Dogs replay their day’s activities in dreams

My dog Bandit dreams about his day. (Photo copyright 2009 Joanne Brokaw)

Every dog lover has witnessed it: that moment when your sleeping dog begins to yip or move his legs as if running or even growls at imaginary foes. 

Turns out that researchers think that, like humans, when a dog dreams he’s replaying the day’s activities. 

Pets go through the same multiple stages of sleep that humans do, from periods of slow wave sleep to REM (rapid eye movement), where most dreaming occurs. What differs is the frequency of the dreams. People cycle through REM sleep every 90 minutes, cats every 25. In dogs, that cycle depends on the size of the dog. Smaller dogs enter REM sleep more frequently than larger dogs, but each episode is much shorter. 

So the next time my dogs Bandit and Scout start yipping in their sleep, I’ll assume they’re enjoying another rousing round of water dog or fetch! 

What do you think your dog dreams about? And what’s the funniest thing he’s done while sleeping? 

You can read more about dog’s dreams in an article on the HealthDay website

And if you’re looking for good books about dogs and dog behavior, written in easy to read language for the non-scientist, check out these books:


– Stanley Coren’s How Dogs Think: What the World Looks Like to Them and Why They Act the Way They Do, which is mentioned in the article 

– Stephen Budiansky’s The Truth about Dogs: An Inquiry into Ancestry, Social Conventions, Mental Habits, and Moral Fiber of Canis familiaris

– Jon Katz’s common sense book on dog training, Katz on Dogs: A Commonsense Guide to Training and Living with Dogs

– Patricia McConnell’s book about understanding your dog’s emotions, For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend


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