Should you wake your dog if he has nightmares?

Dogs, like humans, dream and have nightmares in their sleep. Just like in humans, we can recognize when they are immersed in a parallel reality thanks to their behavior: a slight movement of the ears, small twitches, even howls indicate that the animal is dreaming.

In fact, it probably doesn’t seem strange to you if you have a four-legged friend who tends to wiggle their ears while they sleep. This movement, as if running, indicates that he is dreaming. Likewise, when it comes to nightmares, they often bark and even cry.

If we already struggle to decipher and understand our own dreams and the different ways in which they manifest, it is clear that recognizing and understanding those of another animal would be a complex task. It is therefore possible that you often unknowingly act in counterproductive ways towards your dog and his sleep.

Better to be alone

As humans, when we realize our pets are in pain, we tend to run to them and wake them up to end the nightmare (an act we even do with other people). However, is it right to follow this inertia?

Even though we have very good intentions, waking them up might not be as good an idea as you might think. If you’re the type of person who runs to wake your dog when he’s having a nightmare, it’s best to stop doing it.

According to experts, nightmares are created during the deepest phase of sleep, so waking your pet only interrupts their rest. Yes, he can be restless, fearful or even in pain when he has a nightmare, but it’s best to respect his condition and not wake him up.

What you can do

That is, they should wake up and end this nightmare for themselves. It is a natural exercise in self-control, the true inertia of the body not to overdo it. He himself will know when to open his eyes.

However, if you don’t like watching your dog suffer during a nightmare, you can approach him very slowly and pet him lightly. The dog’s brain and body will be able to perceive the caress and calm it down, without it being necessary to disturb its rest.

Another option is to talk to him in a very low voice so as not to wake him up, but at the same time to reassure him. Under no circumstances should you make excessive noise or approach him emphatically, but do so little by little to reassure him that you are there, on the other side.

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