Do Dogs Have Nightmares? Yes! Here Is What To Do

Much research has suggested that dogs have the capacity to have dreams. As a matter of fact, the process is not all that different from human beings. However, if you have ever possessed a pooch, you don’t need any study or scientific proof to tell you that.

It is very likely that you have seen your pooch make strange muffled noises and twitch in his sleep. You may even have wondered if your dog was dreaming about chasing a rabbit or a squirrel. But what if there is the scenario that the squirrel is chasing your dog?

The fact that dogs have dreams comes with the possibility that they have nightmares too. However, you cannot tell for sure without a canine mind. Moreover, the signals are certainly there for particular dogs at certain times.

The signs include intense twitching, whining, fearful or startled behavior when they wake up and many more. It’s not rocket science that if you find this signs on your dog, it is indeed experiencing a nightmare. A more interesting question than do dogs have nightmares is what do dogs have nightmares about?

There is some basis for speculation, but it is also possible to articulate facts.

Your Dog’s Nightmare Scenarios

Human beings have nightmares about things that they are frightened of, and so it would be entirely reasonable to assume that dogs too have bad dreams about things that they fear or out of bad experiences. The difference between dogs and people is that humans have a higher imagination capacity of lots of possible and even impossible scenarios.

Canines are never so good at visualizing possibilities or anticipating the future, and so it is very likely that their dreams are intimately tied to experiences in the past.

What sought of memories does your dog have? In most cases, it is the short term variety. A study of animal brain using rodents showed that they tended to dream about whatever activity they were doing while awake in the recent past.

The same case is very likely to occur with your dog. In other words, the impetus that triggers nightmares for most canines is likely to be a recent activity; toenail clipping, an altercation with another animal, a trip to the vet or any other undertaking that created a very big impression on the negative side.

That being said, your pooch has long-term memories including trips to the vet that happened long ago.

They recall that the vet's place is not a right place every time you are in the parking lot. Just like in human beings, experiences and memories involving traumatic events or abuse probably stick with dogs for a very long time. It is not exaggerated to say that a long-held unpleasant memory could be the cause of your dog’s nightmares.

Common Signs That Your Dog Is Having A Nightmare

If your pooch appears disturbed, is growling or screaming, you can assume that he is having a bad dream or a nightmare. It is advisable to wake him up if you feel that he is experiencing the trauma of a nightmare.

However, the only recommended way to wake your dog is through your voice.

You could be putting yourself in a dangerous situation by waking him up through contact such as touching. Canines that have been woken up amid nightmares have been known to bite and growl. Moreover, you should also make a quick appointment to see a vet if your dog is defecating or urinating after a particular bad dream or nightmare.

After a seizure, dogs will typically lose their function to eliminate appropriately. Night seizure and terrors can sometimes look very similar.

It is advisable to take a video of your dog’s episode and take it to your vet to be on the safe side. Use a natural anti-anxiety supplement like calm shen or composure if, in fact, your pooch is having violent dreams frequently. If your pooch responds to this therapy, you will find it to be a very simple solution to solve your dog’s nightmares.

What To Do If Your Dog Has A Bad Dream?

“Let sleeping dog lie,” experts say even if your dog seems to have a whopper of a nightmare. If your canine is ripped off from a bad dream to a normal state of wakefulness, he will be disoriented and confused while at the same time stay connected to their vision in their head. Your pooch can snap anytime he is woken up from a deep nap.

Slowly Wake Him Up

A dog is much more likely to attack and bite if he’s awoken from a bad dream or a nightmare. You should slowly call the name of your dog if you are attempting to wake it up. If that doesn’t seem to work, try speaking louder progressively until your pooch wakes up. The tip of the iceberg is to wake your dog up if at all possible without startling.

Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP)

Also, you will disrupt your dog’s regular sleeping pattern by waking him up which is never a good idea. Consider using a dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) diffuser or collar in the area around where your pooch sleeps. This goes a long way to instill a general sense of peace and comfort before he goes to sleep.

Soothing Music

You may also want take into consideration leaving the sound of your radio or TV on or play some soft and soothing music to help your canine redirect their bad dreams to more positive thoughts, relax and feel comfortable. When your dog is having a nightmare, do not sit or stand too close to avoid a possible scenario where they may lash out, attack or bite.

Be Around Your Dog

However, it is paramount that you stay in the same room so that when your pooch wakes up, they can come around to see and hear you as well seek comfort from the ordeal.

When your pooch haves you immediately after they wake up from a bad dream gives them a form of reassurance that everything is alright. Although nightmares can be a scary experience for both you and your dog, they shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

However, you shouldn’t hesitate to call a vet if your pooch is acting abnormally stressed to the point where you are frightened or concerned.


It should never be a cause of worry when your dog has occasional nightmares. Your pooch will wake up and forget that it all happened just like when you wake up from an occasional bad dream.

Speaking to them in a soothing voice will help them get through it, and not startling them awake.Create new and wonderful memories during the day to erase bad memories in the past is always the fun part. If your pooch suffers from disrupted sleep, you can assist him by creating a soothing environment for sleeping. You can do the following:

  • Provide your pooch with a comfortable and secure sleeping spot.
  • Play quiet and soothing music to relax him.
  • ​If your dogs has occasional nightmares, ensure that they always have a good rest.
  • ​Try using a pressure wrap to deal with your dog’s anxiety such as the famous ThunderShirt.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this article, leave it in the comments section. Don’t be forget to share this article with your friends and family if you’ve found it useful.

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