Category Archives: dreaming

Should You Wake Your Dog from a Dream?

By Tamara McRill

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?

No Touching

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.

Read More »

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+Share

Why Do Some Dogs Snore?

By Linda Cole

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.

Read More »

Does Your Dog Chase Rabbits in His Dreams?

By Suzanne Alicie

Have you ever watched a dog sleep? First, it is really sweet to see their highly animated and active faces resting peacefully, but it is also rather entertaining to watch and wonder what is going on in a dog’s dreams. Their feet may move, their tail may wag, they may growl or even bark. Some dogs have been known to sleep walk and even sleep eat. In these ways dogs are much like humans; I am sure it would be interesting to know what a dog is really dreaming about that causes these activities.

Around our house we call it “chasing rabbits” when our dog is sleeping peacefully and then suddenly seems to be running, all the while lying on her side with her feet making running motions. Then it will stop and she will seem to rest peacefully again for a while. I have also heard our dog growl deep in her throat and the hackles on her neck stand up while she is sleeping. I made sure not to disturb her or wake her up for fear of being attacked simply because she was in a dream state. This is one reason that people who sleep with their pets should be wary.

Read More »

How Important is the Sense of Touch for Pets?


By Linda Cole

We know how important our sense of touch is to us. Snuggling next to the one we love makes us feel good, safe and warm. Our pets respond to our touch in the same way when we give them a scratch behind the ears. My dogs love a good ear scratch so much, they will lay their head in my hand and close their eyes in response to the good feeling they are experiencing. Each dog has a sweet spot that gets their back leg kicking in pure pleasure when you rub their tummy, and you know when you’ve found your cat’s favorite spot along her back or under her chin. The sense of touch for pets is just as important to them as it is to us.

Cats and dogs have very sensitive whiskers which help them “see” in the dark. As air moves around couches and chair legs in the home, their whiskers act like little radar detectors picking up changes in the air movement. This also helps them locate prey in the dark. Dogs have a higher sensitivity to touch around their mouth which aids them when they mouth objects to determine what they are. Cats have whiskers on their legs to help them determine where their prey is and if it’s still alive. Since they can’t see things right under their nose unless they detect motion, a cat depends on their sense of touch to compensate.

Since dogs are social animals and are accustomed to living in a pack social structure, they use their sense of touch while socializing with each other. That’s one reason why your dog likes to lay beside you on the couch, your favorite chair or at your feet. It’s important for them to be with the rest of the pack and they like to be close enough to touch us. My dogs like to gather around me on the couch and lay with their head on my leg. It gets a little crowded sometimes when all of them are trying to find a vacant area on my knee.

A cat’s sensitivity to touch is their most sophisticated of all their senses. Nerve endings are connected to pressure sensitive receptors that constantly send messages to their brain giving cats the ability to always be on top of what’s going on in their world – even when they appear to be sound asleep. Their amazing sense of touch is a big reason why cats can react with a split second reaction time.

Some people believe that an animal’s sense of touch is so sensitive they can feel vibrations in the earth prior to an earthquake. Researchers have been trying for years to determine if our pets have a sixth sense that could warn of an impending earthquake, but so far, the answer has been elusive. However, there is speculation that cats especially may be able to feel vibrations through their paw pads because their pads are so sensitive to touch.

As a general rule, cats don’t like us to mess with their feet because they are sensitive, but as long as you are gentle, they do like to be tickled between the toes and pads on their feet. You know you are doing it right when they spread their toes apart so you can gently scratch in between their pads. I’ve yet to find a cat who doesn’t enjoy a good between-the-toes tickle massage every now and then.

If you’ve ever given your dog or cat a massage, you know how much they enjoy it. Not only do they benefit with better circulation and stress relief, they love the feel of our hands on their bodies. Our touch can have a calming effect on a dog who feels insecure or frightened. Have you ever watched your sleeping dog or cat when they seem to be dreaming? Dogs will move and jerk their legs as if they are running and will sometimes whine, and a cat’s whiskers will pull forward as if they are stalking a mouse or bird. Who knows what they are dreaming about, but if you gently lay your hand on their side and slowly pet them, it calms them down. So they apparently are aware of our touch even when they are asleep.

Like us, our pets have a keen sense of touch and they use it every day. They feel pain, and understand the pleasure a gentle stroke gives them when we pet them on the head or scratch behind their ears. All you have to do is notice how they respond when you scratch them between the eyes and down their nose to understand how much they enjoy the feel of a gentle touch.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Do DVDs for Cats Really Keep Them Entertained?


By Julia Williams

In the wintertime, my cats stay indoors 24/7. I prefer it that way; it’s safer for them and less costly for me. They don’t engage in cat fights that require surgery, or get foxtail stickers stuck up their nose (trust me, removing one of those nasty quill-like stickers from a cat’s nose is a feat best left to the professionals). When it’s cold outside and the ground is covered with snow, my cats curl up on their faux-fur pad by the heater, and snooze the day away. Although they don’t seem to mind doing nothing all day, I worry about them being bored.

While browsing a pet mail-order catalog one day, I came across PetSitter DVDs – videos designed to stimulate and entertain pets while the humans are away from home. They had both Cat Sitter DVDs and Dog Sitter DVDs, each with a variety of sights and scenes that play in a continuous loop for all-day amusement. I was intrigued, but also skeptical that my cats would be mesmerized by the television no matter what it was playing. They’d never shown much interest in the TV, nor had they ever looked at my computer screen when I tried to get them to watch lolcats videos.

So I did what I always do when I want more information about something – I googled it, and then went to Amazon.com to read the reviews. It turns out there are a lot more DVDs for cats and dogs than just the four volumes I saw in the pet catalog. Hmmm. Perhaps I was on to a good thing, i.e., something that could perk up those Rip Van Winkle-like cat forms I occasionally have to poke to make sure they’re still breathing? With so many pet-sitter DVDs available, I thought they must surely provide a modicum of entertainment for cats and dogs. Then too, all those glowing five-star reviews couldn’t be wrong, could they?

I wanted to order a few books anyway, so I decided to throw in one of these DVDs for my cats. They were reasonably priced (from $9.95 to $19.95) and I’d get free shipping if my order was over $25. I settled on DVD For Cats: While You Are Gone for $12.49. My cats could take a virtual walk in the woods chasing butterflies, birds, ducks, squirrels, mice, fish, kittens and more. Then they could engage in fun games with dancing strings and ribbons. In addition to the enticing imagery, the video included soothing nature sounds and peaceful music.

DVD For Cats: While You Are Gone had 18 five star reviews, a smattering of three and four star reviews, and three reviews each with one and two stars. A common denominator for the bad reviews was that the cats were “bored” and that the video looked homemade. But plenty of people claimed their felines were totally engrossed by this Cat Sitter DVD and highly recommended it. The only real way to know what would happen at my house was to try it.

When the package arrived I raced home, eager to show the kitties their special surprise. I roused their furry comatose forms and plopped them by the TV. As the Cat DVD began to play, they briefly glanced up at the television and promptly fell back to sleep. I turned the sound up and jostled them a bit to try to get them more awake and interested in all the fun they were missing on the screen. Alas, my cats were completely indifferent.

I tried again several times over the space of a month, with near identical results. My cats were just not interested in virtual fluttering butterflies and scampering creatures. In fact, I actually enjoyed this Pet Sitter DVD more than they did! Perhaps my cats are just über-intelligent creatures who know they wouldn’t be able to catch those birds no matter how hard they tried. More likely, they just prefer their sleep-induced dreams, where they can be “master hunter of their domain” for hours on end.

If you want to see whether your cat or dog would be entertained by one of these Pet Sitter DVDs, you might check with your local library first. Many large municipal libraries carry a good selection of DVDs you can borrow for free. If they don’t have them, they can often get them for you through their inter-library loan system. Or, just order one online and give it to your pet for Christmas. Who knows – they might actually love it!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Do Pets Dream?

You’re quietly watching a scary movie late one night. It’s not too terribly scary because you have your faithful canine companion curled up on the sofa next to you, snoring contentedly. Suddenly, at the very spot in the movie that the “evil clown” attacks, your dog twitches and then falls off the couch. Popcorn flying, you’re convinced that the clown really is in the next room, but you’re too afraid to look because your pup is growling softly at, well, nothing….

If this has ever happened to you, I’m betting you know as well as I do that dogs dream. The fact is, this is true.
Dogs experience sleep patterns that are very similar to our own. The process begins when your dog walks around in a circle three times (we’ll get to that little phenomenon later), settles into a heap of fur, curls into a ball and tucks his nose under his tail.
So far, very similar to the way that we fall asleep. Of course, we probably don’t turn around three times, or tuck our noses under tails (I hope), but the rest of it fairly close.
Like us, our dogs will enter into rapid eye movement (REM) after a few minutes. This is known as the “active stage of sleep”. His eyes will roll under his closed lids (much as our own do when we enter REM), and he may bark or whine (just as my husband does). His legs will probably jerk a little, and all in all, the brain activity that would be seen if you were to hook him up to a monitor is similar to that seen during the dreaming sleep of humans.
In humans, there are five stages of sleep. The “Dreaming” stage occurs in the fifth stage, or REM stage of sleep. This is the most active state of sleep for pets and people, where kicking and running comes into play.
So, the short answer to this question is that yes, dogs do dream.
Incidentally, dogs spend between 10% and 12% of their lives sleeping. Unless you’re one of my dogs, then you’ll spend closer to 75-80% of your life asleep. And no, I never medicate my pets! They are just really, really tired….
And in case you need further proof of the dreaming capacity of dogs, take a gander at this “sleep walking dog” video. Then be very grateful that you don’t have to worry about this with your pet. If you do live with a dog like this, you might want to rethink watching those horror movies.

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.