When you’re a dog owner, sooner or later, your furry friend is going to start barking in the middle of the night and likely wake you and everyone else in your house. Late-night barking causes most owners to see if a person or other animals are on their property. Before you begin to worry that there may be something wrong with your dog, there’s usually no cause for alarm. Some people talk in their sleep, but why do dogs bark in their sleep?
Dogs That Bark In their Sleep
Many people talk in their sleep, and a dog barking in his sleep is believed to do so for the same reason, they’re dreaming. Scientific studies on sleep cycles are similar in humans and animals. It’s not a surprise that part of the time dogs spend sleeping is during a dream cycle.
Scientists haven’t determined why humans dream, so we can’t answer the question about why a dog dreams either. Various theories will be under discussion until science can unravel the mystery. One view is that dogs may be trying to process events they went through the previous day. Another popular theory is that the dog may be reliving memories of past experiences.
One of the unique features of dog sleep cycles is that dogs have a tendency to use all their senses when they dream. When your dogs sleep on their side, you may see the legs moving as if they were running. Some dogs will bark, growl, or whine during the sleep cycle. None of these actions is anything to be concerned about; it’s all part of the canine sleep cycle.
What To Do If Your Dog Barks In His Sleep
Many dog owners may worry and think they have to do something if their dog barks during a sleep cycle. Their first thought may be whether to call the vet. The answer to this question is no. Vocalizing and movement during sleep is normal and not anything to worry about. Your dog may seem stressed or scared, but it’s all part of the sleep cycle and will pass.
Being overly concerned and waking your dog when it makes a noise or moves as if it’s chasing something could cause it to develop a sleep disorder, requiring treatment by your veterinarian. When your dog is barking or moving a lot in its sleep, suddenly waking, it may cause confusion or grogginess. Your dog may not be able to get back to sleep, and you could both have a long night.
What If Your Dog’s Barking Is Annoying?
Some dog owners don’t worry about their dog’s emotional or physical health when they bark in their sleep but want the noise to stop. A dog owner on an early morning schedule may just want to get to sleep. If your dog barks in its sleep, the best approach is to wait for the dream cycle to end. Giving your dog medication to get it to go back to sleep or letting it wear a bark collar to stop barking when sleeping isn’t recommended unless your veterinarian approves it. The only kind of medication that a vet will prescribe is usually is strong and for dogs that experience stress during thunderstorms, fireworks, or when going on trips. You shouldn’t give your dog any kind of human medication unless it’s under the strict supervision of a veterinarian. These medications aren’t designed to be absorbed in a dog’s body.
Rather than attempting to keep your dog from barking, you might try a different approach to the problem. Put your dog’s bed or dog crate farther away from where family members sleep. You can try putting a blanket over your pup. You might try using white noise or one of the online channels that feature music for dogs. Some channels have music for dogs to sleep or to relieve anxiety and work well to calm a dog.
Is Snoring Something To Worry About?
Some of the noise coming from your dog at night might not be from barking. Some dogs snore. A snoring dog can be as loud as a human and every bit as disturbing. Snoring in humans and dogs occurs for the same reasons. A few breeds are more likely to snore than other dogs. When a dog snores it’s an issue that you should discuss with your veterinarian. Occasional snoring isn’t usually a cause for concern. However, if your dog snores every night, it may be having breathing issues, and a visit to the vet is in order. Your dog might be snoring due to its physiology, but it’s best to have it checked out and be safe .
Should You Worry If Your Dog Doesn’t Sleep?
When your dog starts barking late at night, the first thing to do is check to see if your pup is actually asleep. There’s a significant difference between a dog that’s barking because it’s in a dream cycle and one that’s awake barking at every sound in the neighborhood. When you know what the situation is, you’ll learn how to handle it. If your dog is barking because it hears noises outside, there are ways to stop the behavior.
Insomnia isn’t a condition that canines are prone to experiencing. A variety of health reasons can keep a dog up at night. It’s a good idea to schedule a visit to your vet to find out what’s keeping your pup awake at night. If the cause of your dog’s insomnia is health-related, the vet will discuss treatment options and prescribe medications your pup needs.
One of the reasons a dog may be staying awake all night is that it sleeps most of the day. When a dog doesn’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation, it may get bored and sleep the day away. When it’s time to go to sleep at night, the dog may have excess energy it didn’t use during the day. An average dog will usually sleep about 12 hours a day. The sleep cycle should be broken up with physical activity and playtime so the pup is ready for sleep at night.
Another good suggestion if your dog isn’t sleeping at night is to consider where your dog sleeps. Sometimes you can resolve the problem with a new, comfortable dog bed. A dog’s bed can be like a mattress and may need replacing after a few years. Dogs love to have a den in which to sleep or relax. You might consider a comfortable soft-sided dog crate. Some dog owners use a traditional crate constructed of wire and plastic. Learn how to keep a dog warm in the crate by using crate covers, mattresses, and bumpers to fit the crate can keep dogs comfy at night. You might choose one of the new crates that resembles furniture and can double as a table or bookcase. The top of the crate can be for storing toys and treats.
1. What does it mean when a dog is barking in its sleep?
When a dog barks in its sleep most people believe it’s dreaming about a previous experience. A dog could be dreaming about almost anything including chasing a neighbor’s cat or a squirrel. The dog could be dreaming about a mail carrier or delivery person at the front door of their home. Many dogs seem to think that barking makes the person go away if they see them as an intruder. Since a dog doesn’t have the ability to share its dreams with us, it’s hard to tell.
2. Should I wake my dog up if he is barking in his sleep?
It can be upsetting for a dog owner to suddenly have their pup barking in the middle of the night. An owner may rush to their dog thinking it hears a noise outside that should be investigated. However, it’s quite common for a dog to bark in its sleep. A dog that barks when it’s sleeping is similar to a human that talks in its sleep. The reason for the barking could be a reaction to an event of the past day or something that happened weeks or months ago. Whatever the reason, if your dog is barking in its sleep it’s best to let the sleep cycle play out. If you rouse your dog while it’s dreaming it may be difficult for it to go back to sleep. A dog that’s awakened when it’s having a dream may be groggy and have its schedule disrupted.
3. What do dogs dream about when they sleep?
Animal behaviorists understand the extent of the canine memory, no one really understands how dogs dream or what they dream about. Some dogs dream more than others and the dog’s size plays a role. Studies indicate that small dogs and puppies have faster, more frequent dreams. These dogs dream approximately every 10 minutes, for about 60 seconds. Larger breed dogs have dreams that last five minutes or more with about an hour or more of sleep time in between dreams.
If your dog barks in its sleep it could be that it could be dreaming about what it did that day or about past events. Dogs may even dream about things that haven’t been real experiences. On a structural level, a dog’s brain is similar to a human brain since brain activity and brain waves are similar during sleep. Scientists know that dogs experience rapid eye movement sequences like humans when they dream. Dogs also experience several sleep stages like humans.
4. How do I know if my dog is having a nightmare?
If your dog is whining or twitching in his sleep it’s a good indication that he’s dreaming. If you don’t think you’ll startle your dog you can try to gently wake him by speaking his name softly. However, if your dog is showing aggressive behavior or growling when he’s dreaming, it’s best to let him sleep. You may observe his behavior or gently call his name. Once the dog is fully awake spend some time comforting your pup. If your dog is moving its legs or making noises like it’s exciting, the chances are it’s having a good dream about playing in the yard or dreaming about eating their dinner. You’re the best judge of your dog’s behavior and can usually tell if their dreams are happy or they’re having a nightmare and feeling stress or anxiety.