What Do Dogs Dream About When They Bark?

Barking is your dog’s way of communicating. They bark when they need food, or when they’re angry. They also bark when they’re playing with you.

However, some dogs just bark too much. They even do it in their sleep when they are dreaming.

What do dogs dream about when they bark?

We share with you why dogs bark in their sleep and what dogs dream about when they are sleeping. 

We also discuss whether or not you should wake your dog up from their sleep.

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dogs dream when they bark

Why Dogs Bark in Their Sleep

Dogs bark in their sleep because they are dreaming. It’s normal for them to do this because barking is their form of communication.

It is their way of greeting you, showing emotions, and expressing what they want. However, you need to stop your dog from barking unnecessarily with proper training.

Some dogs dream more than others, depending on the development of their brain. Age and size are also factors to consider.

When your dog barks in their sleep, they could be having a good or bad dream. This could make you anxious, but it’s part of a healthy sleeping cycle for dogs.

Dogs pass a short period of wakefulness that lasts for about five to ten minutes. 

As they fall asleep, their breathing becomes deeper and more regular. Then, they start dreaming after 20 minutes. 

This is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. About 10% of their sleep is spent in this phase.  

During REM sleep, dogs dream and usually experience involuntary movement.

What Dogs Dream About When They Bark

Barking is one of the main ways dogs communicate. They could be barking because they are scared, territorial, bored, or greeting someone in their sleep.

Whatever reason they have for barking while awake may be the same reason they are barking in their dreams. 

You may also see their body twitch and wiggle, as well as simulating digging or running. They use all their senses when they’re dreaming, so they may also wrinkle their nose or move their ears. 

Your dog’s pons, which is part of their brain stem, is what controls your dog and prevents them from acting out their dreams.

If they’re dreaming about chasing rabbits while barking, they could stand up and run around the house if the pons is deactivated.

On the other hand, if they are playing with you in their dreams while barking, they could jump and act like they’re standing on you. 

Generally, small dogs bark a bit more as they pass between non-REM and REM sleep more quickly and dream more often. 

Small-breed dogs pass through REM every 10 minutes, while larger ones go through it every 90 minutes.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Bark in Their Sleep?

There is no harm to your dog when they are barking, twitching, and even crying in their sleep. 

In fact, it means they’re going through a healthy sleeping cycle which includes REM and non-REM.

Adequate sleep helps with your dog’s growth and development, and dreaming means their brain is working just fine!

Dogs sleep whenever they want, and quickly wake up because of alertness. So, they need more sleep to compensate for the lost REM.

Should You Wake Your Dog Up?

No. It’s unnecessary to wake your dog up when they bark in their sleep. 

Waking them up will only disrupt their sleep cycle and startle them. All animals need uninterrupted sleep as it is good for their health. 

Waking them up can result in a bite, especially if they’re fighting an enemy in their dream. 

If you love to sleep, you know how bothersome it is to be woken up!

However, if the behavior is becoming a nuisance or appears to be causing them distress, you should always check if they are really asleep when barking.

If they are awake and barking, it may mean that they want attention or need something, like food, water, heat, or ventilation. 

If your dog is having trouble sleeping, this video shows how to make them fall asleep quickly.

But if they are asleep and barking, gently call their name until they wake up. Once they wake up, let them go back so they can go on with their sleep cycle.

If they’re panting, whimpering, and barking in their sleep, something may be wrong. Call your vet right away if you think they are in severe distress.


Do Dogs Sleep with Their Eyes Closed?

Yes, they do. 

But if their eyes are open while sleeping, that’s also normal. This is usually because of their breed, although some do it because of their third eyelid.

Other dogs open their eyes when sleeping because they are dreaming. 
In some cases, it could be because of a seizure.

Learn more about your dogs’ eyes when they are sleeping!

What Do Dogs Dream About When They Cry?

Dogs cry in their sleep because they may be sad. Other times, they’re just mumbling stuff in their dreams and are not actually crying.

Dogs may also cry because they feel pain.

Learn the possible causes of your dog crying in their sleep.

What Do Dogs Dream About When They Twitch?

Dogs dream about their usual everyday experiences in their dreams, just like we do. It’s possible for them to dream about the fun things they love as well as sadness, anxiety, or fears.

Nightmares are usually evident in their twitching and crying during sleep. 

Learn what it means and what you should do when your dog twitches in their sleep.

My Puppy Sleeps Too Much. Is This Normal?


Dogs should spend about 18-20 hours of the day sleeping.

This is completely healthy as long as they are exercising to compensate.

You can get a clue or two about your dog’s sleep in the way they sleep.

Check out what dog sleep positions mean!

Sleep Soundly with Your Pooch!

Like us, dogs typically dream about things that happened during their day. 

Don’t be concerned about them barking in their sleep. They’re probably just playing fetch with you or greeting the neighbor next door in their dreams.

Make sure that your dog gets all the love and attention they need when they’re awake to ensure they have sweet dreams during their slumber.

If your dog’s noises are bothering you at night, gently call their name to wake them up.

Does your dog also twitch in their sleep? Figure out what it means when your dog twitches in their sleep.