There's nothing cuter than a puppy dreaming. Their little legs and mouths twitch, and if you're lucky, their tail wags (objectively the cutest thing that can happen). We humans love to imagine what our dogs dream about. That got us thinking: at what age do puppies start dreaming?
Dog dreams are a difficult thing to study, but scientists believe that dogs do dream, and that in fact their dreams are similar to ours. We think that, like us, dogs' dreams replay moments from their day. When you see a dog's legs twitch in their sleep, they're in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep, according to the Sleep Foundation.
The American Kennel Club further explains that dogs may have different types of dreams depending on their breed. For example, a pointer may dream about hunting for game, and may even point in his sleep!
We still don't know a lot about the specifics of puppy dreams, beyond the fact that they are the best thing that exists. But here's what we do know: Though more research is needed, it appears that puppies begin to dream very early in life. Owners have observed puppies twitching in their sleep, indicating REM sleep and possibly dreams, as early as two weeks old. When they're this young, puppies are in the neonatal phase and sleep up to 90% of the time, giving us lots of time to observe them. Puppies in the neonatal phase also spend roughly half their sleep time in REM sleep, whereas adult dogs spend about a quarter of their sleep time in REM. This gives puppies more opportunity to dream, although what they could be dreaming about at two weeks old is still an adorable mystery.
According to Vetstreet, puppies and senior dogs dream more frequently than dogs at other ages. We don't yet know why that is, though puppies and seniors do tend to sleep more than their "middle-aged" counterparts, which might have something to do with it.
If you observe your puppy (or your dog of any age) dreaming, the best thing to do is let him or her sleep. Sometimes it's tempting to wake your dog up if they're whimpering or crying in their sleep, but waking them up disturbs their REM sleep, which they need to feel rested in the morning. Dreaming is a healthy and adorable part of a dog's life.