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Should we let dreaming dogs lie?

Understanding our dog’s dreams

Seeing our dreaming dog can be entertaining, we imagine they’re chasing rabbits as their legs kick out and they yip sleepily.

Sometimes it looks like our pooches are having nightmares, they might start whimpering or crying, and we rush to comfort them. But is it okay to wake our dogs from a bad dream?

Do dogs dream?

Yes! Dog-lovers know this already, but scientists used the same technology that registers our sleep to show that dogs have very similar brain activity and sleep patterns to us!

This means it’s highly likely they have similar dreams to us and definitely require a decent amount of deep sleep for overall health.

Dream or nightmare?

There are good dreams and bad dreams. We like to imagine our dog dreaming about endless games of fetch, dog parks, and tasty treats, but sometimes they have nightmares just like we do.

When having a nightmare your dog may growl, twitch, or even bark, as if they’re warding off an imaginary burglar or protecting you from a monster.

Should we wake a dreaming dog?

Witnessing what looks like a puppy nightmare can be distressing for us, and our first instinct is to make whatever is scaring them go away.

But waking your dog frequently can be harmful for them as it disturbs those precious sleeping patterns that keep their brain active and healthy.

Imagine if someone woke you up every time you had a dream, you’d probably feel very sleepy and grumpy the next day! There’s a saying ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ for a reason, so try to let them be.

When you need to wake them

Although we enjoy the peace and quiet, sometimes we need to wake up our dreaming dog. Maybe we have guests coming who will disturb our pooches by knocking at the door, or perhaps we need to vacuum around our dog’s bed.

In these situations, waking your dog gently is much better than allowing them to be shocked awake by strangers or a loud noise.

Here’s some tips for carefully waking your sleeping puppy:

1. No touching

Touching your pet to wake them could be harmful for you. A sleepy dog may not realise he’s awake and snap if you touch them too suddenly.

2. Soothing words

Always use your voice to quietly and gently coax your pup from a nightmare. Soothe your puppy by quietly saying their name, call out too loud and they’ll be shocked and disoriented.

3. Familiar smells

When waking a dreaming dog, provide them with their favourite toy or an old piece of clothing that smells like you. This will reassure them and make them feel relaxed as they return to their dreaming.

Remember that our beloved dogs need at least 16 hours of sleep per day. Use these tips to help your puppy get quality sleep, making for quality playtime when they are awake!

A dog who sleeps well has more energy to play! Need some new toys? We have a range of quality toys available for dogs of all ages and sizes. Give us a call on 09 488 2227, or pop into our store to speak to a Nose to Tail professional!