Should I Wake My Dog Up From A Nightmare?

We have all seen it before. Our dog is sound asleep and starts shaking, growling and making noises like they are experiencing a terrible dog nightmare. In this article, I will share some research that Lisa put together for us specifically around waking a dog from a nightmare. You can read more about dog dreams in her other article.

Let’s discuss waking up a dog from a nightmare

Should I Wake My Dog Up From A Nightmare?

You should NOT wake your dog up from a nightmare. It can be hard to see your dog squeal and squirm during a dream, but you should not wake your dog up.

As with humans there are risks associated with waking a dog up from a doggy nightmare.

Children especially should be taught these risks, as wells as, the best course of action to take, to keep everyone safe.  Countless experts agree you should let a sleeping dog lie and dream.

Ensuring your dog gets a significant amount of sleep is vital for their health and happiness. It is important to note your dog, as you, requires uninterrupted sleep for health of mind and body.

Experts recommend providing your best friend, a quiet, comfortable area to rest without distractions. Dreaming is a healthy, normal occurrence experienced during a regular 24-hour cycle of wakefulness and sleep.

Often a pet owner will see their dog in what appears to be a fitful dream, the dog could be whimpering, or appear to be running in its sleep. It is during this time you may be tempted to awaken your pet in fear they may be in danger.

With a better understanding of the brain, it is found the body has a built-in mechanism for most people, and dogs, to keep them from acting upon these dreams.

Human and dog brains include a safety feature: the pons.

The pons is the portion of the brain which keeps humans and dogs from physically acting out dreams.

Like his owner, a dog will relive the details of his busy day. He may experience sleep run as he fetches a ball, chasing a cat, or happily running with his owner.

If our brains, and our dogs’ brain did not have the pons, we might act out everything we dreamed about, often with disastrous results. However, if you feel your dog is experiencing a violent nightmare, there are a few suggestions to help your best friend awake in a friendly manner.

  • Speak softly to your dog using your voice and not yelling or clapping your hands to get your dog to wake up. If your dog was experiencing a vivid dream, waking them up abruptly will leave your dog disoriented, confused or possibly aggressive as they may not yet recognize they are awake.
  • When your dog is fully awake comfort them with love and attention letting them know you are there and everything is ok.

To help our dog fall back to a restful sleep, give them a familiar toy, t-shirt with your scent, or favorite blanket, to help them drift back to a peaceful sleep.

To read even more about dog dreams, dog sleeping positions, and how dog dreams compare to human dreams, be sure to check out Lisa’s other article titled: Do Dogs Dream Like Humans?

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