Why do dogs sleepwalk?

Why do dogs sleepwalk? Symptoms, causes, and preventions

Sleepwalking is common in humans; you might have seen several people performing complex activities like cooking, driving, running, and many more while sleeping. It’s amusing and strange to watch someone perform any task while sleeping. Welcome to the sleeping world!However, sleepwalking is not just a human issue; it is also thought to occur in other animals, particularly dogs. However, dogs sleepwalking is not as complex as in humans. Imagine watching a dog walking, smiling, or growling while sleeping. But why do dogs do so? Are they suffering from any ailment? What’s going on inside their brain? These are some questions that come to one’s mind after watching dogs sleepwalk.

The article will provide you with a detailed guide in this regard. So, stay tuned with us until the last word.

Can dogs dream?


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The question arises in every pet owner’s mind, but we cannot give a satisfactory answer as some shards of evidence favor dreaming while others are against it. Nevertheless, the truth can only be revealed once dogs acquire speaking skills. Until then, we cannot know whether they dream or if their dreams are similar to human ones or somehow different from theirs.

Being humans, our visual sense is far more developed than that of pets, so our dreams are also visual and somehow audible. But a dog’s major sense is snorting through the nose. So, experts also conclude that their dreams include the sense of smell rather than watching. So, it is still a big query: what kind of dream does a dog experience through his nose? And what kind of unfriendly smell would scare him in his dreams?

Dogs mostly exhibit signs consistent with dreaming, including movements and vocalizations. They also experience the same changing patterns that characterize different sleep states in humans, including the REM (rapid eye movement) phase, in which most dreaming occurs.

Another sign of a dog’s dreaming is the dog’s sleepwalk, which mainly supports the dog’s dreaming theory.

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Why do dogs sleepwalk?


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Sleepwalking is entertaining, but the reason behind it may not be funny for you. The exact reason behind this behavior is unknown; it might be aging or a lack of proper sleep.

Yet, diseases such as narcolepsy or cataplexy can be significant causes of sleepwalking. Still, we are not sure in this regard.

There is a stage known as REM (rapid eye movement) where the eyes move slightly even when we are asleep. This phase lasts about 50 to 90 minutes in humans. The phase is also found in dogs; however, the dog’s REM is low compared to humans, i.e., 20 to 30 minutes.

The dogs having an abnormal REM phase of sleep usually howl, yelp, or bite. Even they can run their legs for hundreds of miles. Though adult dogs can also engage in this disease, little pooches are more vulnerable to such sleeping diseases.

Senility can also result in a distinct form of sleep problem known as a sort of cognitive impairment comparable to dementia in elderly people. In this situation, dogs are awake and conscious but bewildered.

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Is there any treatment available for sleepwalking?


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A good diet solves every disorder, dogs sleepwalk is no different. Try to avoid artificial products and always enrich your dog’s diet with food that has beneficial nutrients. The best nutrients in this regard are;

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Tocopherols
  • Antioxidants
  • And vitamins

Sometimes, the disorder is incurable. So, in such situations, you must ensure that the area is safe for your dog. And if he walks unconsciously, then there will be no such things that harm him. You can also confine your dog to a specific room so that he will not wander far.

To determine the underlying cause of this unusual behavior, you should communicate with your veterinarian, as it may be a sign of a serious ailment. You may even arrange for a neurological evaluation for your dog.

What are the disorders that seem to cause sleepwalking in dogs?



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Certain disorders make owners think that their dog is sleepwalking. However, sometimes your dog may need medical attention, including for sleep disorders or other neurological disorders. Here is a brief list of such conditions.

Neurological disorders:

If the dog’s nervous system fails to do its task efficiently, your canine might be vulnerable to neurologically strange behaviors. The best example is seizures when your dog appears to be sleeping but is fully awake. Your dog may also make strange vocalizations, repeatedly press its head against a wall, or move in a circle for no apparent reason.

If left untreated, such illnesses can be fatal. So, consult the veterinarian if you find such weird behavior in your pooch. For proper medication, observe your dog’s behavior; if he exhibits a pattern of such behavior, then consult a veterinarian.

Cognitive decline:

Many canines’ cognitive decline is mainly caused by aging. Because the affected dog runs aimlessly, seems disoriented, or wanders around aimlessly, owners occasionally refer to this condition as “sleepwalking.” The owner confuses the cognitive decline with sleepwalking, especially if his dog shows the behavior mentioned above at midnight or night.

There is no specific treatment for your dog in this regard, so you cannot give him his proper treatment. However, you can assist your little friend in avoiding injury due to this unconscious behavior.

Still, visiting the veterinarian should be the primary task you have to do in this regard, as he can give certain doses that can minimize or reduce the cognitive decline factor.

Sleep disorders:

It’s no surprise that dogs can suffer from the same sleeping disorders as humans, such as sleep apnea, in which breathing stops suddenly for a short period, rendering the person or dog unconscious. The result includes bedwetting or other abnormal behaviors.

Similarly, insomnia or narcolepsy can also be found in canines, where they cause an irregular pattern of sleeping, resulting in drowsiness all day and leaving the dog unconscious all the time. As a result of such disorders, your dog may seem to be sleepwalking.

If you think your dog has this issue, you should get him tested by a veterinarian (ideally, one who specializes in sleep problems).

Some of these conditions can be harmful; for instance, you shouldn’t allow your narcoleptic dog to run unsupervised by the pool. And other conditions, like canine sleep apnea, can cause unexpected demise.

What should I do if my dog behaves weirdly while sleeping?

Even though certain diseases may not have a cure, you may take precautions to save your dog from suffering a major injury or to make sure he has a restful sleep.

  • Always try to make your dog more comfortable while sleeping. Along with sleepwalking disease, some elderly dogs develop hip or joint problems. For such dogs, an orthopedic bed would be the best approach to giving them peace and comfort.
  • Always try to make his bed where there are no harmful or heavy objects, including glass or iron. Because unconscious walking can cause serious injury to your dog if some heavy object falls on him,
  • One of the primary causes of sleeping disorders is nutritional deficiency. So, constantly enrich your pooch with a healthy diet.
  • Make sure your dog exercises plenty throughout the day. Exercise can help people remain awake and establish healthy sleeping habits, even if it cannot treat severe sleep disorders like narcolepsy.
  • Above all, communicate with your veterinarian. See a veterinarian about your pet’s sleep issues if you have any doubts. Some sleep issues might be harmful to his health and well-being. This allows you to address any underlying concerns immediately rather than waiting for things to worsen.
Can my dog bark while sleepwalking?

Yes, it is possible that your dog barks while sleeping. It may be due to the dog’s mind being engaged in something threatening. The dog also barks during excitement. So it’s possible he saw a loved one, such as an old master, in his dream.

However, there are some signs that your dog barks in fear or excitement. The dog is in aggressive mode if the tail raises above the body.

Can Dogs Sleepwalk While Having Open Eyes?

Dogs frequently sleep with their eyes open; sure, they may sleepwalk while doing so. However, if this occurs, it may indicate a neurological disease rather than just purported dogs sleepwalk.

Some frequently asked questions.

How can you recognize a sleepwalking dog?

Dogs can’t sleepwalk as people can, which involves moving in a coordinated manner that appears to be typical “awake” behavior. When they are sleeping, they are more likely to make erratic, jerky motions like paddling their legs (as if they were dreaming of fleeing) or, at worst, lurching a few steps before falling to the ground.

Can dogs urinate while sleeping?

The cause of dogs urinating while they sleep is incontinence, and dogs that have been neutered or spayed frequently have this issue. And, believe it or not, dogs age just as people do, and occasionally, just like people, they lose control over their bladders.

Should Dreaming Dog be awakened?

It might be tempting to wake up a pet crying, twitching, or shaking while asleep. The American Kennel Club advises owners to let sleeping pets alone.

What does canine Sundowners syndrome entail?

Sleep-wake cycles are frequently disturbed in both dogs and dementia patients. People who experience “sundowning” sleep more during the day and are awake, confused, and disturbed all night.

What is REM Sleep Apnea?

The same type of REM sleep in humans also occurs in dogs. And under some conditions, when this occurs to our animal pals, they could act out their fantasies.

A dog with a REM sleep disorder may also howl, chew, bite, bark, chew, and even have periods of sleep movements.

Final thoughts:

Sleepwalk is not new in the dog’s world. Yet, to know whether the act of your dog is in sleepwalk or it is suffering from some disorder is somehow tricky. Nevertheless, the tips mentioned above and the signs can greatly help you in this regard.

It could be fun to watch a dog sleepwalk. However, because your dog cannot communicate its illness, you must exercise additional caution to protect its health. The signs of sleepwalking might be difficult to distinguish from those of a seizure, and pet owners frequently do just that. If your dog is having seizures, it is advised that you visit a veterinarian every once.

Remember to underestimate sleepwalking too. There’s a chance that your dog will hurt itself. Get your dog checked out and given the necessary care before things get out of hand to ensure better sleep for your dog.

Related Links:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleepwalker  /By Wikipedia
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ASleepwalking /By Wikipedia
  • https://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Sleepwalking /By Wikihow
  • https://www.wikihow.com/Category:Dogs-and-Sleep /By Wikihow


  • https://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Your-Dog-from-Waking-You-Up-at-Night /By Wikihow
  • https://www.wikihow.com/Get-Your-Dog-to-Sleep /By Wikihow
  • https://www.wikihow.com/Category:Sleep-Disorders /By Wikihow


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