Should I Wake My Dog Up If He’s Crying In His Sleep


Dogs are known for their vivid dreams, and it’s not uncommon to hear them whimpering, barking, or even crying in their sleep. As a responsible pet owner, you may wonder if you should wake your dog up when you hear these distressing sounds. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore this common concern and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Understanding Canine Sleep Patterns

Before we delve into whether you should wake your dog up when they’re crying in their sleep, let’s first understand the sleep patterns of our furry friends.

1. The Sleep Cycle

Dogs, like humans, go through sleep cycles, which include both rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, dogs experience intense brain activity, similar to when humans dream. This is when your dog may exhibit various behaviors, such as twitching, paddling their paws, or making noises.

2. Dreams and Emotions

Research suggests that dogs can experience dreams and emotions during REM sleep. They may be reliving experiences from their day or simply dreaming about chasing squirrels in the park. These dreams can evoke a range of emotions, including happiness, fear, or even sadness.

To Wake or Not to Wake: That Is the Question

Now that we have a better understanding of canine sleep, let’s address the central question: Should you wake your dog up if they’re crying in their sleep?

3. The Case for Waking Them Up

Pros of Waking Your Dog

  • Comfort and Reassurance: If your dog is having a particularly distressing dream and seems inconsolable, waking them up can provide comfort and reassurance. Your presence can quickly soothe their anxiety.
  • Medical Concerns: In some cases, crying during sleep may indicate underlying medical issues, such as pain or discomfort. Waking your dog up allows you to assess their condition and seek medical attention if necessary.

4. The Case for Letting Them Sleep

Pros of Letting Your Dog Sleep

  • Natural Sleep Process: Just like humans, dogs need uninterrupted sleep to go through their natural sleep cycles. Waking them up too frequently can disrupt this process, leading to sleep deprivation.
  • Dreams Are Normal: It’s important to remember that dreaming is a normal part of a dog’s sleep cycle. Many dogs vocalize during dreams without experiencing distress. Waking them up unnecessarily may not be in their best interest.

Signs to Watch For

5. Signs of Distress

If you’re uncertain whether your dog is having a distressing dream or is genuinely in distress, here are some signs to watch for:

  • Intense Whimpering or Whining: If your dog’s cries are particularly intense and sound like they’re in pain, it’s worth investigating.
  • Restlessness: If your dog is thrashing around and seems unable to settle, this could be a sign of a troubling dream.
  • Panting and Rapid Breathing: Excessive panting and rapid breathing during sleep can indicate anxiety or discomfort.

6. Signs of Normal Dreaming

Conversely, here are signs that suggest your dog is likely experiencing a normal dream:

  • Subdued Whimpers: Mild whimpers and soft vocalizations are often associated with non-distressing dreams.
  • Twitching or Paw Movements: If your dog is twitching or moving their paws gently, they may be engaged in a playful dream.

Assessing the Situation

7. The Importance of Context

Before deciding whether to wake your dog up, it’s essential to consider the context.

  • Recent Experiences: Think about your dog’s recent experiences. Have they encountered a situation that could be causing distress in their dream? For example, a visit to the vet or a loud thunderstorm might be affecting their sleep.
  • Frequency: Is this a one-time occurrence, or does your dog frequently cry during sleep? Frequent distress could be a cause for concern.

8. Environment and Comfort

Ensure that your dog’s sleeping environment is comfortable and safe. Providing a cozy bed, dim lighting, and a quiet space can contribute to more peaceful sleep.

What the Experts Say

9. Veterinarian Perspective

We reached out to Dr. Sarah Thompson, a renowned veterinarian, for her insights on this topic. According to Dr. Thompson, “In most cases, it’s best not to wake your dog up if they’re crying during sleep. Dogs, like humans, have dreams, and these dreams are a normal part of their sleep cycle. However, if the crying seems unusually intense or persistent, it’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.”

10. Canine Behavior Specialist Advice

We also spoke with Jane Wilson, a canine behavior specialist, who offered her perspective. She stated, “Dogs can have vivid dreams, just like us. It’s important to trust their natural sleep process. If your dog is occasionally crying during sleep, it’s usually nothing to worry about. However, if it becomes a nightly occurrence or if the crying is accompanied by other signs of distress, consult with a professional to rule out any behavioral or medical issues.”



Here are some frequently asked questions about whether you should wake your dog up if they’re crying in their sleep, along with concise answers.

1: Can Dogs Have Nightmares?

Answer: Yes, dogs can have nightmares, which may lead to crying or whining during sleep. This is a normal part of their sleep cycle.

2: Should I Wake My Dog Up if They’re Whimpering in Their Sleep?

Answer: It’s generally best not to wake your dog up if they’re whimpering during sleep, as it could disrupt their natural sleep process. However, assess the situation for signs of distress.

3: What If My Dog Cries During Sleep Every Night?

Answer: If your dog cries during sleep every night or shows signs of distress, consult with a veterinarian or a canine behavior specialist to rule out underlying issues.

4: Are There Any Medical Conditions that Can Cause Crying During Sleep?

Answer: Yes, certain medical conditions, such as pain, arthritis, or anxiety, can lead to crying or restlessness during sleep. Consult with a vet if you suspect a medical issue.

5: Can I Comfort My Dog Without Waking Them Up?

Answer: Yes, you can offer comfort to your dog without waking them up. Speak to them softly or gently stroke their back to provide reassurance.

6: Is It Okay to Wake My Dog Up If They Seem Distressed?

Answer: If your dog appears to be in extreme distress during a dream, it’s acceptable to gently wake them up to provide comfort.

7: Can I Train My Dog to Sleep Peacefully?

Answer: Positive reinforcement training can help improve your dog’s sleep behavior. Consult with a professional dog trainer for guidance.

8: Should I Adjust My Dog’s Diet to Improve Their Sleep?

Answer: Diet can affect sleep, so consult with a veterinarian to ensure your dog’s nutritional needs are met for healthy sleep patterns.

9: Are There Any Home Remedies for Dogs with Frequent Nightmares?

Answer: Creating a calming bedtime routine and providing a comfortable sleeping environment can help reduce the frequency of nightmares.

10: How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Having a Bad Dream?

Answer: Signs of a bad dream in dogs may include intense crying, restlessness, and rapid breathing. Evaluate the situation based on these cues.


Sweet Dreams for Your Furry Companion

In conclusion, while it’s natural to be concerned when your dog cries in their sleep, it’s important to trust their sleep process and instincts. In most cases, waking them up may not be necessary and could disrupt their sleep cycle. However, if the crying is persistent, intense, or accompanied by other concerning signs, consulting with a veterinarian or canine behavior specialist is advisable.

Remember to create a comfortable sleeping environment for your furry friend, maintain a consistent bedtime routine, and provide them with the love and care they need. By doing so, you can ensure that your beloved companion enjoys sweet dreams and restful nights.


It’s crucial to approach this situation with patience and empathy for your dog’s well-being. If you have concerns about your dog’s sleep patterns or behavior, seeking professional guidance is always a wise decision. Your dog’s health and happiness are worth the extra effort and care.

Answer ( 1 )


    Should I Wake My Dog Up If He’S Crying In His Sleep

    Your dog wakes up crying in the middle of the night, and you’re left to wonder: Should I wake him up? It’s a tough question for dog owners and, unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules. It depends on what your dog is crying about and whether it’s something that can be helped by human intervention. Even if you don’t need to intervene at all!

    It can be hard to tell if your dog is crying in his sleep and needs you to wake him up or just having a really strange dream.

    When you’re sleeping, it’s easy to know when you need help. You’ll wake up crying or calling out for someone. Your dog doesn’t have this luxury–he can’t tell you that he needs someone to come wake him up because of his dream.

    The best way to tell if your dog is crying in his sleep is by observing him carefully while he sleeps. Look at his face: Is he making expressions that show pain? If so, then this could be an indication that something is wrong and he needs help waking up so that he can get some medical attention from a veterinarian (or at least get water). If there are no visible signs of distress on the outside of their body (i.e., no open wounds), then it’s likely just their brain trying desperately to process information from their dreams into something understandable once again after waking up from REM sleep cycles where these processes happen naturally as part of biological function rather than conscious effort–which would explain why many people report having vivid dreams about things that never actually happened during those periods!

    Crying can indicate that your dog doesn’t feel safe in his resting place, which can happen if he has an injury, is too hot or cold, or is suffering from a medical condition.

    If you hear your dog crying in his sleep, it’s important to check for injuries or other medical conditions that could be causing him pain.

    • Is there an injury? If so, what kind of injury is it? An injured dog will often cry out as he moves around and tries to find a comfortable spot to lie down. He may also cry if he’s experiencing pain but can’t get up because of the injury (for example, if he has broken bones).
    • Is your pup too hot or cold? Dogs who are too warm tend not only to pant heavily but also sweat on their paws and belly–and these damp areas can cause discomfort when they lie down on them during sleep! If this sounds familiar with your pet, consider investing in one of those cooling mats like we reviewed here:

    Some dogs are more vocal than others.

    Some dogs are more vocal than others. Some dogs may be more vocal at night than during the day, while others are more likely to cry when they’re alone in their crate or kennel. Certain breeds tend to be more vocal than others, such as terriers and hounds.

    If your dog is crying and you’re not sure why (or if it’s even important), there are a few ways you can figure out what’s going on:

    • Watch him closely for changes in behavior throughout the day; this will help you pinpoint when he becomes upset or anxious.
    • If your dog has separation anxiety, try giving him something new to do while he waits for you at home–like playing with toys or eating food from his bowl.
    • Observe how often the behavior occurs; some behaviors happen only once or twice a week while others occur every day.

    If your dog is sleeping in a crate and crying it could be because he feels trapped.

    If your dog is sleeping in a crate and crying it could be because he feels trapped. Dogs are pack animals, so they like to feel connected to their owners when they sleep. This can be difficult if your dog is used to sleeping next to you at night but now has been put in a crate by himself while everyone else sleeps soundly nearby.

    If your dog is sleeping in an unfamiliar environment or one that he doesn’t like, this could also cause him distress when he wakes up from his nap and realizes he’s not where he wants to be–and most likely with no way out!

    Before waking your dog up at night make sure that the reason for his crying is something that can be helped by human intervention

    Before you decide to wake the dog up, make sure that there’s a reason for his crying. If he’s just dreaming, it’s best to let him sleep. If he has a medical condition or is in pain, it is important to wake him up so that you can take care of him and get him help.

    In conclusion, it’s important to know when your dog is crying in his sleep and needs your help. If he’s hurt or sick, then it’s best to get him checked out by a vet as soon as possible. If not, then try some of these tips before waking him up at night:

    -Check for any signs of pain or discomfort (like limping, bleeding from the mouth, etc.)

    -Make sure that he isn’t being bothered by something in his environment.

    -Try giving him a treat before going to bed to see if that helps him fall asleep.

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