It is a peaceful night, and after a tough day, you are in a deep sleep. “Woof woof,” you hear your dog barking. Oh no! He is barking in his sleep again. Is everything okay?
Every dog owner is well aware that just like humans, dogs also have their language. To us, it is just a sound, but for them, barking, howling, and whining is a way to communicate or express their feelings. But what if they are barking in their sleep? Is it normal?
Let’s find out!
Is a Dog Barking in Sleep Normal?
The answer is yes. Dog barking in sleep is quite normal and nothing to be worried about—in fact, it proves that your fellow is healthy and fit. Just like every mammal, dogs also dream, and as a result, they bark sometimes.
Not only barking, but you can see other body movements of your dog as well. Nobody is sure about what they dream of, but it is suggested that a dog’s dream can be horror, happy, or sad, and it is advised not to wake them up as you might interrupt his dream and sleep.
Unlike humans, dogs not only visualize dreams, but they also use other senses like smell, hearing, and taste. That’s why, while dreaming, they also twitch their eyes, wiggle their ears, and move their body according to the dream they are having. Researches have shown that the brain waves produced by dogs in their sleep have many similarities to that of humans.
Read: Do Puppies Sleep a Lot?
Right after laying down, dogs go through the stage of relaxation for about 10 minutes. Their heart rate and body temperature go down as they enter the light sleep stage. After this stage, they enter into non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep—a deeper state—and their body starts to regrow, rebuild, and repair the muscles, tissues, and bones. Finally, it is time to step into the REM sleep cycle, also known as the rapid eye movement cycle. During this stage, the heart rate and breathing frequency increase and that is when humans and our dogs start dreaming.
How much the dog will bark during the REM sleep cycle depends on different breeds and can vary for an individual. Small dogs switch from REM sleep cycle to non-REM sleep cycle every 10 minutes. Hence, they bark more than big dogs, whereas big dogs enter the REM cycle after every 90 minutes, so they dream and bark less.
What About Dogs Barking At the Moon?
It is said that when dogs look at the moon, they see the first-ever dog who went up into space—Laika. However, it is nothing but a myth. The full moon is beautiful and lightens up the environment, allowing them to spot anything happening in the surroundings quickly, so they bark. Dogs bark with their heads up to communicate with their distant friends and family—this is also one of the reasons behind dogs barking at the moon.
Whenever you hear your little fellow barking at night, the initial step should be to check whether he is asleep or needs you? He might be hungry, scared, or lonely and barking for your attention. Once you are sure that he is barking in sleep, there is nothing to do. As mentioned earlier, he is just dreaming, and barking while dreaming is ordinary. Never wake your dog up as it can disturb their sleep cycle, leaving them disoriented. If they are dreaming something terrifying, waking them up can scare them, and they might attack or bite you.
However, if your dog is showing signs of pain like heart pounding rapidly, breathing fastly or hardly catching breath, or making terrifying sounds, then it is advised to wake him up gently with your voice to avoid him snapping at you. If he doesn’t wake up, call the vet immediately.
When Should You Worry?
If your dog is barking at night all of a sudden, then there is a problem. Sudden barking can be due to several reasons.
- Physical distress
- You would never want this—an intruder! Make sure there is no one breaking into your house.
Is the Noise Disturbing Your Sleep?
Watching your furry friend while barking and twitching in his sleep and wondering what he is dreaming about is one of the cutest feelings ever. Still, excessive or continuous barking can badly affect your sleep schedule. If this is the case, no need to worry. There are a few practical tips for you to avoid the hassle.
Tips to Minimize Barking Sounds at Night
- First and foremost, make sure he isn’t barking due to loneliness—especially if he is your new pet. Dogs sleep with their groups (families) and might be barking due to homesickness. Make his bed in your room and observe if there are any changes or not.
- If he is not a new addition to the family and barking in sleep is habitual, then you can move his bed far from your room to avoid any disturbance in your sleep.
- If placing his bed far away is not making any difference, you can talk to the vet for guidance but never treat him with medicines. It is better to tolerate the sound than to give him treatments to stop natural phenomena.
- Even if the sleep cycles are similar, you should never give human medicines to your dog, or else they can suffer from severe health complications.
- Use Dog calming diffuser to calm your dog down. It is readily available at any pet shop. The dog calming diffuser releases pleasant and scented pheromones that calm down the dog and help them to sleep peacefully.
- Use a white noise machine. White noise machines are also beneficial and drain out all the noise at night.
- Use earplugs to cancel out the noise.
- If your dog has the training to use a crate, you can put a blanket on the crate for a comfortable sleep at night.
Dog barking in sleep is as normal as dog barking while they are awake. It is a part of the REM cycle and nothing else.
Waking them up during the REM dream cycle can be unhealthy for the dog and can make them exhausted and weak throughout the day as it can disturb their sleep pattern.
Play with your dogs, spend quality time, give them body rubs and do all the good things you can do to provide them with sweet memories of the day because that is what they are going to dream about.
But if their sound is interrupting your sleep, you can simply place their bed in a place that is far from your room. Or you can try earplugs or a white noise machine for a good night’s sleep. However, if your dog is showing signs of a nightmare—panting, scared expressions—then you can wake them up by gently rubbing their body or calling their name in a soft voice.
Don’t forget to check if they are barking in sleep because they might be feeling bored, scared, need your attention, are hungry, or want to pee. We hope you enjoyed our article. Happy petting!