dogPerhaps you already know that cats and dogs, just like humans, dream when they fall asleep. But it has always been a mystery what pets experience when they dream, until now.

Humans dream about the things they are interested in, or get involved in by day. According to experts from Harvard, there’s no reason to believe dogs are any different.

Dr. Deirdre Barrett – a teacher and a Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist at Harvard Medical School, has been mesmerized by dreams from an early age, and that influenced her career choice. While studying dreams in humans, she picked up a thing or two about animals.

It’s good to note that most of what we know about animal dreams is speculative… well, unless you have a talking husky.

Cats and dogs, like most mammals, have a sleep cycle similar to humans. They go into a deep sleep stage in which the brain is less active, and then into periods of activity called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. It is in the latter stage that dreams occur. In contrast, reptiles and fish don’t have such cycles, meaning they probably have dreamless sleeps.

Just like humans who dream about things they are attached to, dogs do too.

Dogs are extremely attached to their human owners and are therefore believed to dream about exactly that… their face, smell etc.

What about cats?

Cats are a bit different and there’s actually more information.

Sleep researcher Michel Jouvet once destroyed a tiny area in a cat’s brain that inhibits movements during REM sleep. The cat lay quietly through the other stages, but when REM started, they leapt up, stalked, pounced, arched their backs and hissed. It was like they were hunting mice.

Is there a way to give your pet better dreams? 

Just like dreams in humans, the best way to give your pet better dreams is by giving it a happy daytime.

h/t: People Pets