreams? They often mimic their movements and make noises. Such actions make our endearing doggos much more human to us. This makes us wonder what goes on inside the heads of our furry friends.

Dr. Deirdre Barrett, a teacher and Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist at Harvard Medical School, has the answers to your questions. The People got together with her, and their discussion shed much light on how dogs think. She explains that “most mammals have a similar sleep cycle to humans, going into a deep sleep stage… and then into periods of activity called REM sleep.” The latter phase is when dreams occur for us humans. So it’s safe to assume that mammals dream too.

Dr. Barrett’s next answer is the one that will really move you. The question was about what dogs dream about.

“Q: What do dogs experience when they dream?

A: Humans dream about the same things they’re interested in by day, though more visually and less logically.  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.”

This information really touched dog parents. When they learned that their sweetheart puppers could be dreaming about their face, they couldn’t keep it in anymore. They poured out their feelings on Twitter by posting pictures of their dog sleeping alongside a picture of their crying selves.

And what about the dogs who tend to run in their sleep? Dr. Barret talked about that with the People too.

“Q: What does it mean when my pet is asleep and its legs start moving like they are running?

A: They may well be dreaming they’re running… the more pronounced and fast the movements, the more likely they’re acting out a dream.”

But we don’t want our pets to have nightmares as we have sometimes. What can dog parents do to ensure that their four-legged kids have good dreams?

Dr. Deirdre seems to know it all.

“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. It’s a good bet this is also best for pets’ dreams.”

What are you waiting for? Take your dogs out, play with them, give them treats, take them on adventures, and keep them happy. This is how you can play your part in giving them the best dreams ever!

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