Do dogs dream?

Do dogs dream?

Dear Sassy,

Does my dog dream when he sleeps?



Dear Dreamer,

Most dog owners have watched their beloved dog’s feet twitch or make running motions in their sleep.  My dad used to say our dog was “chasing rabbits” in his sleep.  Some dogs (uh hum..Sassy) also appear to talk in their sleep with quiet whines, barks and even growls.  This video on shows a sleeping dog that runs at full speed on his side then stands up and runs into the wall.

We read the body language and think our dog is dreaming.  But, is there proof?

The answer is “Yes” according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT ) Study published by Kenway Louie M.D., Ph.D. and Matthew A. Wilson, Ph.D. in  the Neuron Journal, Volume 29, Issue 1, 145-156, 1 January 2001.   Dr. Wilson is a Sherman Fairchild Professor of Neuroscience and Picower Scholar in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT.

Image by Kenway Louie, MIT.

The research report states that animals (rats) have complex dreams and are able to retain and recall long sequences of events while they are asleep.  The study also shows that animals’ brains follow the same series of sleeping states as ours do, this is the first time that researchers know what animals are dreaming about.

“If you compared a hippocampus in a rat to a dog; in a cat to a human, they contain all of the same pieces,” Dr. Wilson is quoted in a MIT News article, “No one knew for certain that animals dreamed the way we do, which can involve replaying events or at least components of events that occurred while we were awake, We looked at the firing patterns of a collection of individual cells to determine the content of rats’ dreams. We know that they are in fact dreaming and their dreams are connected to actual experiences.”

Wilson says that this new ability to eavesdrop on the sleeping brain provides a basis for analyzing the content of dream states. It could be a valuable tool in treating memory disorders such as amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease, or it may help devise ways for people to learn and memorize more effectively.

Sassy dreams…

“It has been a century since Freud brought forward the study of the subconscious and the examination of the content of dreams as a tool for understanding the nature of cognition and behavior in humans,” Wilson said. “We now have the means to bring this world of dreams into the study of animal cognition, and by doing so, gain deeper insight into our own.”

Sassy says that dogs dream.  She dreams of cookies and going “Bye Bye” in the car.  She also dreams that she stars in the circus.  She also wants her friends to know that she doesn’t talk in her sleep.

Sassy gives advice to dogs and their people, with the help of her person, Martha Caster Lloyd. Martha owns a Pet Sitting and Cage Free Grooming Service in Sachse (

Email questions to Sassy at .


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Sassy would like to introduce you to her new friend Milo

Meet Milo.  She is a young adult Australian Shepherd mix.  She is a very sweet dog.

Australians shepherds are smart and make great family pets.  This dog has been started on prevention, Revolution. Given a DHPPC combination shot, Bordatella and Strongid T. worming.

Milo’s adoption fee is $80 for Rowlett residents, $75 for non-residents and $55 for seniors.

If you are interested in meeting Milo, visit the Rowlett Animal Shelter, 4402 Industrial St, Rowlett. Contact the shelter at 972-412-6219.