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What do Dogs Dream about when they Cry?

Crying or whimpering in your dog’s sleep could indicate they’re dreaming about something that causes distress or fear. Perhaps your dog dreams about a recent traumatic, painful, or scary experience. Dogs experience happiness, stress, and illness; their dreams often reflect their daily lives. Dogs often cry, howl, and growl in their sleep.

Key Takeaways

A dog crying when sleeping probably means that he is dreaming about a painful experience. He may remember something stressful or scary, or he is simply having a nightmare.

You can wake your dog, give him a soft pat, or play calm and relaxing music to soothe him. Don’t yell or shout if your dog is crying while sleeping.

Do Dogs Have Nightmares?

Dogs can have nightmares. When your dog snarls, growls, or cries out, resist the urge to wake them. Dogs waking up from a nightmare may not immediately understand where they are and lash out impulsively. The ability of dogs to construct fearful, imaginative monsters do not exist, so when your dog has a nightmare, they remember a traumatic event.

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Causes Of Dogs Crying In The Dream

When a dog whimpers in sleep, it is usually just unconscious communication. Dreaming isn’t the only thing that might trigger this not-so-odd canine behavior.

The following are some possible causes why dogs cry at night while dreaming.


Dogs have dreams. Depending on their size and age, some dogs dream more than others. At night, our dogs process the new information they acquire throughout the day. Your dog may be crying in his sleep due to a nightmare.

Seeking Attention

If your dog is crying, make sure they are sleeping. In that case, they are asking for your attention. If crying, a dog may need food or water or want affection and love.


Your dog may cry in their sleep because they are in pain or distress. You may not be aware that your dog has an internal injury. The dog may have pain due to some infection or inflammation in his body.


The dogs also have depression, separation anxiety, fears, traumas, and phobias. Their anxiety may be triggered by scary dreams or nightmares, resulting in crying or whimpering.


Your dog may cry while sleeping because of the seizures. Apart from epilepsy, electrolyte imbalances, low blood sugar, cancer, brain tumors, or poisoning can cause seizures.

Puppy Behavior

In sleep, puppies whine and whimper. After being separated from their mothers and littermates, puppies are noisy for the first week or two. When pups dream, they whimper for attention and company.


A dog’s whining and whimpering without apparent reason can signify boredom. Some dogs may express these emotions while sleeping or with closed eyes, making it appear like they are whimpering.

REM behavior disorder

With REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, your dog’s movements aren’t controlled during sleep. In REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, they act out what they are experiencing in their dreams. There may be signs of your dog being awake, including suddenly moving, bumping into objects, barking, or crying.

Improper Training

When dogs aren’t trained to stop whining and whimpering during the night, they will do so for the rest of their lives. It is common for dogs to stop crying during dreams as they age, but some do not.

What to do if the dog is crying in sleep?

Finding your dog sleeping fitfully is disturbing. It is possible to get it out of that state. Here’s what you need to know:

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Consider waking up your dog. Carefully wake up your dog if he is restless or crying while dreaming. He may attack you, so be prepared.
  2. Softly call their name. Instead of getting closer to your pet, call his name softly. Call him several times, gradually increasing the volume as you go. Consult your veterinarian; If he shakes uncontrollably.
  3. Watch your dog until he wakes up. If your dog isn’t shaking or drooling, it’s probably not having a nightmare. Let him sleep through his dream in this case. Once the nightmare ends, he will wake up.
  4. Relax your pet with soft music. Play soft music to calm him down. When your pet wakes up, he may feel confused after having a nightmare.

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How do I help my dog get over a nightmare?

  • Spend plenty of time with your dog. When your dog suffers from anxiety or separation issues, he needs your undivided attention. Pet him, cuddle the dog, and play with him before putting him to bed. Slowly, he will be able to break the habit of crying in bed by being in a calm, comforting mood.
  • Provide him with a comfortable sleeping space. You should provide your dog with a nice, soft, and cozy bed if he is easily scared by loud sounds or storms. He can rest peacefully and soundly, knowing it is his space.
  • Before the dog goes to bed, play some soothing music. Your dog will feel sleepy and quiet when the dog hears a calming sound. A soft, comforting ambiance will keep him away from bad dreams or past traumas.
  • While he is sleeping, give him some cuddle toys. In this way, a puppy will not feel alone, and the toy will be his companion. Even in a new place, it helps to feel safe.
  • Pet them while they sleep. If your old dog is crying or panting at night, pet him immediately. Let him feel calm and composed by rubbing his back gently for a few minutes.
  • In case of a severe health condition, take him to the vet. Whenever your pet has seizures or any other persistent pain, you should take him to the vet for a checkup if the condition persists.

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What do dogs dream about when they have nightmares?

When your dog has a nightmare, they remember a traumatic experience since dogs cannot create fearful, imaginative monsters. Try to make your dog’s sleeping environment more relaxed if the dog suffers from frequent nightmares.

When dogs whimper, what are they dreaming about?

Your dog might whimper in their sleep if they dream about something causing distress or fear. It may be that your dog is dreaming about a recent traumatic, painful, or scary experience.

How bad is it to wake up a dog with a nightmare?

When your dog has a bad dream, it’s best not to disturb them, even though it may be tempting to comfort them. You don’t want to risk your pet lashing out as though still in a dream before they realize they are awake.

Does your dog have nightmares? What are the signs?

If your dog is having a nightmare, you may notice they are growling in their sleep, along with other signs such as moving eyelids and twitching paws. When they are dreaming, you may also hear them bark or howl.

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