We’ve all experienced that moment—cozying up on the sofa for a peaceful evening when suddenly, your dog breaks the silence with a surprising bark or growl, seemingly fast asleep.
It leaves us puzzled and possibly concerned: Why do dogs bark during their sleep? This article will delve into the science and psychology behind this phenomenon, offering five comprehensive explanations.
Let’s dive in!
The Science of How Dogs Sleep
It’s crucial to grasp the canine sleep cycle to understand better why dogs bark during sleep. Like humans, dogs experience different stages of sleep—initial relaxation, non-REM sleep, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
Non-REM sleep is restorative when the body repairs cells, builds muscle and strengthens bones. REM sleep, on the other hand, is when most dreaming occurs.
Dogs fluctuate between non-REM and REM sleep throughout their slumber, and each breed has its unique sleep pattern. For instance, smaller breeds cycle more rapidly between non-REM and REM sleep, causing them to dream—and potentially bark—more frequently. But what exactly are dogs dreaming about that prompts them to vocalize?
5 Factors Explaining Why Dogs Bark When Sleeping
1) Dreaming of Daily Activities
Just as we dream about our lives, dogs dream about theirs. They might dream about chasing squirrels in the backyard, playing fetch, or engaging in play-fights with other dogs. These dreams can get pretty vivid and may lead to barks, growls, or even whimpers during sleep.
2) Emotional Residue
Sleep serves as a sort of “emotional laundry” for dogs. Any unprocessed emotions or stress from the day can manifest in a dog’s dreams, leading to various vocalizations. A dog with an anxious day may very well have restless dreams, while a dog that experienced joy and excitement might have more playful dreams.