Doggie with bad dreams


So…I know that this sounds really odd.

I’ve already asked a vet and he really didn’t have an answer.

My dog has terrible bad dreams…I got her at 2.5 years and she’s now 5. They go in phazes and she had a rough night last night.

At first it seemed like severly lucid dreaming. Her entire body would be twiching, vibrating, and she cries rather forlornly. I always could wake her so my vet said they could not be seizures. I’d gentally tap her and call her name until she woke up.

I know that “cooing” and being worried can cause a dog to stress so I try to act normal. “Ok Purpledoggie, lets get some food!” or “Outside, Purpledoggy? Wanna go outside?” (also, she seems to wake quite easily…so if she’s being loud I accidentally wake her when I am trying to see what the heck is going on in the middle of the night)

Lately she has been getting worse and worse, she seems nervous to leave my side (not like her), I can get her to hop off my bed with some reluctance and she’ll cower in a corrner. When I approch her she has her head low and licks me like crazy. I have never hit this dog, EVER. I have never been anything but a good owner. She’ll shake it off in 2-5 minutes and then be her normal self.

I’ve had dogs with lucid dreams before, and usually I let them ride it out. She trashes about so much that I’m afraid she’ll fall off the bed. She gets decent excercize, eats decent food…anyone else ever seen somthing like this?


how long will she dream for if you leave her alone?

have there been changes in her schedule or in the house? even a minor change could have reminded her of bad stuff from her past that’s showing up in dreams. I mean, we can be reminded of things by a certain sound or smell, I don’t see why dogs can’t as well. too bad we can’t ask them, huh?

she may be able to tell that you’re worried by your body language. even if you’re doing a good job of sounding calm, maybe she’s picking up on nervous sweat or increased heart rate or something else subtle, and making herself more upset because she sees you’re upset but can’t figure out why.

if she’s acting normally otherwise, ask your vet about giving her melatonin. some vets carry it but you can also buy the stuff from the supplement aisle. it helps keep them calm and may help her sleep better - but it’s something that you’d need to give an hour or so before bedtime. valerian is another herbal option to ask about, and like the melatonin would need to be given ahead of time. that can knock them out a bit more though. DAP makes some really awesome pheromone products - collar (looks like an old school flea collar), spray and plug-in - that give off a pheromone which calms them down. your vet may carry it, or may be able to order it, or you can find it online or in petco type stores.

poor puppy :frowning: hope you figure it out!


I haven’t seen anything like that. You must be worried sick. I’m so sorry about that. The only thing I can think of besides the obvious - purple doggie may have had something traumatic happen to her before you adopted her - is that they say dogs can sometimes sense things we can’t. The spirit world is all around us. If we speak the truth of Jesus we (thank God) become the enemy of the evil one. Perhaps she doesn’t want to leave your side because she’s protective of you. Are you under demonic attack right now because of you love for Jesus? I may be totally wrong. Just thought I’d put it out there.


Maybe let doggie finish the dream…dogs need REM as well, so if doggie doesn’t finish his REM sleep, he’ll try to make it up next time…maybe only wake him if he’s about to get hurt.


Hmmm…I haven’t had too many changes. We’ve lived at my current place for about a year now.

The phearmones sound like a good idea. I don’t know how long they would last if I leave her beucase often she gets to a point where it looks like a seizure. I know one day when I was doing something across the room and she had snuck a snooze on the couch, it seemed to go on FOREVER…but again when your fuzzy baby is hurting it does seem to last forever…but I think it was around 10mins or so…becuase that’s how long it takes my PC to go to sleep.


I know they have sleep clinics for humans (human sleeps hooked up to brain monitor, heart monitor) who knows if smething like that exists for dogs…?


From what I read they know it happens, they just don’t know why becuase dogs can’t talk. My biggest concern is “action” in her dreams…beucase at some point it gets rather thrashy. She can also be rather noisy…and it can be hard to sleep…so during the night I’ll (selfishly) wake her so I can get back to bed.


Can you wake her when she's "thrashy"?

I'm sorry if I missed it, what breed of dog?


She’s one of those “purebread mutts” some strain of shepard, though. I don’t wake her until it’s necessary…

The pheremones/calming meds aren’t a bad idea…has anyone else tried those?


I thought possibly nocturnal epilepsy but you couldn’t wake her if that was the case.

It’s also not very common in “mutts”.


Hmmm...I never thought of that...I'm wondering if I don't actually "wake" her so much as whatever she's going through is over.


Is it possible she’s getting into and eating something she shouldn’t?


If it is a seizure then you could not wake her out of it. A seizure would run its course until it is finished. I once had a dog that had seizures and there was nothing to stop them once they started.


not really. Except for her occasinal stealing of Ramen she’s pretty much just interested in her own food. All chemicals are out of her reach. She is an ordanry dog and sometimes indulges in eating her own…leavings…but I’m pretty good at stopping that.


the medications will vary in their efficacy depending on what the issue actually is.

growing up we had a ger shep that was terrified of thunderstorms. actually both of them were but one was really bad because he was a crazy anxious dog to begin with (already on amitriptyline). valerian worked really well with him but needed to be given before he heard any thunder.

I worked at a shelter some years back. there were tons of crazy dogs because they had been there for so long (some start to go crazy after as little as 6 months). we did use the collars, in conjunction with anti-anxiety medication, and they worked wonderfully even on their own. lasts about a month.

the dog I had to put down in dec, may his doggie soul rest in peace, had been at the shelter for FOUR YEARS before i took him home. I used the collar on him for a month and didn’t notice any change, but he was an extreme case, and it depends on the dog. I had him on crazy meds for almost 3 years, but eventually he got sane enough to be off those… or old enough to not care. melatonin worked fairly well for his fear of lightning. not thunder, just the flash - but I’ve known thunderphobic dogs it worked with. I miss my poor dumb crazy boy… he was such a pain but I loved him… :frowning:

so, basically, since your dog sounds pretty sane, I think you have a good chance with at least one of those things working!


Sounds like normal dog dreaming to me. Our dogs do it all the time.


I’ve had other dogs (grown up with them) and seen dogs dream. She either has far more lucid dreams or is just stressed.

I worked at a shelter some years back. there were tons of crazy dogs because they had been there for so long (some start to go crazy after as little as 6 months). we did use the collars, in conjunction with anti-anxiety medication, and they worked wonderfully even on their own. lasts about a month.

I’ll definatly get a collar. She was in a big city shelter from 8months to 2.5 so that may be part of the problem. She dosn’t have particular high anxiety…athought early in the winter theses dreams were really bad for a while the nights after she saw the mouse in the basment (it TERRIFIED her). I laughed my head off (and would of laughed more) but she was in real anxiety mode and frightened.


I have seen this effect in dogs who lacked exercise.


oh poor puppy, being terrified of a mouse… but I totally would have laughed, too…

it’s a good thing she was so young when she was there - puppies usually don’t find shelters quite as stressful because they grow up with it, as opposed to an older “family dog” that all of a sudden gets dumped there. but still, almost 2 years… quite awhile. you’re lucky she doesn’t have more problems.

definitely give your vet a call!


I had a German Shepherd mix who had been at the shelter for a couple of months before I took him home with me. As wild as he was as an adolescent, he turned into a wonderful intelligent and well-adjusted companion. He attained the Canine Good Citizen certificate, and later became certified as a therapy dog.

But the Rusty dog had some very active dreams, where he would thrash sometimes, or all four legs were running in cadence, and he would vocalize with a truly pathetic-sounding yip-yelp sound. This didn’t occur nightly, but it was a couple of times a week throughout his twelve years. Here’s what I noticed:

The vocal/active dream phases seemed to correlate when the weather was bad and he didn’t get outdoor exercise (a couple of good-length walks a day.) They also seemed to correlate when I was unusually busy and hadn’t played with him a couple of times that day.

My hypothesis: He was dreaming to substitute for intellectual stimulation.

I got a few of those Kong toys, the ones that you fill with treats, plus I hid favorite toys around the house before I would go to work. I also made sure I walked him a couple of times a day (once when I got home from work, and once at another time of the day.) Regardless of the weather (bonus: I developed more resistance to colds by getting outside into some fresh air during the winter months.)

I also made sure I had the drapes open on the street side of the house so he could watch outside. Plus, I made sure that I taught him a new trick or two every few weeks.

The vocal/active dreams didn’t stop completely, but they did diminish in frequency and length. Usually, though, as he matured and got more stimulation, he would lie there, sleeping, twitching his paws in cadence, and have a little half smile on his lips.

I have another thought about the matter, too. When humans talk in their sleep, they don’t sound the same as when they’re awake. Maybe your dog is actually having pleasant dreams (like chasing rabbits!) but just sounds funny because she’s asleep.

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