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Do Dogs Dream?

a sleeping dog

You've probably seen it happen—your sleeping dog suddenly lets out a woof as his legs begin to twitch. Is he dreaming?

Many scientists say there is evidence to support the idea that dogs do, in fact, experience dreams. Researchers using an electroencephalogram (EEG) have tested canine brain wave activity during sleep. They've found that dogs are similar to humans when it comes to sleep patterns and brain wave activity. Like humans, dogs enter a deep sleep stage during which their breathing becomes more irregular and they have rapid eye movements (REM). It is during REM sleep that actual dreaming and, often, involuntary movements take place. Dogs may move their legs as if they are running, whine or whimper as if excited, and breathe rapidly or hold their breath for short periods.

Not all dogs dream equally. Research suggests that small dogs dream more than larger dogs. A Toy Poodle may dream once every ten minutes while a Golden Retriever may only dream once every 90 minutes. Dreaming also seems to occur more frequently in puppies. This may be because they are processing huge quantities of newly acquired experiences.

What do dogs dream about? Since no dog has ever told anyone about a dream he's had, we can only guess. It's likely that dogs dream in a similar fashion to humans, replaying the everyday activities that make up their existence, like chasing, playing, and eating.

If you've ever been tempted to wake your dog during a dream, try and resist. It's best to ""let sleeping dogs lie."" Dogs, like humans, need uninterrupted sleep for healthy mental activity.

  • When Should You Switch Your Senior Dog to Soft Food?

    smiling lab sitting in front of brick wall


    As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.

    When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.

    two dogs eating from two bowls

    Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food

    If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
     

    fluffy brown dog yawning showing teeth

    Teeth Sensitivity

    As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.

    However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.

    Digestion Aid

    Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.

    Hydration Help

    It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.

    girl kissing older dog on the head

    Slower Metabolism

    Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.

    Picky Eaters

    While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!

    Whether you choose dry food, soft food  or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.

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