My Dog Woke Up Screaming

There are many reasons why your dog could wake up screaming. It could be an injury it picked up while playing, a bite from another dog, pests, seizures, an exciting dream or a horrifying nightmare. I’m writing this because, I, too have noted this behavior with my dog and went out to seek answers. If you’re reading this, I guess you’ve noted the same with your dog and you’re probably seeking answers as I was when my dog woke up screaming.

In my case, the dog woke up screaming during the night. It was lying right next to me and I was observing it while sleeping then it suddenly woke up screaming. It’s scaring and perplexing because you don’t know what to expect—it could be anything the matter with your dog.

When this happens, the first thing that comes to mind would probably be that someone or something attacked your dog. That’s a sensible presumption, but not if your dog was sound asleep only to wake up screaming.

Why would a dog wake up screaming? 

There are various reasons as to why your dog may wake up screaming at night or in the day. It could be a bad dream, a disorder or an injury. Whatever the case, you are probably wondering what you’d do to help a dog with this condition.

  • Nightmares

Several studies have proved that dogs have the same sleep and dream patterns as we do. It pretty much means that they also experience nightmares as we do. It’s not surprising that they have nightmares—if you’ve watched dogs sleeps, closely, then I guess you’ve noted some sounds and movements likely to imply that they are dreaming some uncomfortable dreams at times. S/he might be dreaming about protecting you from some threat or bad memories from a traumatic past. This is more common in dogs that have been abandoned, abused or rescued. So, the next time your dog wakes up screaming, it’s probably cursing the horrifying character in its nightmare.

  • Seizures

Dogs can experience seizures in their sleep which can make them bark or cry wildly in pain when they wake up. Seizures are abnormal and somewhat difficult to control if your dog suffers them. The major causes of seizures are metabolic disorders, epilepsy, and neoplastic growth. Whatever the cause, you should visit the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Injuries

Physical injuries may also ruin a dog’s sleep. It could be an accident that happened during the day while you were away or someone hit it so when never it wakes up from its sleep it wakes up to the pain hence the scream. Yelling and scream might be a way of telling you that he’s not okay. For this, the initial course of action should be to check the pet for physical injuries; if any, take a trip to the vet.

  • Parasites

Pets are insects that live on a plant or an animal. Pests depend on their hosts for all their basic needs. If you don’t wash your dog often, it could have pests. Most dog pests feed on the dog’s blood. To access the blood, they have to bite through the skin and this can be awfully painful. So if your dog wakes up screaming and scratching some part of its body, it’s probably a pest. You can check it out or plan a trip to the vet. 

How can I help my pet? (Viable Immediate Solutions)

  • An urgent trip to the vet

If your furry friend is suddenly acting all weird and screaming in their sleep, the best immediate action to take would be a visit to the vet for some check-out. The vet has the skills and experience to quickly diagnose what the issue could be and prescribe the most appropriate treatment. Don’t take too long, the pup’s health could be deteriorating fast. 

If your pet is experiencing a seizure the best thing to do is let the seizure die down before you wake it up, let the sleeping dog lie. This is because a dog that is startled out of a seizure is more likely to react negatively to your advances.

If you can’t bear seeing your pup in this state, the best thing to do is call out its name gently until it wakes up. When your pet is finally awake, you can play some quiet music to soothe it back to sleep. If you think your pet is sick or injured, you should visit the vet immediately.

  • Excercise

It’s amazing what regular exercise can do in dogs. Ideally, exercise brings to dogs the same health benefits it brings to us. It’ll help your dog build confidence, release anxiety, raise levels of happiness and stay fit, just to mention a few. 

  • A high-quality dog bed

If your dog is experiencing some pain that’s causing it to scream, the least you can do is get it one of these amazing orthopedic dog beds. These beds are designed to not only to keep them safe and warm but also to align their spines and aid recovery. Besides, it’s only healthy that your dog has a great place to sleep to avoid a myriad of infections which could aggravate the condition. On this site, we have reviewed hundreds of dog beds categorizing them into best dog beds overall, best for every dog size, best for every dog breed and best for certain conditions. 

Below are some options that would effectively soothe a dog that wakes up screaming and aid its recovery:

To see more options based on the dog’s breed, please head over to our dog bed reviews section and you won’t miss a perfect fit.


There’s no easy way of telling what the issue could be if your dog wakes up screaming. It could be anything. I hope that this piece will help you understand what the problem could be and give you some working solution. Feel free to get in touch with us if you need more info.


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This is the only kind of screaming your dog should be doing; a joyful scream

Cody, the screaming pup, the happy pup.