Updated date:

Why Do Dogs Move Their Legs When They are Sleeping?

Why Do Dogs Move Their Legs When They are Sleeping? You may have noticed your dog moving his legs when he is sleeping almost as if he is running, swimming and who knows what else, what gives? Some people who have never owned dogs at times confuse these movements with seizures. Indeed, it's not uncommon for veterinary hospital receptionists to occasionally get a phone call from concerned owners wondering if they should bring their dogs in. The seizure is often quickly ruled out once the dog gets quickly back up on his toes upon hearing his owner calling his name or the owner opening a bag of food. Truth is, those leg movement can really be scary for somebody who isn't aware of dogs moving their legs while sleeping!

Drifting into Dreamland

Turns out, that dogs who move their legs, smack their lips, breath heavily, quiver their whiskers and even send out an occasional whine, bark or howl are simply dreaming. What they may be dreaming about may remain a mystery, but it's highly suspected that just like us, they may be re-enacting things that have happened during the day.

[otw_is sidebar="otw-sidebar-1"]

Discover More

puppy in the grass

Are Puppies Born With Parasites?

Whether puppies are born with parasites is something new breeders and puppy owners may wonder about. Perhaps you have seen something wiggly in your puppy's stool or maybe as a breeder you are wondering whether you need to deworm mother dog before she gives birth. Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Masucci shares facts about whether puppies can be born with worms.


Ask the Vet: Help, My Dog Ate Donuts!

If your dog ate donuts, you may be concerned about your dog and wondering what you should do. The truth is, there are donuts and donuts and there are dogs and dogs. Some types of donuts can be more harmful than others and some dogs more prone to problems than others. Veterinarian Dr. Ivana shares whether donuts are safe for dogs and what to do if you dog ate donuts.


Do Dogs Fall Off Cliffs?

Yes, dogs fall off cliffs and these accidents aren't even uncommon. As we hike with our dogs, we may sometimes overestimate our dog's senses. We may take for granted that dogs naturally know what areas to avoid to prevent falls. However, the number of dogs who fall off from cliffs each year, proves to us that it makes perfect sense to protect them from a potentially life threatening fall.

Professor of Psychology and author of several dog-related books, Stanley Coren explains how studies on rats have determined that they may be truly re-enacting events of the day. Researchers who were teaching rats to learn a maze, recorded the activity of their brain during the activity and found that the same brain wave patterns were observed when the rats were sleeping. This suggests that the rats must have dreamed the events that happened when they were awake.

The Rem Stage

Dogs don't always dream though when they are sleeping. As in humans, dreams occur during the REM stage of sleep. Very young puppies and senior dogs tend to enter the REM stage more frequently. Whether your dog is dreaming of chasing a rabbit or stealing that unattended burger you have left on the counter, one thing is for sure: just as humans, dogs need their daily dosage of ZZZ's. The saying "let sleeping dogs lie" offers words of wisdom as lack of sleep can make dogs as cranky as we are when we have bags under our eyes.

Did you know? The way your dog sleeps also plays a role on whether he's more likely to dream. Dogs who sleep curled up have tense muscles which makes them less relaxed, and therefore, less likely to twitch, explains Arden Moore.

Related Articles