Have you ever wondered if dogs really dream of chasing kittens and cats? According to Harvard psychologist Dr. Deirdre Barrett, dogs most likely dream about their human protectors. Barrett has studied human sleep patterns for many years. While she says she's not 100% sure what animals dream about, what she knows about humans allows Barrett to make inferences, because after all, we're animals too.
One thing is certain: most mammals, including dogs, have a similar sleep cycle to humans, meaning they transition smoothly from deep sleep to a less active brain state and then to the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. In this final phase of the cycle, people have dreams. Barrett concludes in an interview with People, "It certainly suggests that other mammals dream, too."
So what are they dreaming of? Once again, Barrett sees the people as his guide. "People dream about the same things they dream about during the day, but more visually and less logically," she says. “There is no reason to believe that animals are different. Since dogs tend to become very attached to their human owners, it is likely that your dog will have dreams about your face, your smell, and pleasing or annoying you. Barrett also reinforces the old legend that dogs actually bring their dreams to life when they stretch out their legs and run while lying down.
While we can't know for sure if human interaction could affect their dogs' dreams, we can still try. Barrett recommends, "The best way to ensure the best night's sleep for ourselves or our children is to have enjoyable experiences during the day and get adequate sleep in a safe and comfortable environment." I bet it's also best for dreaming of pets.”