When dogs snuggle in for some shut-eye, they sometimes enter the dream world. Turns out, in this respect, your dog is a lot like you: When they drift off, dogs cycle through stages of wakefulness, rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep, according to research published in 1977 in the journal Physiology & Behavior.
In that study, scientists recorded activity in the brains of six pointer dogs. They found that the canines spent 12 percent of their time in REM sleep and 23 percent of their time in the deepest stage of non-REM sleep, called slow-wave sleep. For people, the most memorable dreams occur during REM sleep. Watch your dog the next time they are sleeping. Do they kick, bark or whimper? Chances are they are dreaming.
"What we've basically found is that dogs dream doggy things," Stanley Coren, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia and the author of "Do Dogs Dream? Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know" (W. W. & Norton Co., 2012). "So, pointers will point at dream birds, and Dobermans will chase dream burglars. The dream pattern in dogs seems to be very similar to the dream pattern in humans," Coren told Live Science in February 2016. Coren also found that tiny dogs likely have shorter, but more frequent, dreams than larger dogs.