It’s easy to surmise that, when our dogs start that adorable paw twitching or making sweet suckling sounds during sleep, they’re either chasing squirrels or reverted to their puppyhoods in slumber.
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Whether that’s actually true is up for debate. But a Harvard psychologist and sleep expert says not only is that assumption probably correct, but that our beloved canine companions probably spend the majority of their zzzzz time dreaming about us!
Dogs’ sleep patterns closely match humans’, with dreams occurring in both species during the stage known as REM, or rapid eye movement. And just as humans dream about day-to-day events and previous experiences, their canine companions likely do the same.
“There’s no reason to think animals are any different,”said Dr. Deirdre Barrett, a teacher and a clinical and evolutionary psychologist at Harvard Medical School. “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.â€
Since we can’t exactly get into a dog’s head, we can only make our best guesses as to their states of mind — especially during sleep — based on visual and auditory cues. Twitching, kicking and soft sounds are all signs of a pleasant dream, while growls, cries and similar sounds indicate more of a nightmare scenario.
So how can we help ensure our treasured canine companions have the former?
“The best way to give ourselves or our children better dreams is to have happy daytime experiences and to get plenty of sleep in a safe and comfortable environment,”Barrett said. “It’s a good bet this is also best for pets’ dreams.â€
Be sure to give your dog something pleasant to dream about today, and share to warm hearts!
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