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Does Your Dog Dream?

August 4, 2016 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Sleeping dog

Have you ever watched your dog nap and laughed at his or her apparent dreams? Have you seen Fido apparently chasing a squirrel or whimpering for a treat while snoozing? This may have led you to believe that your dog is dreaming vividly. But—do dogs actually dream?

Sweet Dreams, Doggy

Science can't answer that question with full certainty at this point, but there is some evidence to suggest that your pup has an active dream life just like you do. Those sleeping actions such as whining, chomping, "running," and growling certainly suggest that dogs have something going on in their brains while they sleep. Here's what is scientifically known about dogs and dreaming.

Experiments suggest that some animals dream like humans. A study by neuroscience professors Matthew Wilson and Kenway Louie examined whether rats appeared to replay memories in their sleep. They found that rats do indeed "dream" in this way, and Wilson concluded that "Unless there is something special about rats and humans — that cats and dogs are doing exactly the same thing."

This aligns closely with what we observe about our own dogs at home, and we can only assume that dogs dream about things that happen in their daily lives—walks with their humans, playing with toys, chasing after frisbees. If that's the case, then your dogs' dream life is probably pretty fantastic.

As always, if you have any questions about your dog's health or wellbeing, contact us. We offer comprehensive pet health services, including check-ups, immunizations, and pet boarding.

Topics: Pet Wellness Clinic

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.