My Dog is Dreaming More Than Usual – Why?

You may have been amazed the first few times you realized that your dog dreams. You will know your pet is dreaming deeply when there are rapid eye movements, characterized by the REM stage; this is where their eyelids blink rapidly.

can dogs sense when something is wr...
can dogs sense when something is wrong with their owner

You may have discovered that he dreams in the quest to understand your pet. Although catching your pet mid-sleep doesn’t often happen because these canine companions are always active when you are around, rapid eye movements may indicate deep sleep for your pet. And with deep sleep often comes dreaming, but what happens when your dog dreams more than usual?

Is it a cause for worry? By now, you have probably realized that your puppy will give you plenty of reasons to worry, but should his sleep and dream patterns also bother you? Keep reading, and you will find the answers alongside what you can do when it appears Fido is having a bad dream.

Why Would My Dog Be Dreaming More than Normal? 

If your pet is dreaming more than normal, it is likely because of their size or age. Research has shown that smaller dogs, and younger dogs, dream more frequently, even though their dreams are shorter, possibly ending within a few minutes. On the other hand, a larger dog will dream longer, but the breaks between each dream will be more extended. 

Every ten minutes, a smaller dog or puppy dreams for sixty seconds. You may notice the telling signs of a dreaming dog often during this period, but that is not a cause to worry. And more importantly, you shouldn’t wake your pet from this state.

In older dogs, dreams may happen for five minutes every hour. These are normal sleeping patterns and episodes, which you may perceive as abnormal, especially if you are not accustomed to seeing a dog sleep. In a nutshell, younger puppies dream more than adults or mature dogs, which is why you may think your pet dreams more than normal. When a dog has the time or inclination to sleep, he will dream as much or as little as he can, seeing that he has no control over this state of unconsciousness.

Do Dogs Dream More as They Age? 

Dogs do not dream more as they age; they dream less. Here is the breakdown of the dream state in dogs – puppies dream for shorter periods or have shorter-timed dream episodes, but it happens more often, as much as every ten minutes. Compared to an older dog’s five minutes every hour, a puppy catches an episode of dreams for sixty short seconds. 

So, do dogs dream more as they age? We would say no, but their ability to dream for longer or retain a dream for more than a minute grows stronger. In the real sense, older dogs dream less but for longer, which means they are more likely to experience longer nightmares which we will show you how to deal with.

Since we cannot exactly take a look into the minds of our puppies, we can as well rely on research and studies conducted by those who nearly can. Let’s do the math for puppy dreams – sixty seconds every ten minutes means he dreams six minutes every hour, while a mature canine companion dreams for five minutes every hour, but with no interval. 

Is My Dog Dreaming More than Normal Something I Should Worry About? 

No, your dog dreaming more than normal is not something you should worry about. It is not clear what animals dream about, even though studies postulate that all mammals dream. In dogs, dreaming more than usual has not been linked to any health condition or psychological trauma, including anxiety and jealousy. Therefore, if you suspect your pet dreams more than normal, put your mind at ease. 

Also, note that he may have the occasional nightmare. Nightmares are relatively relatable among humans, so it is expected that any other mammal that dreams will also have them. The patterns dog dreams follow are not known nor understood yet, and we don’t know what may cause a dog to have a nightmare.

Perhaps it is the fear of losing his bone to a neighborhood dog, the fear of not seeing you for a long time, or of missing you for too long. Whatever it is, the best way to handle a dog that seems to have nightmares is to let him be. And if he is dreaming more than normal, it is because he is sleeping more than normal. If his sleep patterns are so drastically changed and you suspect other abnormal conditions your pet is going through, you can confirm his health status with the vet.  

Should I Wake My Dog if He Seems to Be Having a Bad Dream?

No, it is not ideal to wake your dog if he seems to be having a bad dream. Undoubtedly, most dogs love to cuddle, and if they fall asleep in the process, you can catch them dreaming. If you spend enough time with your dog, you will likely have witnessed these episodes now and then and would be able to recognize signs of it happening through twitches, whimpers, and occasional leg movements. He may also fart in his sleep… gross! 

If your dog falls asleep next to you, you may notice them dreaming about something that appears unpleasant. Should you come to their rescue by waking them up? No! You should not wake them up because you can startle them out of sleep, which creates a reaction that no intense dreamer appreciates. If your dog looks like they are having a bad dream, let them be. Waking them up may get you bitten, or worse, hurt your little furry friend.

Depending on his age, he will wake up pretty soon and forget what he was dreaming about. A dog’s memory isn’t the strongest, even though he remembers many important things. However, there is every likelihood that a nightmare would be excluded from the things a dog remembers while awake. Let him wake naturally – allowing him to wake up on his own would incite a better response than startling him awake from his already agitated state. 

Conclusion 

So it appears that your dog is dreaming more than usual. It is normal to worry, even though you shouldn’t. Dogs do dream like humans, and the response to a nightmare shouldn’t not be startling the dreamer awake but waiting for them to awaken naturally so that you can provide comfort that would mean more in the conscious state. The same applies to your pet, who appears to be dreaming more than normal or having a nightmare; let nature wake him up, then provide the comfort he needs to move on from that agitating episode.