Why Do Dogs Bark In Their Sleep?

Do you ever wonder why your dog barks in its sleep?

You’re not alone.

It’s a common question that dog owners have, and a few possible explanations exist.

Keep reading to learn why do dogs bark in their sleep and what it means for their health.

Why Do Dogs Bark In Their Sleep? – The Reasons

white brown dog lying on side and sleeps

To Protect You

Dog barking in sleep can happen for various reasons, including to ward off predators, protect their packmates, and alert other animals to danger.

Dog owners may be worried when they hear their dog bark in its sleep.

Though the dog looks peaceful, barking during rest is entirely normal.

Barking during sleep is believed to have roots in a dog’s ancient evolutionary behavior – it was used to ward off predators, protect packmates, and alert other animals of nearby danger.

Understanding this behavior can help owners create an environment that best fits their dog’s instinctual need for security and comfort.

So next time you catch your pup dozing off only to have a deep bark suddenly interrupt its dreams, remember that even during slumber, dogs communicate in a way that serves their ancestral past.

Because They Dream

picture of white brown dog with a  dreaming bubble

They also do it when they dream, often caused by anxiety or excitement.

Dogs may bark in their sleep just like they do while awake!

This barking is caused by excitement or anxiety, often occurring during dog dreams.

Dogs’ barking sound while sleeping can range from a short Woof! to longer strings of barks and howls.

That can depend on the dogs dream, if it’s a happy dream or if they just have one or more dreams.

Interestingly, dogs don’t usually move much during these dreaming episodes but will usually startle awake as soon as their barking ceases.

This type of dog behavior is best observed in puppies who are deeply absorbed in their dreams and can be pretty entertaining for owners to watch over!

Due To Anxiety

Dogs may appear to sleep peacefully, but anxiety can manifest even in their deepest slumbers.

While a dog is typically quiet while asleep, if they experience anxiety during this time, they may release short barks, excessive barking, or other vocalizations.

That can indicate that underlying stress or worry is present.

The cause of this agitation could be attributed to physical pain or an uncomfortable environment, but studies suggest that bad dreams are also a potential source of distress.

If your dog continues to bark while sleeping, it’s essential to be mindful of situations that may cause them emotional unease and take steps to soothe their anxiety.

Ensure Your Dog is Not In Danger

dark brown dog sleeping on floor

If your dog is barking in its sleep, it is essential to ensure that he is not in danger and that the noise does not bother you or your neighbors.

Dogs are known for their lively, cheerful behavior, but when they bark in their sleep, it can be a cause of concern.

It is essential to ensure that your dog is not in danger while sleeping and that the barking does not become too much of an annoyance for you or your neighbors.

Fortunately, dogs often make noises during REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep), which is natural and not problematic.

However, if the dog barking becomes excessive or disruptive, it’s best to investigate further and explore potential causes.

Reaching out to a vet or experienced pet owner may be beneficial so that you have the necessary peace of mind about your beloved pup’s well-being.

What Should You Do When Your Dog Bark While Sleeping?

white brown dog sleeping on the floor

One of the most frustrating behaviors that many dog owners run into is when their pup starts barking randomly while sleeping.

It can be startling, startlingly loud, and disrupt your sleep or other people in the house.

However, before reprimanding your pet for this behavior, it’s essential to understand why your pup is barking in its sleep.

As you know, most often, dogs bark in their sleep because they’re dreaming about something and trying to alert themselves or another animal to whatever it is they’re dreaming about.

Before taking any action, try to remember what your furry friend was doing right before they started dozing off.

If it was something that made them anxious or excited (like running around outside), this could have intensified those emotions while they were dreaming and led to the barking.

To stop this kind of dreaming (induced barking), practice calming activities with your pup before bedtime.

That could be taking a short walk or giving them a treat.

If these methods don’t work after several tries, it may be time to check with your vet about possible treatments for anxiety or other underlying health issues.

Train Your Dog Not To Brak in Sleep

brown dog face from near sleeping

You can try training your dog not to bark in its sleep by teaching it the “quiet” command or using positive reinforcement when it sleeps through the night without barking.

Training a dog not to bark in its sleep can be a frustrating but achievable task.

If you want to try and teach your pup the “quiet” command, be sure to do so in a calm voice and low tones.

Put just one word into the base; this keeps it straightforward for the pup and will help them understand what they are expected to do.

Offering rewards or small treats after your dog successfully does not bark during their sleep is another way you can use positive reinforcement.

That way, they know when they’ve done something right!

And, of course, make sure you give out plenty of praise too!

Positive reinforcement is essential for teaching your pup anything, giving them confidence and setting them up for success.

Understanding Dog’s Sleep Cycle

A dogs sleep cycle varies greatly between breeds and types of dogs, with some breeds requiring as much as 18 hours of sleep per day while other breeds sleep for less than 12 hours.

Generally, a dog sleeps between 12 and 14 hours but has different sleep cycles throughout the day, where they swap between deep sleep, light sleep, and periods of being alert.

light brown dog sleeping on side looking happy

Deep sleep is important to allow your dog to restore their energy levels and enjoy the natural benefits of sleeping, such as improved cognition, metabolism, and general well-being.

It’s up to us, the owners, to understand our different breed’s sleep needs so that we can provide them with the best environment for them to get sufficient rest each night.

When To Consult Your Vet

Suppose your dog’s barking in its sleep is causing problems for you or your family.

In that case, you may want to consult a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to learn more about stopping the behavior.

Many of us have had experiences of woken up by the sound of barking from our dozing dog.

Though it may seem cute and harmless at first, sometimes these episodes can become a problem if our furry friend barks excessively (during REM sleep mostly) or at inappropriate times.

If you find yourself in this position, seeking professional advice from an experienced veterinarian or animal behaviorist is a great way to tackle the issue.

They will be able to provide valuable information about the cause of your dog’s sleep barking and offer practical strategies to manage and, potentially, stop the behavior altogether.

white pup sleeps on floor

Dogs bark in their sleep (especially in REM sleep) for various reasons, and it is completely normal behavior.

But it is essential to ensure that the noise does not bother you or your neighbors.

You can try training your dog not to bark in its sleep by teaching it the “quiet” command or using positive reinforcement when it sleeps through the night without barking.

Before You Go…

Now you know why dogs bark in their sleep.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Mena Emad, DVM
Mena has a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. His expertise, passion for animal welfare, extensive knowledge, and experience in the field of veterinary medicine make him an excellent resource for our readers.