Those mournful wails and yips let loose by our sleeping dogs tug on our heartstrings so hard that it can be impossible to resist waking our dreaming pets. The same goes for when their four legs get to moving and we wonder if they are happily bounding after squirrels or if something big and scary might be chasing them. Even the heavy-duty doggie snoring sometimes sounds like it can’t be a good thing. But should we wake our dogs up from a dream?
The hardline answer is: Probably not. Dogs dream and sleep much like humans, with similar REM patterns. Although most dogs sleep 14 to 16 hours a day, they still need some of the deep, uninterrupted sleep we do. So, if you have a dog that seems to dream a lot, constantly waking your pup may be unhealthy for him.
But…what if you just can’t help yourself?
The aforementioned mournful wailing and heartstrings being tugged upon pretty much guarantee that we’re going to awaken our pet anyway. At least I do—even though I know better—when my Wuppy sounds so sad and lonesome that tears spring to my eyes and I just want to hug his crying away. Which is exactly what not to do, at least not until your dog is fully awake.
No matter how loyal, well-trained and loving your pet is, awakening them by contact can get you snarled at or even bit. Remember that you are bringing your dog back from a dream state, where the dream is reality. One of our other dogs, Dusty, is a sweetheart, but it is extremely hard for him to assess his surroundings quickly if he is startled awake. He needs a minute to go from growling to his normal happy.
Some dog breeds, both purebred and mixed breeds, that have shorter, pushed in noses have a tendency to snore. Most of us don’t pay a lot of attention to our dog when he’s lying at our feet snoring up a storm. In fact, we’ve probably gotten so used to hearing them snore that we don’t even notice it. However, if your dog does snore, it may be an indication there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
A sight that always brings a smile to the face of a dog or cat owner is watching their pet while they’re sleeping. The jury is still out as to whether or not pets dream, but watching your dog’s legs move as if he’s running or a cat’s twitching whiskers would make a case that they do. Some of my dogs let out cute little yaps every now and then in their sleep, and I had one dog that would howl in her sleep.
Dogs are more apt to snore than cats, and share a similar sleep pattern with humans. They also go into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep just like we do. The fact that dogs can fall into a deep sleep shows how much they trust their owner. When they are relaxed and feel comfortable around the ones they love, they don’t feel threatened and are more likely to fall into a deep peaceful sleep at your feet, by your side on the couch or snuggled next to you in bed.
Cats, on the other hand, are always on guard even during deep sleep. Their senses are always paying attention to what’s going on around them and unlike a dog, can be awakened from a deep sleep and be fully alert in seconds to everything that’s happening around them. A dog in deep sleep wakes up confused and disorientated just like we do. It takes them a minute to get their bearings.
Do you live with a snorer? No, I’m not talking about the two legged variety that may live with you, but that adorable four-legged furry version. Did you know that an estimated 21% of all dogs snore? (By contrast, only 7% of our feline friends snore). Since many of us have at some time let our dogs sleep with us, we’ve had to deal with this snoring problem or banish them from our bedroom. What causes a dog to snore – and how do you stop it?
There are several reasons that might cause your dog to snore, including environmental and physical. Some dogs are born with excess tissue around their neck and throat; this tissue can interfere with a dog’s breathing under certain circumstances. If your dog is overweight, they may also be carrying extra skin and body tissue around their neck. This extra body weight can cause the upper airway to close. Congestion in a dog’s nasal passages can also cause snoring.
Congestion can be caused by allergies, a cold, pneumonia, or environmental factors like secondhand smoke or smog. Even household cleaners and air fresheners may cause allergies. Secondhand smoke is an irritant to a dog’s respiratory system and can lead to snoring problems. If your dog has or is prone to allergies, some allergens can cause the air passages to narrow, which results in snoring. Anything that causes a dog’s airway to constrict or can obstruct it can lead to snoring.
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