Research has proven that dogs and humans sleep very similarly, with the same sleep cycles, including REM sleep. We know this due to the research that has compared brainwaves of a sleeping dog to the brainwaves of a sleeping human. Therefore, it’s a pretty reasonable assumption that dogs do have dreams.
However, while we do know that they dream, we’re not exactly sure what they are dreaming about. After all, we can’t really ask them. Typically, human dreams are reflective of what we’ve dealt with while we were awake. This leads us to believe that since their sleeping patterns are much like ours, dogs are the same.
Have you ever heard/seen your dog while he is sleeping? The whimpers you are hearing could be reflective of his barking at the delivery man that stopped by. If you notice that his paws are twitching, he could be dreaming about running around in the dog park. While the body is naturally paralyzed during sleep- just as with humans- which keeps the dog from actually running or barking, we can observe small signs that give us clues to what he might be dreaming about.
There is some research that backs up this theory. One study featured in Psychology Today, showed testing done on rats while they were asleep. During the day, the rats were put through mazes while their brain activity was tracked. At night, while they were asleep, their brains were still monitored- and it showed the exact activity that the brain did while they ran through the mazes. This strongly suggests that the rats were reliving their conscious lives while dreaming. The brain activity of dogs is higher than that of rats, therefore, if rats are dreaming- so can dogs.
Can Dogs Experience Nightmares?
No one can be sure whether or not dogs experience nightmares- but it’s pretty clear that if they do experience something that scares them, it may carry over to their dreams as well. If you believe that your dog may be having a nightmare, you must avoid waking them up. Dreams occur during the REM phase of sleep, which is when they are getting the most rest. If you wake him up, it will most likely cause him to be confused and keep him from getting the sleep that he needs. If you notice that your dog seems to be having distressing dreams on a regular basis, you may want to consider speaking with your vet for some solutions.
If you have ever thought that your dog experiences vivid dreams, chances are that you’re most likely right. Dogs do have dreams and it most likely reflects the things they experienced throughout the day. So, next time you notice that your dog seems to be dreaming, consider what he did that day to try to figure out the subject of his dreams.
We know that dogs dream- science has proven that their brain activity is much like ours. Chances are that your dog is dreaming about his adventures from the day. Sit back and let him get the sleep he needs.
Why Do Cats Knead?
If you have a contented feline lap warmer, you’ve no doubt been the beneficiary of the bonus kitty massage known as “kneading.” It’s as though your cat is practicing to bake bread. The way she rhythmically alternates her paws, pushing in and out against your lap, you’d imagine she’d actually be good at it too… until you think about biting into a bread slice full of cat hair. 😉
Since she’s obviously not baking bread (at least not while you’re home), why does your cat feel the need to knead? If you’ve ever wondered this, you’re not alone. In fact, lots of people who study cat behavior have asked this same question. And they’ve come up with a number of interesting theories.
1. THE LOVING TOUCH
Think about when your cat is most likely to knead. You’re probably petting her. She’s likely purring. Loudly. She might even drool a bit (although she’d never admit to it). Obviously she’s very content, and feeling the love. So kneading might be her way of helping you feel it too.
Unfortunately, that feeling might be more painful than pleasant for you… especially if she’s REALLY happy. Because the better she feels, the harder she’s likely to knead – and if her nails are long, you’ll know it. To avoid that feeling, cover your lap with a blanket or pillow before she perches.
Or better yet, keep those claws trimmed. Take a look at this quick, informative video to learn how.
2. MAKING THE BED
Another kneading theory traces its roots to our domestic cats’ wild ancestors, who would knead grass to create a soft sleeping spot – sort of like the circling dogs do before they settle in. So if your cat is kneading your lap, sit back and relax… because that’s likely what she’s preparing to do.
3. KITTENHOOD MEMORIES
A third theory looks to more recent history, specifically, your cat’s infancy. Cats actually start to knead instinctually as kittens, when they are nursing, to help stimulate their mothers’ milk. While your cat might be past nursing age, she might still enjoy that comforting, “food-is-love” feeling she associates with kneading.
4. THIS ONE’S MINE
Kneading might also be your cat’s way of actually “claiming” you. In other words, you’re not just being kneaded; you’re being marked – by the scent glands on the soft pads on the bottoms of their paws. Think of it as her way of showing she cares… enough to tell the rest of the feline world to keep their paws off you.
Scent glands on their paws? Cats are amazing. Check out “Fascinating facts: Cat anatomy” to learn more.
5. STAYING LOOSE
Finally, a kneading cat might just be a stretching cat. With so much power napping filling her day, your cat needs to take a break now and then to stay limber… at least until her next scheduled snooze.
At the end of the day, an explanation for why cats knead may not be as straightforward as you’d expect. Then again, these are the kinds of mysteries that hopefully make you love your cat even more. Sometimes the best things are hard to explain. And when the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies, don’t you want somebody to love? Don’t you need somebody to love? Wouldn’t you love somebody to knead? You better find somebody to knead.
Give your cats the gift of entertainment: