What Do Dogs Dream About When They Cry?

golden retriever toy

Just the other day I was curled up on the couch watching the television when I heard a strange sound coming from my owner.

I care a lot about my owner, so when I first heard it, I panicked that something was wrong with them. But instead of jumping into action, I waited a moment to see if the strange noise would stop. 

But it didn’t. And after some close observation, I realized that I recognized that noise. It’s the same noise that I make sometimes when I am sleeping, something that my owner and the other humans call ‘snoring’.

When I’m sleeping I sometimes make other noises than this, and normally when this happens my owner shakes me awake and suddenly I’m back in reality. 

When this happens, my owner makes a big fuss of me and asks if I’m okay, which is always a strange question because evidently, I am. But when I heard my owner making that ‘snoring’ noise, I understood the panic that they feel when I make strange noises in my sleep. 

Today I thought I’d tell you all about what we dogs dream about when we cry so that you never have to feel that worried feeling again.

What do Dogs Dream about when they Cry?

Although many humans do not realize it, we dogs are very similar to them. Especially when it comes to sleeping habits and patterns.

You will often find humans talking or making whimpering noises in their sleep, and we dogs do the same thing. 

As I am not a human, I can’t tell you much about why they cry in their sleep, but I can tell you why we dogs do it. I’ve even spoken with some of my closest doggy friends to check that they dream about the same thing as me. 

When we dogs dream, our minds tend to take us back to something that we experienced during our waking hours on that day.

If my lovely owners have taken me on a long walk I often dream about running about and exploring new areas, and if I’ve seen any of my friends I often dream about playing with them. Sometimes I even dream of cuddling up with my owner and eating treats. 

I’ve heard my owner mention that when they make upset noises in their sleep it is because they are having a bad dream. But that isn’t what happens with us dogs.

We don’t really have bad dreams, instead, we cry in our sleep when we are in a very deep slumber. This is why it is very disorientating when our owners awake us from what they think is a ‘bad dream’ because normally we were enjoying that dream.

As well as making crying noises, we dogs also often make whimpering noises, and will sometimes even growl or bark in our sleep. If you hear us making these noises there is no need to worry because we are simply enjoying our dream, so all you need to do is let us sleep. 

How do you know if your Dog is having a Bad Dream?

Even though dogs and human beings sleep similarly, the things that we dream about are very different. This is why it is very easy to misinterpret your dog enjoying his dream as your dog having a bad dream. I know that my owner often does this. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about what dogs dream about, but as I have said we only really dream about good things that we have experienced during the day.

It is very rare for us to have a bad dream. But when we do, there are some signs that we are not enjoying the dream that we are in, however, unfortunately, they are often very similar to the signs that we are enjoying our dream. So it can be tricky to tell the difference. 

When I am enjoying my dream I tend to make crying noises, similar to those that I make when I want my owner to throw my ball or make a fuss of me. I also sometimes kick my legs if I’m dreaming of running, and I have sometimes even barked (although my owner says that that’s very rare). 

But when I’m having a bad dream, which is very rare, my cries often turn to whines and I make noises similar to the ones that I make when my owner leaves to go to work or I have to go to the vets. I’m embarrassed to say that on one occasion I have even growled in my sleep which must have frightened my owner. 

However, if you are considering waking your dog from what you think is a ‘bad dream’ remember that not all dreams stay bad and they often turn good. 

Is it Bad to Wake a Dog having a Nightmare?

Even though my owner often wakes me from my sleep, please remember that we dogs don’t like it.

Think about how you feel when we wake you up first thing in the morning, that’s exactly how we feel when you wake us up. Even if you think you are waking us up from a nightmare. 

There is an old saying that goes ‘let sleeping dogs lie’, and this saying is true. Instead of waking your dog up, you should leave them to sleep regardless of what sort of dream you think they may be having. 

If we are in a very deep sleep, being suddenly awoken can be incredibly disorientating and can cause us dogs to act out of character as we are still in the dreamland mentally.

We dogs never want to harm our owners, but when you suddenly wake us up this can occasionally occur. So you should try to never wake your dog up when they are sleeping, even if they are having a nightmare. We really don’t like it. 


In short, we dogs often dream about things that have happened during the day while we sleep, this can often result in cries of excitement or the occasional whimper depending on how the day has gone.

But as long as you don’t wake us up from our sleep then everything is okay.