My dog has nightmares, should I wake him up?

Perro dormido

Like people, dogs can dream and have nightmares. You can identify the deep sleep phase of the dog when it’s moving its paws, ears or may even have its eyes open- this is when your dog is in REM sleep. However, as everything good in life the deep sleep cycle comes with a pinch of salt or nightmares. If you hear your dog crying or indicating discomfort then your dog maybe be having a bad dream. The question is, should you wake him up?

At first, you might think that you should wake the animal up immediately, as you don't want it to suffer but this might not be the best solution. Your dog could get up in a hurry and bite you as a  reflex action, even if it doesn't want to hurt you; It can also be a danger to your pet to wake it up so abruptly, leaving it frightened and confused after the nightmare.

What to do if your dog has nightmares

- First of all, don't wake your pet up under any circumstances. Wait for it to calm down or try to calm it down in a gentle and progressive way.

- Caress your furry friend on the side, very slowly, until little by little it notices your presence and relaxes.

- Call out your pet's name in a low voice. This allows the little one to come out of the REM phase of sleep without any abrupt interruptions. 

- Once you have woken up your dog, let him sleep again. The animal needs to rest and calm down after the shock.

- If you think your dog may be having a fit, it is best to call him by his name. The animal will only be able to wake up if it is in a deep sleep.

Establish routines

If your dog's behaviour doesn't change and he continues to have nightmares, it is advisable to draw up a follow-up in which we note the time when the nightmares occur, what he eats and at what time, as well as the noises in the house at that time. These details could be useful for a veterinarian to establish the causes of the nightmares and determine if the animal has any serious health problems.

In addition, if your pet does not rest as it should, the lack of sleep could take its toll and affect it physically and psychologically. Therefore, you must take care of your dog's resting area and choose a bed that ensures maximum comfort.

On the other hand, it is important to make sure that your pet has a stable life, with an established time routine, because if it suffers alterations during the day or we have a stressed animal, it is quite likely to suffer bad dreams at night.

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