ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Can dogs have nightmares?

Updated on June 29, 2010

Have you ever wondered if dogs have nightmares? Studies conducted on canine behavior have shown that human’s best friends, just like us humans can dream. It is therefore inevitable that dogs just like us, would have nightmares too. A doting dog owner that can hardly take the eyes off the beloved pooch will be upset to see the pet twitching, whimpering, kicking and practically freaking out while asleep. Although a nightmare is not as worse as night terror, the pet owner would still feel helpless to see the agitated sleeping pet.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Dog dreams and nightmares

A soundly sleeping dog would suddenly wag the tail, twitch the feet as if running and make muffled whimpers. After barking softly, the dog would settle down as if nothing happens. It is certainly amusing to see a dreaming dog. Can Fido be chasing butterflies or tormenting the neighbor’s cat? No one would know what goes on inside a dog’s mind. However, dog experts tell us that when a dog dreams, the pet’s brain is processing what the dog has experienced.  A nightmare can be a pleasant dream gone badly. It can also be a bad dream that typically induces a strong emotional response such as fear and/or terror from the sleeping pet. Nightmares can be considered as sleeping disorders as it disrupts the sleep of the dog and at times the sleep of the dog owner as well.

Why do dogs have nightmares?

As mentioned, no one would know what goes on inside the mind of a dog. It is also not known why nightmares occur. In humans, nightmare can be associated with a traumatic experience. It is therefore possible for an abused dog to have nightmares.

When does a dog’s nightmare occur?

Commonly, a dog would have nightmares late at night or early in the morning when the dog is already sleeping deeply and would not be awakened easily. Sleep has two stages – the non-rapid eye movement stage (NREM) and the rapid eye movement stage (REM). Dreams and nightmares occur in the REM stage.

How to handle the dog’s nightmares

Dreaming dogs are kind of amusing to watch. Pet owners would commonly let the dog sleep. Although it would be rather hard to tell a dream and a nightmare apart, a telltale sign of a nightmare is the dog’s agitation. The dog would appear to be very scared. A dog with a nightmare would be hard to wake up. An owner has to wake the dog to end the nightmare. Soothe the fear of the dog by talking in a soft voice. Gentle patting will reassure the pet of your presence.

Nightmares cannot be prevented but its recurrence can be handled. Studies have shown that very young dogs and dogs advanced in age have the tendency to have nightmares as compared to middle aged dogs. Recurrence of bad dreams in young children can be prevented by providing a night light. A stuff toy or a doll will serve as the kid’s sleeping companion. Do you think this will work for your pet too? Why don’t you give it a try?

Dog Nightmare and Panics

Puppy having a nightmare


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Dogs can have nightmares because my dogs make siron sounds when they are sleeping beacause they are having bad dreams (nightmares)so yes they do have nightmares while sleeping


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)