What Do Dogs Dream About?
Hint hint: You’re probably the star of your pup’s dreams.
This story originally appeared on southernliving.com by Zoe Denenberg.
Our pets are more similar to us than we may imagine. Studies have shown that dogs use gestures to show their love and are attuned to their owners’ emotions, often knowing exactly when to run over and provide comfort. Dogs have adapted to become highly compassionate creatures, explaining why they develop such deep attachments to their humans. But what exactly goes on in a dog’s brain? If you’re curious about this topic, you’re not alone. A study conducted by USA Network found that, of all beings, Americans would most like to hack the dreams of their pets, as reported by People.
It’s no surprise that many loving dog owners wonder what’s going on in Fido’s little head while he slumbers at your feet. But do dogs dream at all? As it turns out, they probably do. Dogs actually have a similar sleep cycle to humans, with alternating stages of deep sleep (when the brain is less active) and Rapid Eye Movement, or REM (when the brain is more active and dreams occur). So it’s likely that dogs do dream like humans. While there’s no way to know for sure what dogs are dreaming about, the professionals are able to make some good guesses.
According to Dr. Deirdre Barrett, a Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist at Harvard Medical School, the dreams of dogs likely bear resemblance to those of humans. “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,” Dr. Barrett tells People. “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.”
Have you ever noticed a dog twitching in their sleep? This is completely normal: The muscle movement can actually be a sign that your dog is dreaming. Like humans, dogs likely dream about their daily activities, so playing fetch, running around the yard, or rolling for treats could be fodder for their sleepy consciousness. Since you play a large role in your dog’s life, you probably make an appearance in his dreamscape, too.
So when Fido is dozing off, he could be dreaming about you.