Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Doggie Nightmares

Filed under: Our Pets,Sid — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’ve spoken before about the ethereal and haunting sounds of my dog when he has a nightmare, but last night topped it all. I was dead asleep. Both of the cats were sleeping on the bed with me and Sid was sleeping in the bedroom. He insists on sleeping by the doorway, no matter how much we entice him to sleep in the bed that we got for him.

He started making those creepy whining noises that signal that he’s dreaming. That’s what woke me up. Because I have finally become accustomed to their eerie and sinister sounds, I was on my way back to sleep when it happened. He barked.

It wasn’t a normal bark that says he’s happy to see our new visitors. It wasn’t the communicative bark that he shares with the many dogs in the neighborhood. It was the terrified bark that came from him when Cory walked into the house in full motorcycle regalia. It was the uneasy and frightened bark that he yelps when we encounter unfriendly dogs in the neighborhood. It’s the bark that wakes you up in the middle of the night wondering who is trying to break into the house.

Maggie jumped so high that she landed on me in terror. Both she and Linda jumped off the bed and hid in the closet. Because I had heard him whimpering in his sleep before the bark, I knew that he had been dreaming, but he didn’t understand. The bark woke him up and he was disoriented and scared. He rushed out of the room, supposedly to check the house for whatever scared him in his dreams. I went back to sleep, nursing claw marks on the back of my legs.

Now, I’m worried. Why does my dog have so many nightmares? We treat him well. Scary men with motorcycle helmets turn out to be fun loving playmates for him in the end. We feed him. He is never disciplined physically. The worst that happens to him are the times when we lock him in the bedroom when workmen are in the house. Why is he haunted in his dreams?

He’s such a good dog that he should only be having dreams of successfully chasing the neighbor’s cat out of our yard and finally catching one of those birds that tease him from the cherry tree. He should dream of playing tug-of-war with Mike until the both of them are so tired that they just sleep together on the thick green grass. There should be no whimpering and there definitely should be no terrified barking in his dreams. I wish he could talk so I could know what his doggie nightmares are about.



  1. We are having the same issues with our new mini American Eski…from the first day we brought her home (about 1 month ago) she has been having these nightmares and it isn’t getting any better, sometime 4 – 6 times a night. We are taking her to the vet tomorrow so hopefully he can shed some light on this for us.

    Comment by Shannon Melnechenko — 2/24/2005 @ 9:03 am

  2. help me- our dog has crazy nightmares- where he jumps, barks, screams, bites, attackes himself, us, our other dog, pillows anything that is in his way- what do i do?

    Comment by stephanie — 12/10/2005 @ 8:47 am

  3. I am glad I stumbled accross this site. I have a puppy I rescued he was definetly neglected and he is having severe nightmares. I am very concerned. I treat him very well. We go to the dog park almost everyday so he and his faithful companion can run free. They play together and cuddle. But he needs to touch me all the time he is not with his little play mate. And at night look out. It is almost every night he starts with a cry, then the legs start shaking and the wimpering, yelping, running. I feel so bad for him. When I try and calm him down he snuggles into me and doesn’t move until the next episode. I am sure this is a nightmare but not sure what to do. I hope your vet has some good advice I can use it. Thanks.

    Comment by Dana — 3/10/2006 @ 5:22 pm

  4. I wound up taking Sparky to the vet and found out he had a low red blood cell count. I was given a supplement to help him and almost immediately his problems went away. It is amazing he is a completely different dog. Here I was thinking he has some phychological issue and it was just a minor blood deficiency. I am not an expert but if your dog is suffering from nightmares it could be something that the vet can help you with by a simple powder supplement. Just thought I would pass this on. Hope it helps.

    Comment by Dana — 4/3/2006 @ 7:39 pm

  5. I have a 6 month old Maltese and it just breaks our hearts to see how frightened out of her sleep she is when she has one of these severe nightmares!! There horrible! I very easily wake her not to upset her more and she is still crying and whimpering while in my hands to comfort her. Otherwise “Brigid” and I are the BEST of bud’s together! She is my handicapp bud. More daughter than worker. LOL. I wish you guys could see her! These nightmares … It breaks my heart for her!! Well I am going to do what Dana said!!! Take her to my Vet and see what he says. Maybe a blood test would be a good start. Thanks Dana. I’d give her my kidney if she needed it!

    Comment by Shelley — 6/27/2006 @ 12:47 pm

  6. Our dog Titus has been having terrible Nightmares, but I can only speculate what they are. Today, in the middle of the day I was on the phone with my husband and he sounded like an injured werewolf. I had to call his name several times to wake him up, and he just kept clinging to me all day. Then I took him to run errands with me and he jumped out of the window of the car to go with me into the store. he has never done that. The funny thing is he never even barks. Although I did notice that he has reaaly bad dreams if he gets into the garbage. He is obsessed with food, but if he manages to eat to much, thats when he has them. I just kinda want to know what do dogs dream about. Is there studies being done on this. Titus is such a blessing. I love him so much.

    Comment by Ngina — 6/29/2006 @ 2:43 pm

  7. We had a terrible time with our Schipperke the other morning. We had let her in and gone back to sleep. She was asleep (I presume) by the bed (and we were asleep too) and she awoke, peed (she is toilet trained) and tore off in pursuit of something, bumping into walls (she is normally extremely very agile), making a blood curdling noise like she was in a fight to the death kind of thing trying to kill something in the house – one side of her head bashed against wall, blood, pee and she was quite beserk! I found her biting the leg of a small table that she had knocked over more pee etc around – I pulled her off gently calling her name and she looked dazed and confused. Afterwards her pupils were very dialated and she went funny and stiff in the body and legs (but still walking) – I was sure she was about to drop dead – but when we rushed her straight to the vet I think it might have been more about concussion with the knock on her head. He checked heart, temp, ears, neck, eyes etc – all normal. She was quiet all day and subdued – but seems ok now.

    I contacted a friend who is a vet and academic at our university. He said ‘I can only guess that it was some sort of epileptic fit or something’similar. There is a thing in cocker spaniels called “spaniel rage” where’they just suddenly go beserk and very aggressive but I have never come’across it professionally. I think Zsa Zsa (our dog) really needs a good checking’out, possibly with a CT scan to rule out any brain lesions. If it was just idiopathic epilepsy (i.e. epilepsy for no apparent reason) it may mean that she has to go on low dose drugs to prevent another recurrence, though many vets will only do this if the fits become fairly regular. lots of dogs are on such medication’.

    So we will monitor her for now, we are hoping it was only a doggie nightmare and that it doesn’t happen again. She is only 2 yrs old and so sweet in nature.

    Comment by Caroline — 7/1/2006 @ 11:46 pm

  8. I have a golden retriever she is 4 and has nightmares almost everytime she shuts her eyes! i have no idea what to do! we care for her better than anyone possibly could! but she sqeals and kicks her legs as she shakes! its scary. every time this happens idk if i should wake her up or let her continue sleeping.

    Comment by ALexia — 8/12/2006 @ 3:14 pm

  9. I just stumbled onto this site. My 9 month old Bichon woke me last night with a nightmare for the first time. It snowed quite a bit yesterday and he liked it but seemed befuddled as well. Then, he went right to sleep in his crate next to my bed. After several hours, he came straight up, yelping like he was hurt and jumping frantically in the crate. I opened the door and he ran out, down the hallway and into the kitchen. He sat down and I picked him up, saying “calm, calm”, a word I use when he gets overly excited. I gave him a small massage, returned him to his crate and he slept the night away. It made me feel bad which caused me to do an internet search where I came upon this site. My basic question was whether dogs actually had nightmares or not. Apparently so……at least I know it’s possible. I’ll check in with the vet but knowing that other well-kept pets experience this was somewhat comforting…don’t know why………

    Comment by Glenda — 12/1/2006 @ 11:17 am

  10. I too have a 4 yr old Golden Retriever that has had nightmarews since he was a pup. My issue with the nightmares (and this is a big issue) is that when I even as much as touch him with my leg while he is sleeping on my bed, he has begun to attack me…it’s very scary. And he does just as all the others have written “becomes very disoriented and scared after he has attacked me. When I say attack, it’s for a few seconds, and has happened 4 times in the last month. Tobe is the most gentle dog in the world as any retriever owner would agree me, but the reason I purchased one was because of their temperment around children and I have 3 little grandsons….I very concerned to have Tobe around them now and it not only breaks my heart, but his as well. I’d like to ask if anyone else has a bird. This is a change in our household the past month….I’m wondering if the bird is pushing him over the edge (Tobe is a totally submissive dog). Would love to hear from anyone.

    Comment by Debbie — 12/5/2006 @ 7:30 pm

  11. This website has been VERY interesting for me to read! I got online today to find out about dogs and nightmares. I have a 9 year old Pom who I’ve had since he was about 8 weeks old. He’s a very happy go lucky little guy and the only thing that makes him scream is the sound of the occassional fire truck. Until, that is, about 4 or so months ago. He started screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night. I would call his name and try and calm him down, but nothing seemed to help until he woke up. At first, I didn’t know what it was…had no idea that dogs had nightmares…go figure! But that seems to be the case and he seems to do it on a weekly basis now. It kills me to think that he’s having these dreams that are so terrifying to him…can’t imagine why…he’s my spoiled little “Brownie”! Lives the good life! So it looks like he’s going to start getting a daily vitamin in hopes to help with all of this. I read what Dena said on April 3rd and it sounds like it’s worth a shot! Thanks, Dena!!!

    Comment by Christy P. — 12/9/2006 @ 3:54 pm

  12. Quinn, our black lab mix rescue from Animal Control of Seattle has positively terrible nightmares usually multiple times each night. I thought his rotten dreams which clearly cause him severe mental anguish would eventually fade to nothing as he aged, and realized he had a comfortable new home and family to protect him, not so. Since we brought Quinn home at his age of 3 months to his current age of 1.25 years, his nightmares have become less frequent and only slightly less intense, but I feel they are here to stay.

    I thought Quinn’s food could be causing his crying and shrieking but I changed his food many, many times with no success – we settled on Innova by the way. I took Quinn to his vet to get blood panel tests taken on two different occasions – he is fine, no red blood cell or other issues. My conclusion is that someone did something horrible to him before he came to us – Quinn is an otherwise well adjusted, gently trained, dog park dog albeit a little too meek, and a little too friendly. Best wishes, Quinn’s mom.

    Comment by Quinn's Mom — 1/10/2007 @ 1:41 pm

  13. help me!!! i have had my Maltese, Alexa since she was 7 weeks or so and now she is going on 11. All of a sudden she has been having terrible nightmares, I dont no what to do!!! I cant wake her! She screams and crys and moves all over the bed , I pick her up and hold her till she stops, Alexa was just diagnosed with a heart disorder and she cant get excited or it will make her heart worse, these nightmares cause her to become were excited! I dont no what to do I cry every time she has one, Im so scared for her life! PLEASE HELP ME!!! email me please ciesiulk@canisius.edu please

    Comment by kristie — 1/24/2007 @ 8:42 pm

  14. Many of the questions here come from readers who have dogs that would be very active in there natural settings. These kind of behaviors can happen when a dog is not being fullfilled with his every day life, lacks purpose … Is suffering from anxiety, not knowing his place in the pack… Long leashed walks may help, ensure the dog is following you and not the other way around. I have also seen this in dogs who are exhausted tired, in that situation though the disturbing dreams stop when normal activity is resumed. Regards

    Comment by John — 2/20/2007 @ 8:27 am

  15. Please help! My Jack Russel Terrier (Bess) goes into such a deep sleep. She starts to twitch and whimper and when i try to wake her she is completely floppy and her head just lolls around like a dead dog and she wont wake up. I literally have to slap her and shake her and sometimes its a couple of minutes before she regains consciousness, then she is a bit groggy for a while afterwards, it is so frightening. What is happening to her?

    Comment by lyn edwards — 3/13/2007 @ 3:02 am

  16. I have a 5 year old boxer who seems to have nightmares too! She snores frequently also. My main concern is during her “nightmare” she whimpers and her whole body jerks up and down out of control. Surprisingly it does not wake her up. Sounds familiar to anyone?

    Comment by Chelle — 3/19/2007 @ 9:16 pm

  17. Last night, Licorish our maltese poodle cross had an absolutely horrible, what we assume was a nightmare… she woke us out of a dead sleep with a blood curdling howl/squeel/wail that was absolutely indescribable. Her body was stiff as a board and her eyes shut tight, when she finally came to after a few minutes of patting and shouting at her to wake up, we realized she had peed all over the place and was laying in it…she was also very sweaty.

    is this just a nightmare? or something more… this same episode occurred abuot a year ago, and again she wet the bed… im really worried.

    Comment by Trisha — 5/19/2007 @ 1:56 am

  18. My dog wakes up from a nap on the sofa, usually at night while we are watching tv, and starts to shake and tries to hide under our legs. She shakes and acts scared for about 20 minutes and then it’s over. Does anybody else have this experience with their dog?

    Comment by deborah — 5/23/2007 @ 4:24 pm

  19. I have a 1 year old puppy Buster! We ahve had him since March, and he has a great life but at night about 3 or 4 times a week when he gets into a really deep sleep, he starts to cry and almost scream in his sleep. My boyfriend wakes him up from these nightmares, but it takes a while.

    Comment by Katie — 7/16/2007 @ 2:53 pm

  20. i just had a most unsettling event last night, where my 1+ year old mini chihuahua woke us with what sounded like her being attakced by something. just blood curdling barking and crying.

    we took her into bed with us for a while, she was dispondent and even yellped a few times when she moved, or if we moved her…but not consitant with any palpations …seemed almost a lingering fear yelp. we walked her outside, her reflexes seemed off..if we stopped walking, she would just stop and sink. she threw up..all clear, an hour later…we also tried to “snap her out of it” by tempting her with her favorite game of fetch, which she responded to,but only for moment, as if she couldn’t quite manage it.

    we ended up at the emergency vet clinic….they seemed to be at a loss..even though he was still yelping at the occasional movement..and was shaking all over … they gave me a mild sedative…

    he seemed to think the dream was unrelated…that the crying and barking might have been a pain response???? but i don;t get why she would cry as if she were fighting for her life if she had a spasm of pain..and then act totally traumatized for hours…

    ANYONE????? i am so worried about her this morning. .. the only other suspicious thing, is that the day before..at a firends house, my little olive was wandering around as she always does..my friend was suddenly like.”oh no, i forgot my landlord put down rat poison pellets in teh closet…” and surr enough olive had gone in there…we called my normal vet…and induced vomiting..where she showed absolutely NO signs of having the poision in her system…

    the vet thinks this is also unrelated to last night’s event..but of course…could it be some rare thing where the green/blue poison might have assimilated super quickly somehow…she is only 2.7 lbs after all….and this ccould actually be some wierrd pain response due to the intended breakdown of the blood clotting mechanisms that the poision creates?

    i am so at a loss..and the vet last night was as well.

    anyone who can help???

    Comment by lara — 8/10/2007 @ 11:10 am

  21. My 16 month old lab is having – what I think- to be horrible nightmares. He is sound asleep, starts twitching and moaning, then he lets out a bark that sounds like he is in pain. My other dogs have dreamed and it was no biggie, but this big boy has some crazy nightmares. I have had him since he was 8 wks old and have brought him up with love and tenderness. I dont know what could be so scary in his dreams. I am not sure what to do. Does anyone else deal with what sounds like your dog is in pain? Perhaps he isnt, it just sounds like he is. Any help is appreciated thx Michelle L Thomison

    Comment by Michelle — 10/29/2007 @ 11:14 am

  22. I bought my dog from a local pet store and since we’ve had her she’s had nightmares, since she was the only puppy in the cage I thought maybe it was because she was so young [she was only 4 weeks old]and been taken away from her mother. They’ve slowly died down now but every now and again she begans to have them again. It does scare me, if it continues again I’ll be taking her to the vet.

    Comment by Nadia — 11/14/2007 @ 11:09 pm

  23. Our three year old German Shepherd mix was the last survivor of a litter of puppies in a dry river bed. I met her at the animal shelter where I volunteer, and we have had her for 2.5 years.

    She wakes us up with nightmares about five nights per week. I have tried taking her for extra long walks, but it hasn’t helped. She gets an adequate supply of healthy dog food. She loves chewing beef bones and rawhide bones, but these do not help. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Comment by Vincent Massi — 12/2/2007 @ 2:11 pm

  24. I have an 7 week old chocolate lab/chow puppy. Last week he woke from sleeping with a terrified cry and acted like something had scared him. Last night this happened 3 different times and he acts like he is looking for something or someone. He wants to be around me but doesn’t want me to hold him. I read the post before me and if anyone can shed some light please do so. Thanks.

    Comment by Joyce Williams — 1/5/2008 @ 9:00 am

  25. Our 8 year-old Rat Terrier has begun waking in a screaming fit every night for the past week. He has been shrilling and screaming in a manner that is eerily human. It’s not simply a bark or a whimper we’re talking about here. My wife and I have to grab him and shake him to wake him up.

    It is also of note that he has suddenly stopped sleeping in his kennel and wanders around at night, sometimes sleeping in the bathroom on a towel or something to that affect.

    He has had glaucoma for a long time and is completely blind now, but it has not really slowed him down before and I don’t think it’s related.

    We are taking him to the vet tomorrow.

    Comment by Madphill — 2/18/2008 @ 10:15 pm

  26. I have a 6 year old English Bully, who recently started having what appears to be nightmares. He usually jumps in bed with me and sleeps for awhile and goes somewhere else for the rest of the night. The other night I woke up to him screaming on my bed and he bit my hand when I touched him. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and that freaked me out, so I knew he wasn’t aware.

    Now just last night while watching tv, he woke up while sleeping on the couch screaming and yelping. This isn’t a typical whine or oops that was my toe you stepped on scream, but rather a horrible extremely frightening series of noises. He walked right by me screaming, but when I touched him he yelped.

    I started to think what could possibly be happening to him when it hit me that I did the same thing when I was little. I would have horrible nightmares and wake up still having the dream and start talking nonesense yelling thinking the world was going to end.

    This time when he woke up screaming on the couch, I happily started calling him by his nicknames and used the “voice” we all use to talk to our dogs with and sure enough he started to calm down and soon began waging his tail (nub). He jumped up and gave me a kiss and went back to sleep at my feet. I am going to look into some vitamins though, can’t see how that could be a abd thing anyway. Thanks for the site!! Helped me out a lot

    Comment by Dave Kear — 3/20/2008 @ 6:06 am

  27. I have a two year old rat terrier/chihuahua mix. Last night he woke me up, he usually sleeps by my feet on the bed, he was screaming/howling, it’s the scariest noise I ever heard him make.

    He was sound asleep but stiff and his feet were twitching, I tried picking him up and saying his nam in a friendly voice, he opened his eyes but for a minute his eyes were open but it was like he had no control over his body, his back was stiff but his head was lolling around, very weird

    I was terrfied for him. He had urinated too and was lying in it. He felt really hot to the touch too and his nose was warm. I thought his gums were pale but it was hard to see and he kept pulling his head away.

    A few minutes later he seemed ok but acted like he was very afraid and was trembling, trying to curl up behind my head.

    I was freaking out today thinking maybe he had seizures? But to me it seemed like a nightmare he was having and couldn’t quite wake up from. He’s been normal all day but it scared the hell out of me.

    Comment by anj — 5/30/2008 @ 3:51 am

  28. My one year old female dog was recently attacked by a vicious dog while we were on our daily walk around the block. She is physically ok but since then she has started to pee at night only, while in her kennel. Any advice how I can correct this?????

    Comment by Deb — 6/8/2008 @ 12:27 pm

  29. My dog has had a very rough year. In November his former owner dumped him at the shelter for the crime of having bad knees. The breed rescue organization found him, he was neutered, had surgery on both knees and was sent to a foster to recover. I adopted him in December and continued with the recovery. We trained for several months to help him with other dog issues and to help us bond. Then in June he was attacked by to huge dogs who shook him like he was a rabbit. We rushed him to the emergency hospital where he had stitches and staples and spent the night for observation. Though he seems to have recovered physically, just this week he has started howling in his sleep. It sound like he is dreaming the pain he suffered. Tonight he howled in my arms until he was fully conscious. Though his x-rays appeared to be normal I worried that there are complications from internal damage and he is suffering real pain in his sleep. But as he has not howled like this when he is a wake it would be logical to assume that he is having nightmares induced by his trauma. I am wondering if any psychological therapy is recommended and if this is going to get any worse.

    Comment by Suzann — 7/16/2008 @ 3:26 am

  30. My 11 year old cocker spaniel also has started to have nightmares – rapid paw movement, sounds come out of her like she is screaming. When she wakes up she is scared. I have tried to place my hand on her when she is going thru this, it settled her down for a while. But the night mares continue. One night while I was barely awake and she was in her night mare I decided to enter her night mare and see what it was. I have to tell you, I would be scared to. But I told the beings in the night mare to leave her alone. She has been better since. I am continuing with this practice as time permits.

    Comment by Camile — 8/22/2008 @ 9:03 pm

  31. As strange as it sounds, we’ve experienced too many coincidences to dismiss these nightly terrors as normal nightmares that our pets experience. Most of these occurrences take place around midnight (12 pm) and 3 am like clockwork…..both known to be of significant importance to nightly spirit activity. Start keeping track of when the most violent “dreams” occur, and you might see a pattern. Pay close attention if you have a weaker, sick animal, which might experience more significant activity due to the weakened state. These “nightmares” have not occurred every single night, but it’s close. We have four happy, healthy, beautiful pets that have no history of neglect. One has these intense dreams that cause her to awaken and cry VERY loudly in the night, and she wakes me, and I comfort her. This is no result of a natural nightmare that we all have. Another, older pet has even experienced something waking him around 3 am, literally chasing him, slamming him against the door, and leading him into a severe seizure (sounds similar to a case mentioned above). He was a bit weak from a surgery he had a week earlier. Since we’ve built and moved into a new house, there seems to be an escalation in the activity, and it’s hard to dismiss the abnormal behavior in the pets, as well as additional things we question throughout the house (movements, noises, and other unexplained activity that the animals also see.) I think I’ll start a proactive approach of praying and providing additional protection for them.

    Comment by Animal Lover — 9/7/2008 @ 3:30 pm

  32. My Maltese Aristotle just turned 14. He had two of these events in July, just before he was diagnosed with a heart murmur and congestive heart failure. He is fine during the day. He had three of them last night. He wakes from a sound sleep crying/screaming for less than a minute, I pick him up and hold him to calm him down. Sometimes he urinates during the episodes. The vet has said they do have nightmares but he will check him this weekend to see if there is any painful spot causing the problem. These screams are scary. Please e mail me if you would like to talk about our experiences. Best regards, Christine at ckroberts@aol.com

    Comment by Christine — 9/29/2008 @ 1:36 pm


    Comment by DIXIE — 1/10/2009 @ 12:33 pm

  34. My 9 year old Pomeranian and poodle mix has slept in bed with me ever since he was a puppie. He’s very gentle and has never bitten anyone. He began having nightmares about a year ago and bit my foot once during one. After the foot incident, he didn’t attack me for a few months. Then the other night he viciously attacked my face during one of his nightmares. Obviously I’m frightened for my safety as well as his. He’s been sleeping on the floor, which has taken some getting used to. I’ve been looking every where for some advice. I’m glad to have run into this website. I didn’t think it could be a medical problem and was assuming psychological or senility. If you have a similiar story or a solution feel free to email me, kateyburke@hotmail.com.

    Comment by Katey — 1/21/2009 @ 8:22 am

  35. My dog sasha I adopted her from the pound & I noticed that she started to have these nightmares, At first I didn’t think they were anything bad. But now they are starting to get worse and worse its starting to worry me horrible I care for my dog like she is the world. && I don’t know what to do Im going to make her a vet appt as soon as I can. But I was wondering if anyone else has some advice for me . Thanks.

    Comment by Sabrina — 4/1/2009 @ 10:03 pm

  36. My dog has horrible nightmares. Attacks my face in the night. (I have to muzzle him – though I use a human one through which he can lick, drink, etc). I am trying to figure out the triggers. He is insecure during the day, but not mean at all! I’m interested in the post on a low blood count…anyone else have an experience like that?

    Comment by Robin — 6/24/2009 @ 2:03 pm

  37. My chihuahua,Lupita, is having the weirdest nightmares. She is 2 years old and will be 3 in November. She is spoiled girl and always gets what she wants.

    I am worried sick about her!! SHe will be sitting in my lap asleep and he eyes will roll up in the back of her head and just shake. Almost seizure like! She cries,wimpers,barks, and tries to “run” from the enemy.

    I have a german short-haired pointer who also does the same thing. COuld lupita have inherited it from my other dog?

    Comment by Brittnie — 7/9/2009 @ 12:59 am

  38. This site has been so helpful to me. Our 15 y/o dog is a cockapoo. For the last few months she has been going beserk about once a month. At first I thought it was her food or something we had fed her. We tried elemenating everything except her food. I thought the problem had been solved but it happened again this morning. It always happens when she is asleep. She will jump up and start running through the house, running into everything and yelping. I grab her so she won’t hurt herself and try and calm her down. She usually poops while doing all of this. It takes a few minutes to calm her down and then she is okay. I’ve thought about having her put down but just can’t seem to do it yet. I haven’t had her checked by a vet – I don’t want a lot of expensive tests run. Can anyone give me any information on what could be happening to her?

    Comment by Cindy — 7/16/2009 @ 11:29 am

  39. I had the same problem as lyn edwards jack Russel number 15. my shih tzu 10 years old had a episode last night. she seemed to be dreaming then i went to talk to her like when she is having a bad dream. i picked her up and she was like a rag doll. flopping not responding to any thing. i put her on the couch and started calling her name and rubbing her body. her face and her belly and her back. i rubbed her hard. finally what took at least a minute and half she started to come to with stiff body. like she was stretching out but all of her was stiff. i kept calling her name and finally after 3 minutes she came out of i don’t know what it was. around a year ago she started screaming like someone was killing her in her sleep. we also had a hard time getting her out of it. she also stiffened up and we rubbed her out of it.. when she comes to so to speak she acts like nothing happened.. only this time when she was so limp she went immediately to the bathroom .. and was find. to say the least i was hysterical calling my husband to help.. I was so afraid to let her sleep i kept waking up out of my sleep talking to her. im not happy the other dog had the same thing but i was so sick to pick up the lifeless rag doll body of my baby.. she has been to the vet and he said to watch her that was a year ago.. she is a very pampered dog but last 4 years we don’t leave her alone.. she became very frightened. every noise sends her looking around the house fearful.. she broke everything in the house one night when we went out for a hour. she seemed to try to climb to the highest peek . she climbed on tables and stairs and it looked like a robber visited us. for some reason noises make her berserk. i get family members to watch her now.. im happy im not loosing it with this nightmare stuff. thanks for this site.. i think my nerves are shot watching my baby go through this stuff.. lindasueshu@optonline.net

    Comment by lindasue cappisillo — 8/19/2009 @ 6:09 am

  40. Please help. My 13 year old Shih Tzu is screaming when he sleeps. His body becomes rigid and it takes a couple of seconds to wake him. We’ve had a physical performed with x-rays, everything appears normal. Please, please any information would be much appreciated. I hate seeing him in such distress.

    Comment by Nikki — 9/25/2009 @ 4:11 pm

  41. My 6 year old border collie, Jacey, was adopted from a rescue organization and she was severely abused. She was fine at first but now is having horrible nightmares(I assume) she growls, howls, twitches, moans and every other noise imaginable, I was just gettin used to this and now she has started trying to squeeze her body into and under objects while’s she’s asleep. It’s heartbreaking to watch her cower in fear and try to hide herself, plus she’s a good size girl so she knocks a lot of things over, is there anyway to help her?

    Comment by jerri — 10/17/2009 @ 3:21 pm

  42. My puppy Moka (half pitbull & half Shar-pei) is definitely having doggy nightmares. We’re not sure why & how we could help her? I found her at the park & adopted her because no one ever claimed her in over a month now. We’re almost 100% sure she was abused. Is there anything we can do to help her?

    Comment by Karnda — 12/29/2009 @ 3:58 pm

  43. We have a 3 year old Pomeranian. She came from a wonderful breeder and has never known anything but love. Nobody has ever been mean to her and she loves everyone and everything. She isn’t afraid of anything other than she is careful of steps, etc. because she is only 4 pounds. She has even wanted to approach big dogs that would obviously have eaten her if they could have gotten to her, but in her mind everyone and everything is her best friend. Last night she began screaming in her sleep as if she was being tortured. My wife picked her up and we both spoke to her in a calming voice. She seemed very disoriented at first and somewhat stiff. She seemed normal within a couple of minutes, but I am worried. If anyone has any input, it would be appreciated. We have a call into the vet.

    Comment by Allen — 9/1/2010 @ 11:28 pm

  44. My little Chi scared me to death last night! She started “screaming” out of the blue and came to me with her tail between her legs. I assumed it was a nightmare and she was still frightened, but when I tried to pet her she started “screaming” like she was hurting all over! She was rather restless and couldn’t seem to find a comfortable position to sleep in. I was afraid she may have broken a bone or something, but the next morning she was just great, like nothing ever happened. I was worried that I’d miss work to take her to the vet for a broken something the way she was acting. Glad nothing was broken, but can’t understand why she cried when I tried to pet her after her supposed “nightmare”. I’m happy to have learned that a lot of pet owners experience the same thing…kind of reassuring for me.

    Comment by Helen — 9/15/2010 @ 7:37 am

  45. Here’s how you can love your dog and yourself, plus get more sleep. Kennel training Is a gentle, non invasive way to comfort your dog. Dogs should not sleep in the same room as a family member without being locked in a kennel. This is difficult to teach an older dog but can be done. Make it a positive, pleasant experience starting with only a few moments in the kennel at a time. Reward with safe treats and praise. Call this night-night or bedtime so the dog learns the new word. Increase time in the kennel slowly. This will be a handy device for trips to the vet or vacations. Just like us dogs dream and their dreams like ours are a release of all their tensions. If they are warm and safe in their cave/bed, no one has to worry. No one gets bitten. Everybody gets their 8 hours.

    Comment by Fey Wit — 11/13/2010 @ 9:36 pm

  46. my 18 month old husky/english bulldog mix has been having nightmares as well, my sister and i wake up in the middle of the night and shes crying, and scratching the floor.

    Comment by Heather — 1/6/2011 @ 12:04 pm

  47. My 10 yr Shih-tzu has the same issue – only when sleeping, at night, for some reason – he will start what I refer to as a screaming howl type sound, sometimes he pees in the bed. The first time this ever happened our smoke alarm low battery beeping started at 2am. He hates the sound so I took him in the other room while my husband got out the ladder to change the battery. My shih-tzu was already scared of the smoke alarm beeping so I was holding him, then he saw the ladder and he hates when we climb on ladders….he immediately arched his back, got stiff, started the screaming and did what I refer to as passing out. He went completely limp in my arms and I ran to my husband for help. We put him on the floor to try to revive him and he came out of it. SInce that time, he has had several of these episodes, in the middle of the night. He has one every couple of months. He does a heart murmur, per the vet – but the vet doesn’t know what the episodes might be. He had an EKG and they were ok with it. I hate to see my little baby go through this! Lisa – email lafel5861@aol.com

    Comment by Lisa — 12/10/2011 @ 7:25 pm

  48. Could some of these nightmares be a sign of former abuse or abandonment sometimes triggered by a sight, sound, activity. I am just now overcoming PTSD nightmares. They are not like regular nightmares and are disorienting upon waking.

    Comment by m — 1/22/2012 @ 9:16 pm

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