doggie nightmares

Hi I have a westie and last night he seemed as though he was haveing a seizure. it was very distrubing for me and my husband. Although I say it seemed like a seizure I am not sure as he just seemed to rive around almost like doing backflips and running around on the bed. It took us while to wake him out of this. Can I ask anybody out there do they know if there dogs have nightmares and was it distrubing to watch or maybe seizures and can give me some symptoms to see if I can determine what happened. This really did disturb me and brought me to tears. He is 8 years old so he is not that old. I love him with all my heart.

Please help someone out there to put my mind at rest. I read about taking him to the vets but I feel silly if it was a simple thing like a nightmare.
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My parents' sheepdog has active dreams. She will wimper and look as though she is running on her side (moving her paws, etc) and little yelps and stuff. She has pretty much always done this and we laugh at her wondering if she is chasing sheep, but if you are concerned about your dog, you might as well give a call to your vet. If you think it was just a dream, then maybe just wait and see if it happens again...
barney1 wrote:
My parents' sheepdog has active dreams. She will wimper and look as though she is running on her side (moving her paws, etc) and little yelps and stuff. She has pretty much always done this and we laugh at her wondering if she is chasing sheep, but if you are concerned about your dog, you might as well give a call to your vet. If you think it was just a dream, then maybe just wait and see if it happens again...

Chumley does the same thing. I think it is so funny and cute.
kazee- it most likely was a dream, and maybe it wasn't even a bad
dream. Although it may seem horrible to you, it was probably not
like that for your dog, and chances are your dog will forget it fairly
quick. Sometimes my dogs really flop around in their sleep - running or
chasing, huffing and puffing their lips out, or just shaking all over,
and sometimes they even howl like they are in the wild, still sound
Just last night I heard this scary low rumble like there was a
really big truck going past on the road, but it
turned out to be 7 month old Zeke growling menacingly in his sleep!
It really spooked me for a second, since his eyes were partly open
but he was really asleep. He sounded so scary!
Don't worry too much, unless your dog starts doing this while he is
awake too, he is probably perfectly normal!

Can I assume he hasn't done this before to this extent? Have you seem him "have dreams" that weren't quite as violent?

This sounds much more than just an active dream, especially if your dog is 8 years old and you haven't seen this befoer, and since you're saying that it took you a while to rouse him from the episode.

If this is new, and it was a lot of movement, and not just attenuated yips and twitches, I'd give your vet a ring.

Good luck... I hope it works out well for you. Please keep us posted!
I agree with Ron - if your dog hasn't done this before get him to a vet.

As for seizures - there are many types, from small seizures where your dog will just shake a bit to grand mal seizures. However, if indeed your dog did have a seizure, there are medications that can control them.

Write down everything that you can remember about this incident; what time it happened, what and when your dog ate before then, what exercise he had that day, was the TV on (strobe light effects can cause a seizure), environment etc. All of this information can help your veterinarian identify the cause and hopefully a solution.

Good luck

Jennifer, Baxter, Cassiopia and Sharkey
My last dog had seizures. You will know if the dog is having a seizure. It's a hard thing to witness, because there is usually not alot you can do except try to keep them safe.

When Nana would have seizures, we usually saw them coming because she'd look up alot then begin seizing...drop to the floor, foam at the mouth and get very warm and damp--almost like sweating. After the seizure, she'd be a bit bewildered, very tired and it was like she didn't recognize us.

It sounds to me like a dream. Pooh has them all the time. Wimper, everynow and then a very high pitched bark, feet twitching, legs twitching. I think he's playing with his sibs in his dreams. I usually let him lie, but if it's a very active one, I usually caress his head until he calms down.
Maybe my dogs are just weird! I mean they really flop around. They
move enough to actually fall off the sofa.

My family used to call it "chasing rabbits" in their sleep...legs twitching, etc...I asked my Vet about this and he said that a dog actually IS having a seizure (usually mild). I would get it checked out if it occurs either out of the ordinary or often.
There are varying degrees and different types of seizures and just because your dog didn't foam at the mouth does not mean that it was not a seizure. Many humans have seizures and don't even know it. They just have short episodes where they look as though they've been daydreaming. I would take him to your vet to be checked just to rule out the possibility of seizures.
My dog Sandie is a 4 y/o cocker spaniel. In the last 6 months or so she has started having what we other humans would call night terrors. The episodes only happen at night and not when she is sleeping during the day. She starts whimpering then goes into a full blown howl! At first she I thought it may be a kind of seizure. We have a rat terrier, Sally, who is on phenibarbitol for grand mal seizures. Sandie acts nothing like Sally, no twitching or convulsions. Once Sandie gets to the howling there is not much we could do but talk to her and pet her until she calms down. Her eyes glaze over and it's like she doesn't even know we're there! We got on to her the first couple of times until we realized she was in her own little world! Now I've got that "mother's ear" going again and I usually wake up when she starts to whimper and I can wake her up easily by just calling her name softly and and talk gently to her. She usually responds by getting up and jumping into bed with us. No more problem! But if I don't catch her in time, she wakes up everyone and gets the other 4 dogs howling too! After a few weeks we took her to the vet. Tests all came back fine and he said it sounds like night terrors. They are worse than nightmares, you don't wake up! You jsut fall back into a deep sleep. Recently she had an episode and I got out of bed to go to her and stepped on her favorite toy...a plastic water bottle. When it crackled she stopped for a moment. When she started back up I picked up the bottle and started crackling it, then I gave it to her. She stopped howling and laid back down to sleep. It must have been a security thing for her. It got her attention when nothing else would. The vet said definatley night terrors! We have no idea what brought them on, but we were told she would just stop one day, just like they started. In the meantime I keep a empty water bottle by my bedside.....

We call it "chasing rabbits" too.
Max is almost ten and has done it all of his life.
the motion is like a jerky running motion.

As far as I know, he's never caught one.
Check with your vet, it could very well be seizures. Our Maggie McGee IV experienced them several times as she got older but they were never frequent enough or serious enough to require medication. She lived the ripe old age of 14 so it didn't slow her down at all.

I started having seizures myself in 1980 so I know what it's like to experience them. I sympathize with you because they are very scary to witness.

Here's hoping that the verdict is doggie nightmares but if not, we're willing to share our experiences and shoulders, if needed.

This is an old thread, so I won't pretend that the original poster is still likely to come around and read responses. But I want to add to the discussion by saying that my dog has done the same thing and it is NOT just a dream or nightmare. We thought it was seizures the first time, but now we're thinking it might have been night terrors. Here's what happened to us. The dog woke up in the middle of the night and started flipping out inside her crate, bouncing off the walls and shaking the whole thing hard enough to knock over a neighboring piece of furniture. We opened the door and she stumbled out, walked into the living room, and fell. Her leg muscles seemed to be contracting in an odd way, as if flexing against her will. She managed to get up again and we led her into the yard (toward the car, thinking we were going to have to rush her to the emergency veterinary clinic). She lay down in the middle of the yard, staring forward with glazed eyes as if we weren't there. About five minutes after the whole event began, she blinked a few times and looked around, as if surprised to find herself out in the yard in the middle of the night. We spoke to her and reassured ourselves that she was acting pretty much normal and could walk, and then she went back inside, climbed in her crate, and went to sleep.

Needless to say, this was very upsetting for us. The vet said to just watch and see if it happens again. It did happen once more while we were out of town and she was staying with a family member, but again she seemed to show no adverse effects once the "attack" had ended.

My reason for posting this is to say that yes, like most dogs, ours has vivid dreams sometimes, and it is very cute to see her move her legs and whine, bark, and growl at whatever dream critters she is chasing. But the things the original poster (kazee) described are not a simple dream, nor even a nightmare. Believe me, I know the difference, and I understand the concern over whether this is a seizure. I've seen a dog have a grand mal seizure, and certain aspects (the muscle flexion) do seem similar. For now, all I know is that it has only happened twice to our dog, who is now five years old, and that neither time caused any harm or even any particular stress (she seemed not to remember what had happened). I don't know whether it is seizures or night terrors, but I'm now leaning a bit toward night terrors, given that the second incident was when we were out of town and she was stressed about being in a new place (stress increases the incidence of night terrors).

Again, just to review:

1. Yes, this happens.

2. It is most certainly NOT that the dog is simply having a dream, and should not be likened to the sort of cute doggie dreams that some posters have mentioned.

3. If anyone knows anything about this phenomenon, please post here.
My dog Sarah has the same exact problem. She has them on a nightly basis which is problematic for me because she loves to sleep on the floor next to my bed and whines if I shut her out of my room. However,
I wouldnt worry that your dog is having seizures if you can wake your dog up reletively easy. However, if you cannot make your dog come out of it,then I would suggest getting your vet's advice. I know it may seem strange, but it is most likely a doggie nightmare, and waking them up is not usually the best thing to do for them.
here is a link to get a vet's opinion: ... gs/123.htm ... gs/101.htm

I hope this helped!
I can say Obe does dream. Are they seizures of any type? I have no idea. He does twitch feet w/occasional whimper, nothing violent. I think he's dreaming, just my opinion. We dream, so I'm sure animals do as well.
I was reading some replies and I almost ended in tears at the thought. I own a 3y/o Rat Terrier had her since a pup. She's not very active during her "dreams" but she whimpers and I don't like hearing that from my baby and I usually wake her up and she is fine. She might twitch a lil but nothing more than that and she is wide awake moments later, repositions her self more comfortably goes back to sleep. I was worried at first but it occurs often even not at night. She could be zonked out during the day and I think it is cute now. What YOU described frightens me a little. I personally suffer from seizures and you should take your dog to the vet to be sure. A seizure can be harmful if not deadly as I suffer from grand mal. I cannot imagine my baby suffering that. It is worth getting a vets word. Though it might be just an over active dream. If I thought my baby Skittles ever had a seizure I would flip! I can imagine how you feel! As one person said there are petite mals and grand mals. Pettite consist of shaking. Grand consists of violent jerks, I've often hit people (though we are talking about a dog here). Was it a violent episode? This is just to give you an idea, not to frighten you. I am familiar with seizures, as why I wasn't worried about my dog. I would be more concerned with waking seizures. If the dog is awake and this happens. Otherwise it is probably a vivid dream. A Seizure is excessive eletrical activity in the brain which is normal at certain levels during sleep. Not so normal during the waking hours, this is an indication of a problem, or so I have been told. I hope this was informative. I remind you I am no expert on the subject, just alot of experience. I had a dog once who DID have a seizure and it was absolutely frightening as I KNEW what it was like and how dangerous. I apologzie for the long post. I just felt it very important. Thank You.
Hi, I see this is an old thread, but I can't find any information on what I witnessed happen to my dog. I have a 14 year old Doberman and late one night we were sleeping. I on my bed her next to the night stand. A friend of mine was sending me a series of texts. I have a strobe light that goes off every time a text comes through along with a music tone. This triggered a violent seizure in my Dobie. Has anyone had an experience like this? She has NEVER had any seizures.
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