Many people have long believed that their pets dream. Twitching noses and wiggling paws are often taken as evidence of deep sleep adventures. While it is currently impossible to know for sure if Fido is chasing one hundred mailmen or if Fluffy is dreaming of opening the world’s largest can of tuna, recent research indicates that your pet does indeed dream.
Like you, your pet’s dreams often include things they experienced during the day. Matthew Wilson and Kenway Louie, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently did a study on the brains of sleeping rats. During the day, they ran the rats through mazes and recorded their brain activity. They found that while the rats slept, their brains engaged in the same patterns. The brain activity patterns were so specific that the researchers were even able to identify particular areas of the maze in the rats’ dreams. These findings suggest that animals dream in much the same way that people do.
When you see your four-legged friend dreaming, don’t wake them! Our pets need deep sleep time to stay in good health. Normally, little jerks and twitches during sleep are incredibly adorable and not a cause for concern. However, if you notice your pet’s movements becoming exaggerated like they are having a seizure or if they appear to be in pain, you may want to videotape their sleep and show it to your veterinarian. Make sure your pet eats right and gets plenty of exercise and their sleep cycles should be absolutely purrfect. Most likely, they will be having sweet dreams about their wonderful day with you!