Researchers say canines have similar sleep patterns to their owners – and it’s easy to spot as they twitch, run and whimper. We’re 95 percent identical genetically and physically to the canines, says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, professor of behavioral pharmacology and animal behavior. So naturally our brains are similar, our neurochemistry the same, and our reflexes and memory are ‘wired’ in like manner.
Dogs dream about real life events, chasing birds, robbers and cars
- These animals usually dream for 2 to 3 minutes at a time
- Size and age affect how often and long dogs dream and time in REM
Experts say the ‘basic marker that indicates dreaming’ in humans is the motion of rapid eye movement (REM), which is when an individual’s eyes begin moving around inside their closed eyelids.And researchers confirm that dogs experience the same thing.
Studies have shown that how much and how long a dog dreams depends on its size.
‘It turns out that small dogs dream more frequently and have shorter dreams and larger dogs dream less but have longer dreams’, said Coren. Also, the age of a dog determines on how much time they spend in REM.
‘Puppies spend a much greater proportion of their sleep time than adult dogs in REM sleep, no doubt condensing huge quantities of newly acquired data,’ says Dodman.
In human brains, there is a mechanism that keeps our muscles from moving while we sleep.However, when the switch is weak REM sleep behavior disorder can develop and individuals will act out their dreams while they are still asleep.
‘The same thing goes with dogs if their switch doesn’t work that well you will see the dog running or snapping at something,’ says Coren.
Coren explains it is possible to control these off switches in a lab because researchers have pinpointed it in the old part of the brain — the medulla oblongata.By inactivating these switches in the lab, scientists have been able to observe canines act out their dreams and decipher what they believe the dogs are dreaming of, he explains.
‘In support of this is the fact that the same brain structures involved in memory are intimately involved in dreaming.’There have been other dream studies performed on other mammals to understand if it is all mammals or just dogs that dream.’We have reason to suspect that most mammals dream,’ says Coren.
‘Cats dream, horses dream, but the nature of their dreams and cycles depend on the species.
The most important thing about the fact dogs dream is that it demonstrates that not only is the dog’s brains somewhat structurally similar to the way human brain works, it probably functions the same way –just a primitive human brain,’ says Coren.
Source – Dailymail