So it seems!
As we associate REM sleep with dreaming in humans it is assumed that warm-blooded animals do indeed dream. However there is no way this question can be answered for sure, since most of these animals do not have the ability to communicate with us to let us know if they dream or not!
Gorillas however have been taught to communicate and it is with our closest cousins that we get some interesting information.
Of course, human dreams get a lot of their material from the imagination, which makes us wonder if dogs and cats have imaginations in addition to memories! (Anyone who has witnessed their playful cat pay attention to something that’s seemingly not there, and then react to it, is likely to believe their cat must have an active imagination!) Ever heard a dog dreaming? Listen!
In humans, scientists have found that when awakened during REM sleep, the subject has reported having a dream. During the REM sleep, the human brain has a lot of “gamma activity” going on, just like it does when the person is awake. This means that essentially, the brain is behaving just as it does when conscious. Since every mammal studied shows the same brain activity during REM sleep as humans, it’s not such a leap to believe that your pet really is dreaming.
(BABY ANIMAL VIDEO) – Watch as this tiny kitten dreams away and his mama pulls him into an adorable feline embrace.
There have been experiments carried out on rats in the laboratory that some scientist claim prove animals do indeed dream about every day experiences just as we do.
Matthew Wilson of the MIT Centre for Learning and Memory conducted trials into the brain wave activity of rats while awake and asleep.
He trained rats to run around a track for a reward and while doing so he measured their brain activity. Then when they were asleep he measured their brain wave activity again.
They implanted micro-electrodes into the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with memory. Then they monitored the firing patterns of the neurons hooked up to micro-electrodes.
The patterns were the same whether the rat was dreaming about running around on a track or actually running around on a track. In fact, by just looking at the patterns, the scientists could tell whether the creature was dreaming about running or just sitting around. So why do animals dream? Probably to re-live and learn, like humans, from everyday experiences.
So the next time your pet has an unusually exciting experience during the morning, pay special attention to his behavior while he naps that afternoon. You might just catch your pet reliving the past — in dreams!
Source(s): realmeaningofdreams.com, globalanimal.org, yesmag.ca