Do you ever wake up in the morning and find that your dog is twitching in his sleep? This can be a bit alarming if you’re not sure what’s going on, but fortunately, it’s usually nothing serious. Why is my dog twitching in sleep? We will look at the most common reasons why dogs twitch in their sleep, discuss how to deal with this if it becomes a problem.
- Why Is My Dog Twitching?
- Do Dogs Dream?
- Do Dogs Twitch While Dreaming?
- Do Dogs Twitch While They’re Awake?
- What if My Dog Is Having a Seizure?
- Should You Wake Your Dog Up If They Twitch in Their Sleep?
- When Should You Call the Vet?
Why Is My Dog Twitching?
There can be a variety of causes for your dog to twitch while sleeping, but the most typical reason is that it has a dream. Dogs, like humans, can have frightening dreams that cause them to wriggle and shift about.
Twitching can also be caused by a dog having a minor seizure. Epilepsy is quite common in dogs, and it may produce a variety of symptoms, including twitching. If your dog has a seizure, he will generally exhibit other symptoms such as convulsions, drooling, and loss of consciousness.
Common reasons for dog twitching include:
- Active dreaming
- Growth development
- Anxiety disorders
- Other noises, such as explosions, thunderstorms, or encounters with strangers
- Health conditions, such as epilepsy or diabetes
- Muscle stiffness
- Dog joint pain or arthritis
- Insect bites or stings
- Exposure to toxins
Do Dogs Dream?
Dogs dream, and like humans, they may experience frightening dreams that cause them to twitch and flip about. Dreams occur during REM sleep, which is the stage of a dog’s sleep cycle associated with dreaming. Dogs go through four or five REM cycles per night on average, and the breed of the dog determines the length of each cycle.
Do Dogs Twitch While Dreaming?
When a dog twitches while having a regular sleep, it indicates that they have a good dream. Dogs, like people, go through the same sleep stages, including short-wave sleep and rapid eye movement. When your dog dreams and experiences normal sleep twitching, it may appear to be kicking the air.
Dogs sleep for around 12 to 14 hours each day, on average. It’s typical and natural for dogs to twitch their tail or the rest of their bodies during the sleeping phases — even bark. Consider this as your dog expressing themselves in their sleep.
Dogs twitch while sleeping in terror, too. This is tough to witness, but they advise not waking your dog unless it’s clear that they’re distressed. If you must wake them, call their name softly until they respond. If your dog is having night terrors, don’t touch it; it may bite you.
Do Dogs Twitch While They’re Awake?
A dog’s muscles can spasm rapidly at night and during the day. A twitch in an otherwise healthy dog is typically nothing to be concerned about, especially if they are senior dogs. A dog’s twitch may be caused by environmental or situational stimuli like thunder or strangers. If the twitching stops when the trigger is gone, your pup was most likely reacting to the current scenario.
A dog’s twitching is a sign of nervousness, much like their human counterparts. Alternatively, if they’re experiencing separation anxiety, they may do so as a nervous habit. If your dog has general anxiety during a dog sleep, it may also shake or tremble. You and other responsible dog owners may learn to manage these problems better and make your dog more comfortable by consulting with your veterinarian.
What if My Dog Is Having a Seizure?
If you, as pet parents, believe your dog is having a seizure, it’s critical to bring them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Episodes are pretty common in adult dogs and can produce various symptoms, such as twitching. If your dog has a seizure, he is likely to exhibit other symptoms such as convulsions, drooling, and loss of consciousness.
During a seizure, your dog may fall to the ground and paddle its legs. They could also chomp their teeth, whine, urinate, or defecate. Some senior dogs tend to have seizures that will last only a few seconds, while others can experience them for up to two minutes. Afterward, your dog may seem disoriented or tired and could even collapse.
If you think your dog is having a seizure, it is essential to stay calm and keep them safe. Do not try to restrain them, as this could cause them to injure themselves. Move any sharp or dangerous objects out of the way, and turn on a light if it’s not too bright. Time the seizure, and if it lasts longer than five minutes, call your vet or an emergency animal hospital.
Should You Wake Your Dog Up If They Twitch in Their Sleep?
Dreaming about a pleasant activity is one thing, but what about when your dog seems distressed during sleep? Those whimpers, tiny howls, and barks tug at our heartstrings, and many owners are tempted to wake their dogs from a possible nightmare.
This may not be the best idea. There’s a reason for the adage, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” Disrupting a dog during REM sleep can result in severe consequences. Touching a dog when he dreams may startle him and cause him to bite or scratch involuntarily.
If you feel the need to wake a sleeping dog, it’s better to call his name loudly or make a noise, such as dropping an object on the floor. Then you can gently reassure him if he’s startled.
When Should You Call the Vet?
If a dog is experiencing full-body tremors that last longer than a quick spasm or make a dog’s body go rigid, it may be having a seizure. In these scenarios, you should immediately call an emergency vet. Other signs of an episode include:
- Foaming at the mouth
- Passing a bowel movement
- Seizing dogs limbs
Before having a seizure, your dog may seem anxious or restless. During a seizure episode, your dog may also keep their eyes wide open, whether they’re asleep or awake, and exhibit a “deer in headlights” look, and they will often act confused or dazed after the event. It’s also important to recognize that seizures don’t always have a classic appearance.
Sometimes older dogs can manifest as focal tics or tremors; therefore, looking for other indications of seizure activity, such as the described behavioral changes and involuntary muscle movements, can help decide whether or not your dog has experienced a seizure versus a normal muscle twitch. If you’re ever suspicious of seizure activity, you should contact your vet right away for guidance.