Have you ever seen your dog walk around with their head tilted to the side and their eyes wide open? Or seen them asleep but sitting upright and staring into space? If so, there’s a good chance that they suffer from some form of sleep disorder. Sleep disorders are common in both people and animals, and while they’re not usually a cause for concern, they can cause some discomfort in your pet. One type of sleep disorder in canines is nightmare disorder. Nightmares are relatively common in people and in horses, but they’re also surprisingly common in canines as well. According to Psychology Today, up to 40% of canines experience at least one nightmare per month.

What Causes Nightmares In Dogs?

Just like in humans, the causes of nightmares in dogs are varied. Because canine brains are so much simpler than human brains, we can’t really say that one cause is more common than others. However, there are some common things that can cause a nightmare in your dog. The most common cause of nightmares in canines is fear. If your dog is afraid of something, then they’re more likely to have a nightmare about it. This is especially true if the fear is of something that they see on a regular basis.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Having A Nightmare

When your dog is having a nightmare, it can look very similar to when they are awake. Some symptoms include:

  • Excessive whining
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Rigid body
  • Restlessness
  • Repetitive actions
  • Spinning
  • Staring
  • Squinting
  • Yawning

How To Help Your Dog If They Have Nightmares

There are a few things that you can do if your dog is having a nightmare. First, you can try soothing them. This is done by gently petting them and telling them that everything is okay. You can also try waking them up. This is usually done by moving the dog into a different room, gently picking them up, or lightly shaking them.

Bottom Line

Nightmares are extremely common in dogs and in people. While they aren’t usually a cause for concern, they can be uncomfortable for your pup. If you notice that your dog is having a nightmare, then there are a few things that you can do to help calm them down. Try to soothe them or wake them up. If the nightmare is caused by an underlying fear, then you can work on overcoming that fear.