Why Dogs Bark In Their Sleep? What Worries You? And What To Do About It?

Do you see your canine friend being vocal while he is sleeping and perhaps even moving? Many are times you contemplate that he has awoken, but after you investigate further, you find out that they are fast asleep. It can be worrisome and even confusing at times, to observe your dog growl, bark, whimper and even twitch while they nap.

It goes without saying that it has never been an extraordinary phenomenon for you. Despite the fact that all dogs do this, it will stop being worrisome or even confusing when you know why dogs bark in their sleep. The reasons behind your dog are absorbing, and we will look at them in this article.


Just like humans dream, dogs too experience it during their sleep which is the main reason why your dog barks in his sleep. Dogs experience a dream stage in their sleep cycle every time they have a nap just like humans.

By merely looking at their eyes, you can tell when your pet is slipping through that stage. During a stage known as rapid eye movement (REM) is when the dreaming occurs in your dog.

You will notice that your dog’s eyelids twitch rapidly as his eyes move beneath them during this stage. It is very likely that when your dog is going through this juncture, he is likely to bark or make other noises such as whimpering or growling.

What Dogs Dream About?

Because dogs are not able to tell us what they have seen or felt during their sleep, we will probably never be able to tell what dogs dream about with any degree of certainty. However, we can guess that the dreams of your dog are related to the activities that they are involved in during the day from what we know about dreaming in human beings.

There is the probability that your dog is relieving a memory of a situation that made him growl or bark in real life or he is dreaming about a particular situation that could arise. For humans and animals, dreaming is a compelling way to process their experiences and learn from them.

Is It Proper For You To Awaken Your Dog When He Is Barking In His Sleep?

The answer which is often given by experts to this question is NO. You can never be confident that your dog is having a nightmare just because he is barking. There is the likelihood that he could be excited about playing with a new toy or chasing some particular prey.

Waking your dog up even in the cases that he is having a nightmare could be more frightening than just allowing the dream to continue. It can be very disorienting and shocking for your dog when you wake him up in the middle of a REM sleep and it’s advisable to leave him alone.

The fact that your dog needs all the rest he can get is another reason to leave your dog asleep. During the day, your dog’s body and brain are usually very active as they run around and take on new experiences.

Therefore, for your canine to recharge his batteries, it is paramount to allow him enough sleep so he can stay mentally and physically healthy.

Your dog will not get the maximum benefit from his sleep if you wake him up in the middle of his sleep cycle which might make it difficult for him to drift again. Until he wakes up naturally, it is critical to let your dog be. Sometimes your dog may be a nuisance if he barks at night, but it is very paramount to let him be.

It would be advisable to move your dog’s bed far away from your bedroom if he is disturbing your sleep. It is also important to check if your dog is sleeping while he barks at night. It might be that he is trying to capture your attention rather than dreaming.

He could be lonely, too cold, too hot, thirsty, hungry, restless or just bored.

Circumstances That Should Get You Worried

There is no reason in most cases to worry when your dog growls or barks during his sleep. Sometimes you may want to wake your dog up if he seems to be acting extremely out of the ordinary or under an enormous amount of distress so you can ensure that they are safe. It might not be a regular occurrence when your dog seems to be under physical pain while they are sleeping.

Rapid breathing sounds are displaying high levels of pain, uncontrolled convulsions or any other sign that would be considered bad health while the dog was awake. You will want to wake your dog up if he shows any of these signs and call an emergency for assistance.

However, you should note that your dog will most likely be experiencing a nightmare if they seem to be going through emotional stress. You should be very careful if you intend to wake them up. Your dog, just like human beings, may not immediately wake up and there is the risk that he might bite you without actually intending to.

Try to wake your dog up with your voice rather than your hand to minimize the risk of being bitten.

What If He’s Not Dreaming?

Make sure that your dog has access to fresh drinking water and that his sleeping environment is comfortable when you find out that your dog is in fact not dreaming at night but calling you out. Moreover, to get him to sleep more easily, you can exercise him during the day and give him more attention.


It is a normal behavior for dogs to bark while they are sleeping. Don’t panic and wake your pooch when you hear him dreaming loudly. It does not necessarily mean that your dog is unhappy when he barks while dreaming.

It could only mean that your canine is dreaming about exploring a new park or even chasing a rabbit. The following are ways you can help your dog sleep calmly:

  • Ensure that he gets lots of playtime during the day.
  • Give him lots of attention and affection.
  • Make his sleeping environment as comfortable as possible.
  • Ensure he has all the necessities such as clean drinking water and enough food.

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