Do Dogs Sleepwalk?

If your furry friend is anything like me, then they’ll love to sleep. We dogs love nothing more than curling up next to our human and taking a good, long nap. There’s nothing better!

However, we dogs are known to do a lot of funny things in our sleep, and some of us struggle more than others to get to sleep.

Sometimes when I fall asleep, I’m known to jerk around, wiggle my legs on occasion, and can vocalize, too – much to the confusion of my human.

cute rottweiler
So, let’s examine the concept of sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is a behavioral disorder that originates during sleep and results in the subject walking or engaging in a variety of complex behaviors.

However, the question is: do dogs sleepwalk?

Let’s find out.

Do dogs dream?

The short answer to this question is, it isn’t known whether dogs dream. A logical explanation to the movements and vocalizations we dogs make in our sleep is that we dream, but we don’t make the best test subjects.

This is because we experience the world so differently from humans. Whereas humans are visual creatures and their dreams are largely visual, we dogs largely experience the world through our noses, so the process of dreaming is arguably very different for us.

To put it simply, then, we dogs cannot communicate what our dreams look like the same way that humans can’t relay what their dreams look like to us. At only 7 seconds, our short-term memory is fairly limited, too – so I can’t confirm the answer to this question either I’m afraid!

That being said, there is evidence to suggest that dogs dream, as they also experience similar changing electrical patterns that characterize different sleep states in humans including the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase, in which most dreaming occurs.

Do dogs sleepwalk?

Although there is evidence to suggest we dogs may well dream, according to the resident vet for The Telegraph, Pete Wedderburn, we cannot sleepwalk.

However, although he states that we dogs may move our legs in our sleep and we may lurch “a few feet before flopping to the ground” this is not what the majority of people consider sleepwalking.

In fact, we dogs that exhibit signs of sleepwalking behavior could potentially be suffering from a more serious sleep, neurological, or cognitive disorder.

Therefore, if you observe this kind of behavior in your furry friend, your safest bet is to seek a further assessment from a veterinarian as soon as you can. No matter how much we dislike going to the vet, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Although there are multiple video examples of dogs sleepwalking online, it is more likely that these videos have been misinterpreted as sleepwalking rather than exhibiting evidence of sleepwalking itself.

Which disorders can be mistaken for sleepwalking in dogs?

As it is generally thought that we dogs don’t sleepwalk, then most sleepwalking-like behaviors are likely the result of sleep, cognitive, or neurological disorders.

Sleep Disorders

Although the discourse surrounding animal sleep disorders is relatively new, research has shown that we dogs can suffer from some of the same sleep disorders that humans can.

For instance, some dogs have been known to suffer from insomnia and narcolepsy. Both of these conditions can cause extreme drowsiness during the day, and they can trigger unusual sleep phase patterns which in turn can be mistaken for sleepwalking.

Alongside insomnia and narcolepsy, dogs can also experience sleep apnea – a sleep disorder in which breathing temporarily stops for short periods of time – causing us to jolt awake, although this tends to be quite rare in dogs.

Cognitive Disorders

It is the sad truth that some dogs will experience cognitive decline as they age. This can cause us to wander about aimlessly, cause strange behavior, and can make us very confused.

This can be particularly upsetting for our humans, as it is entirely out of their control watching their best friend deteriorate, but it is just a fact of life that dogs can become senile as they age.

Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders can be incredibly dangerous if they’re not picked up on soon. Some neurological disorders, such as seizures, can make dogs appear as if we are sleepwalking, despite the fact we are entirely awake.

We dogs can display other signs of a neurological disorder, which include us pacing in circles, pressing our head against walls, or vocalizing for no apparent reason.

If you think your pup could be suffering from one of these disorders, then it is incredibly important to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Do dogs sleep the entire night?

The answer to this question is subject to change depending on your dog! Although I’m relatively good at sleeping the majority of the time, some fellow dogs experience separation anxiety at night when they are away from their humans.

Separation anxiety is a behavioral issue that you can train your pup out of, but it will take time and patience. Please don’t get frustrated with your dog if they struggle to be apart from you in the beginning. Take it from me, it’s just because you are their whole world.

As previously mentioned, dogs can also develop disorders that can significantly affect their sleep. So, if your dog is struggling to sleep the whole night through and it is beginning to affect their behavior, then you will need to look further into what is disrupting their sleep.

Why does my dog keep walking around at night?

Your furry friend could be walking around at night for a variety of reasons. This could be as simple as not being able to access a nice patch of grass to pee on or could be something more significant.

Whether your pup is experiencing a neurological disorder that is confusing them or is causing them to become more senile or they simply don’t have enough water, then it is your responsibility to figure out why they aren’t settled at night.

In Summary

In conclusion, we dogs do not sleepwalk. However, if your dog is showing signs of the abnormal behavior that I’ve described above, then it could be an indicator of a more serious issue.

It is essential that you are in tune with your dog’s behavior to ensure that they are receiving the care and support that they need. After all, we’re man’s best friend!