We all know our pets get more sleep than we do. Cats average between 12 and 18 hours a day, while pooches have a little less with 12 and 14 hours. With all that time snooze time, you might wonder…
Do pets dream?
The resounding answer is YES!
Even though your pet can’t tell you about their dreams or record them in a diary, scientists agree, pets do dream. Like us, dreaming occurs during REM sleep. For humans, reaching an REM state takes around 90mins after falling asleep. Our furry friends on the other hand can be in REM sleep within 20 mins from curling up in their favourite corner. Then its dream time!
What do pets dream about?
It's unlikely we’ll ever know the exact details of our pets' dreams, but researchers believe pet dreams, like our dreams, are the way pets process, record and learn from their life experiences. Your pet may dream about playing catch or chasing birds, and if you spend lots of time with your pet, then yes, they are probably dreaming about YOU!
Fun facts about Pet Dreams:
Some dogs dream more than others and small dogs and puppies dream the most! Puppies of course are more curious, and taking in new information much faster than older more experienced dogs. They also tire more easily and spend more time sleeping, More time sleeping = more time dreaming!
Big Pets Dream Big!
REM cycles vary depending on your pet's size, and their dream lengths vary accordingly. Large dogs are said to have less dreams, but much longer dreams. Small dogs and cats will have more dreams in total, but they may only last a minute for every 10 minutes of sleep.
Some pets have no dreams at all!
All mammals experience REM sleep and are therefore likely to experience dreams. Reptiles however, do not reach this deep state of sleep, so they miss out on dreamland!
How to tell if your pet is dreaming:
If you watch your pet while they sleep, you might notice some of the actions below. If these are happening, it's a good sign they're in La La land...
· Body or whiskers twitching
· Eyes moving under lids
· A change to more rapid breathing
· Jerky muscle movements
· Paws moving as though playing out movement in life
If you notice some of this going on, don’t disturb them – they could be having the sweetest of dreams!
Which leads us into the next question: Do pets have nightmares?
The general consensus is that yes, some pets might have nightmares sometimes. Because pets are processing lived experiences, experts believe pets who have experienced trauma or abandonment are likely to experience nightmares more than happy, comfortable well cared for animals would.
That said, fur babies still come across things in the big bad world that can frighten them and this might show up in their dream states.
If your pet is having a nightmare, they might whimper or cry in their sleep. You may notice this more in young pups, kittens and smaller dogs, perhaps because new experiences can be more scary at first!
How to make sure your pet gets a good night’s sleep…
Just like us, if your pet feels secure, safe, and comfortable, they are much more likely to let go and relax to find good sleep. Temperature is also important for helping your pet's sleep; not too hot in Summer, cosy and warm when it’s cold. That’s why pets love Pet Mat so much Winter!
I bet they’re dreaming of one right now!