Why Is My Dog Twitching in His Sleep–With Video

Dog twitching in sleep

Dog twitching in sleep is common across all dog breeds. A dog can twitch in sleep enough to make you worry about what the issue would be with the dog.

Even if yours doesn’t do it often, every once in a while, you’ll notice your dog twitching in sleep. This includes sudden movements in their nose, lips, and feet. I have noted the same with my dog and I thought writing about it would help someone.

So, why do dogs twitch and turn in their sleep?

Summary: A nightmare, a dream or, it’s the dog’s natural way of keeping its body in check while asleep. 

Your dog is not the only animal that twitches; studies show almost every animal twitch at some point in their sleep and it’s supposed to be a very normal occurrence. Scientists agree that twitching is just a way the animal’s body keeps check of itself subconsciously. However, this is a theoretical point of view. A few scientists also insinuate that it’s a simple biological occurrence whereby muscles relax or tighten as a result of some sort of response to stimuli.

No matter the case, we know for sure that puppies and senior dogs twitch a lot so we can somehow associate the action with a dog’s age. And we also know that puppies and older dogs dream a lot. Could it be that a dream can send some impulses from the dog’s brain to initiate the twitching in sleep?

When a dog twitches in sleep, it could be dreaming.

Dreaming makes for a good hypothesis as to why a dog would twitch in its sleep. It is proven that dogs have the same sleep pattern as humans. And it’s also proven that dogs indeed dream in their sleep. Scientists have come up with various ways to determine if dogs dream. Like we all twitch, turn and talk in our sleep—dogs do too. In fact, some dogs even walk in their sleep.

What should I do if my dog is having a nightmare?

Dogs generally dream about things that happen in their day-to-day lives. Your dog could be dreaming about chasing a ball which may make them seem happy and peaceful in their dream. However, at times your dog may look miserable and distressed in their sleep which may be signs of a dog nightmare.

So, what do you do when your dog is twitching in sleep? Should I wake him up? The barks and growls might tempt you to wake your pup, the way you’d wake a baby who’s having a bad dream. Well, don’t wake a sleeping dog (quite literally); one because the nightmare serves a purpose in the dog’s mental health/growth, and, two because the dog could wake up on a defense mode and bite you—thinking you’re part of the nightmare. It takes dogs some time to conform to reality and during this time before it can differentiate between the nightmare and reality, you’d easily become a victim.

Get a good dog bed.

A good dog bed creates a warm and safe resting place for your dog and this ensures a deep and satisfying sleep. If your dog is twitching in its sleep, its probably as a result of some discomfort. This habit is more pronounced on puppies and senior dogs. To make it easier on yours, gift your puppy with a puppy dog bed or your older dog with a dog bed for senior dogs. For middle-aged dogs, I’d recommend an orthopedic memory foam dog bed.


Unless your dog is having a seizure; twitching in their sleep is pretty normal. You can even take time and look at how adorable they look while sleeping and imagine what they could be dreaming about. But if you suspect it’s a seizure, give the vet a visit as soon as you are in a position to. If you found this piece helpful, feel free to share it with other dog lovers.

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