Do Animals Dream?

Rori Hornung
2 min readFeb 8, 2021
Photo by Joshua Chun on Unsplash

Although it is impossible to prove that animals dream, there is some very convincing evidence available to support the idea that they do. First of all, after studying the electrical activity patterns in the REM stage of sleep of animals, scientists found that they were very similar to the ones of humans. Almost all mammals and birds that were studied appear to go into this stage, which directly corresponds with dreaming. Therefore, if the patterns show that humans are dreaming, it is very likely that it means the same for animals.

We can also look at physical evidence to further support the theory that just like humans, animals dream in their sleep. Dog and cat owners, have you ever seen a paw twitch as if to run or heard a growl escape your pet’s mouth during slumber? These could be easy indicators that your animal is having some sort of dream. And after a study done in 2007 by MIT scientists, there is a good chance they are thinking of their daily lives and activities. Recording neurons in their brains during maze runs and while sleeping, the researchers concluded that the rats dreamt of running the maze they were previously doing.

Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

The same type of experiment was also conducted on songbirds, and scientists found that they sing in their sleep. Just as humans dream of a day at work or school, it seems as if animals dream of their usual days. There are still so many unknowns concerning this topic, such as: do animals remember their dreams? Or can they even distinguish between them and reality? Maybe one day we will have the technology to confirm this question, but for now it is safe to assume that animals can and do dream.

“Do Animals Dream?” EarthSky, 7 Feb. 2019, earthsky.org/earth/animal-dreams#:~:text=Magazine%20for%20Kids.-,Do%20animals%20dream%3F,and%20birds%20do%20indeed%20dream.

Goldman, Jason G. “What Do Animals Dream about?” BBC Future, BBC, 24 Apr. 2014, www.bbc.com/future/article/20140425-what-do-animals-dream-about.

--

--