Dogs also display many human-like characteristics, one of which is sleepy whimpering. If you hear this for the first time, you will find it difficult to believe that dogs also have dreams as we do. Hearing a dog cry or whimper in its sleep can cause you to worry and be afraid; this is normal, and you should take the dog to a vet.
Dogs cry in their sleep for various reasons, including discomfort, medical issues, dreams, seizure episodes, puppy behavior, dreaming, boredom, poor training, and sleep paralysis. It is difficult to identify why your dog cries in its sleep after one incident; you need to observe it consistently.
When humans dream, you can tell if it was a good or bad dream by their reaction when they are awake. However, it is completely impossible to tell if a dog had a good dream or a bad dream if it cried in its sleep.
Why Does My Dog Cry in Their Sleep?
Dogs spend up to 12 to 14 hours sleeping daily. If you ever notice your dog crying or whimpering when sleeping, you need to understand that the dog is communicating subconsciously, which happens for certain reasons. You must understand why dogs cry in their sleep, as it could indicate a dog is suffering from a health issue.
For instance, if you notice your dog crying and twitching during sleep, it could indicate your dog is having a seizure. We will shed more light on possible reasons dogs cry in their sleep below.
Your Dog Is Dreaming
Dreaming is a common reason why dogs cry in their sleep. Dogs have a sleeping cycle similar to we humans, which occurs in 5 phases. However, out of the 5 phases, humans experience, dogs only have 2, the Non-REM (slow wave-phase) and the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phases.
The moment a dog falls asleep, it begins with the Non-REM phase, which lasts for about 10 to 20 minutes before getting to the REM phase. The REM phase is where dreaming occurs. Depending on the dog’s size, breed, and age, its REM phase could last for about 30 to 45 minutes.
During the REM phase, a dog’s brain wave pattern begins to move very fast and could indicate a physical activity, which appears in the form of a dream. So, depending on the type of dream the dog is having, a dog would either cry, growl, or whimper, even while deeply asleep.
It is usual for dog owners to assume the dog is having a nightmare at a point like this. However, it is essential to state that the dog might not be having a nightmare. We actually cannot tell what our dogs are dreaming about. Although, based on the activities they engaged in during the day, there is a possibility of the dog experiencing it in its dream.
Whenever you notice your dog crying during its sleep, ensure you do not interrupt its sleep. Although you might feel bothered and decide to wake the dog, an attempt to do that could lead to an involuntary bite from your dog. However, if you want to wake the dog, you can slowly call its name till it wakes instead of waking it.
Your Dog Is In Pain
Pain could cause a dog to cry during its sleep. If a dog is suffering from joint pains and lays on the joint while asleep, it exerts more pressure on the joints, resulting in more pains and could cause the dog to cry. Joint pain is quite common in older dogs, and it is usually very painful. It is very difficult for a dog in pain to get a good sleep at night.
In addition, injuries and bloating could also make a dog feel uncomfortable and sleep in pain. So, if you ever notice your dog is in pain, ensure you take the dog to a vet for a thorough check-up and treatment. Another reason could be that the dog is bloated, caused by a suboptimal feeding schedule, bad food, and the presence of foreign bodies.
Your Dog Has Seizures
If you notice your dog crying while asleep, accompanied by vocalizing and twitching, it could indicate seizures and nervous system disorders. Although, this could sometimes appear as if your dog is dreaming. However, the rate at which your dog twitches could help you know if your dog is having seizures.
If your dog’s body movement appears to be uncontrolled and lasts more than a minute, your dog is having seizures. Also, in more severe cases of seizures, it could lead to a dog urinating or pooping even while asleep.
Your Dog Is Bored
Dogs need plenty of exercise for mental and physical stimulation. Lack of these stimulations could make a dog feel bored and cause it to display some undesired or disturbing behaviors even at night. For instance, when a dog is bored, it could begin to cry at night for no significant reason.
Although, it may be a way of seeking your attention that it wants to play. Bored dogs tend to display this behavior more when they do not get to exercise during the day. So, if you have noticed this, you can affirm that the dog is crying due to boredom. A way of helping the dog is by ensuring it gets enough exercise during the day for at least 30 minutes.
Why Does My Dog Cry In His Sleep Every Night?
If your dog has been crying in its sleep all night, it could be due to some of the reasons we already explained, such as dreams, boredom, seizures, or pains. It is important for you to carefully monitor your dog to determine the actual cause of the cry. If you cannot observe any of the reasons above, anxiety could be another reason.
Dogs who are very connected with their owners usually find it difficult to stay alone. Such dogs are likely suffering from separation anxiety and could begin to cry all night when left to sleep alone. So, if your dog has anxiety issues, look for a way of training it to cope with sleeping alone at night.
If you are a new dog owner, you should know that your puppy will whine and whimper while asleep; this is normal puppy behavior, and you cannot stop it. The major cause for the cry is the need for company and attention. They are still developing, so the brain stem that sends signals to keep the body calm is undeveloped and inefficient.
What Do Dogs Dream About When They Cry?
We actually cannot tell what dogs dream about when they cry. Seeing a dog crying, growling, and acting disturbed during its sleep could make dog owners think the dog is having a nightmare. However, since dogs do not talk like we humans, we actually cannot ask them what they dreamt about.
Why Do Dogs Whine In Their Sleep?
Unknown to many dog owners, if a dog is not properly trained, it will exhibit some unpleasant behaviors. One of these is whining in its sleep. A dog that has not been trained to stop whimpering and whining at night will continually whine. This does not refer to puppies, although you should also train your puppies to stop the behavior.
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It is a big risk to try waking up a dog crying in its sleep; like other creatures, when dogs sleep, they lose awareness of their surroundings and rely on their impulse. So, if you try to rouse a dog that is whining, whimpering, or crying in its sleep, you can get bitten. The best thing to do is seek a vet to identify the cause and treat it.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.