According to Dr. Deirdre Barrett, dogs dream about their owners when in light REM sleep. This means that when the pets “run” in their sleep, it is most probable that they are just dreaming about their latest fetch session. Cats, on the other hand, apparently dream about mice or toys.
Dr. Barrett is an evolutionary and clinical psychologist at Harvard. According to her:
“Since dogs are generally extremely attached to their human owners, it is likely your dog is dreaming of your face, your smell, and of pleasing or annoying you.”
In the case of humans, we know that somebody is dreaming when the person is in REM sleep. The same apparently applies to both cats and dogs. However, their dreams differ because they care about different activities during the day.
According to the study, the cats were surprisingly motionless when sleeping, except for the REM stage. When dreaming, the felines presented a tendency to pounce, stalk, leap, hiss, and arch their back. From their reactions, the researchers concluded that they dreamed about hunting mice or interacting with toys.
On the other hand, during REM sleep, dogs moved their legs in a manner that imitated running. The scientists concluded that their dreams probably revolve around chasing a ball or playing fetch with their owners.
Dr. Barret stated that the best way to make sure that dogs are experiencing pleasant dreams is to provide them with happy activities that they could dream about. The safer and more comfortable their environment is, the more enjoyable their dreams will be.
The study also showed that the size of the dog is directly proportional to the length of the dreams. This means that the bigger the dog, the longer it dreams. However, large dogs dream less frequently than small dogs.
Puppies spend most of their time dreaming, while adult dogs only spend approximately 10 to 12 percent of their time dreaming.
On average, an adult dog sleeps 12 hours per day, but it only dreams for an hour or so. The rest of the time, the pooch is just resting.
What do you think about this study? Now that you know that dogs dream about their owners while cats hope to catch that pesky mouse finally, do you prefer dogs more?
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