Dogs bark to communicate their needs to their hoomans. Barking could either mean that they’re hungry, need more cuddle time, and there’s something or someone near.
Nothing could be stranger when dogs do this when they’re deep in their sleep. Not to mention, this could also be irritating to the owner who just wants to get rest.
What could this possibly mean, and what are ways to address it?
Why do dogs bark in their sleep?
Dogs bark while they’re asleep because they’re dreaming. Just like when they bark as a reaction to stimuli, they also bark when faced with stimuli in their dreams. Barking in sleep is influenced by factors such as age and breed, as well as certain medical conditions.
When your fur baby barks in their sleep, he could be in the middle of a dream. While this could make you anxious, know that this is normal and you don’t have to worry about it.
Their dreams are part of a healthy sleeping cycle. This just means that your dog is getting adequate sleep which is a must-have for growth and development.
Dogs’ breathing will become deeper and more regular once they fall asleep.
After 20 minutes, they may start dreaming during the REM stage. At this point, they may also exhibit involuntary movement while dreaming,
What do dogs dream about
Just like with humans, what exactly dogs dream about is still uncharted territory.
But it’s safe to assume that they’re barking in their sleep for the same reasons that they bark when they’re awake. They could be asking for something or greeting someone.
Dogs use their senses even when they’re dreaming. In addition to barking, you may also notice some movements like twitching, wiggling, and wrinkling of their nose and other body parts.
Seizure vs. dreaming
If you are worried about whether your dog is having a seizure or just dreaming, there are ways to tell the difference.
Manifestations of dreams, such as the twitching of body parts usually last for a short time.
In contrast, convulsions from seizures last longer. They also tend to be more violent.
Check your dog’s limbs too. If they are stiff and rigid, it is probably a seizure. You will also notice mouth foaming.
In terms of appearance, a dog that woke up from a dream will seem fine. They will even be very energetic since they are already charged.
Meanwhile, a canine who experienced a seizure will appear disoriented. You will also notice distress in their behavior.
How to address a dog’s sleep barking
Barking in their sleep is a normal occurrence. Your dogs cannot control this, and there’s no reason to stop it.
If your dog belongs in the small breed, expect more barking. The same applies to puppies. Small dogs pass between the non-REM and REM sleep stage more quickly and dream more often than their large counterparts.
There’s no need for you to wake your dog up when they bark while sleeping. Doing so will just disrupt his sleeping cycle.
As such, he will not get the maximum benefits of sleeping. He may also find it challenging to go back to slumber again.
Just like humans, your fur baby needs uninterrupted sleep to function properly. He needs all the rest he can get, considering how active his brain and body are during the day.
Enough sleep is essential so he can recharge and stay healthy. We understand that you may get the urge to wake him up from a bad dream, especially when he seems to be showing signs of distress.
But then again, it is best just to let him go through it. After all, it’s just a dream.
We understand how irritating it can get to be woken up while you’re deeply asleep. This is also true for your pooch.
Plus, you do not want to wake him as it may leave him startled. He may even behave aggressively, especially when you’ve woken him in the middle of a dream of him fighting with an enemy.
However, if the barking seems excessive, there are different ways to address it.
First, make sure that your dog’s genuinely sleeping. When he barks at night, and you notice that he’s really awake, it could mean that he needs something, probably your attention, food, water, or ventilation.
You could also put a distance between you and your dog if the barking bothers you. Move his bed far from yours and other household members’ so your sleep won’t be disrupted.
You can also use tools that cancel noise like earplugs. If they are uncomfortable, you can put a thick blanket over your dog’s crate to drown out the barks.
Additionally, if the barking comes with too much panting and whimpering, this could signal that something is wrong. You may want to visit your vet to check for any medical conditions causing it.
Aside from a proper diagnosis, your vet can share with you tips on how you can handle your dog’s behavior.
Lastly, try not to fall into the temptation of giving your dog any sleeping medicines designed for you. They don’t work the same with canine species and may cause even more harm.
If medication could alleviate the excessive barking, your vet will suggest it along with proper administration procedures.
Barking is just part of dogs’ nature. This is their means of communicating, even when they’re asleep. So, there’s no need to feel concerned when they bark in their sleep.
It could just mean that they’re probably dreaming. They may just be dreaming of cuddling with you or greeting you from work.
Thus, it’s best to just to let them be.
Also, ensure that all their needs are taken care of when they’re awake. This way, they can have adequate sleep and sweet dreams.