WET DREAMS

WET DREAMS

DO DOGS HAVE “WET DREAMS”?

Well, I bet I’ve got your attention with this one haven’t I!  Ooh we do cover some off-the-wall topics but I like to think that everything we cover is pertinent, and is a topic that may at some time have popped into your head, owing to the behaviours we see when living and sharing our lives with dogs.  The longer we have dogs, the more situations, experiences and questions we are opened up to.

As I’m sure many of you know, our pack has welcomed a real force of nature recently in young master Dice.  Dice is a wonderful, exuberant, 21 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback.  He is full of beans, full of mischief and as he reaches his sexual peak, full of “bow-chicka-bow-wow”!  We all know what teenage boys are like, but does the same thing apply to young and adolescent dogs?

I confess, this is probably not a blog I would have even considered writing until about a month ago.  Dice was lying on my bed after an extremely busy day – completely unconscious.  As always, both Rain and Dice snuggle up on my bed while I get myself ready to climb in and go to sleep, at which time they hop off and into their own beds.  This time when Dice hopped off,  I was horrified to see a small puddle where he had been lying.  He was completely unaware that he had done it.

A week later, again after a very strenuous “full-on” kind of day, he was sound asleep in his bed in the lounge as we watched TV.  I noticed him dreaming and making some humpy, thrusty movements and then a small squirt, another squirt and a high velocity squirt of fluid from his penis.  He awoke and stood up in a daze, pretty much sleep-walking and still not really “with us”.  Again, another squirt from his willy!!! I shouted “Dice, stop” which seemed to do the trick as he snapped back into consciousness and stopped peeing.  I chased him out the door and had him go for a pee outside.

Now, the question is, what was going on?  Was he having an exciting big boy dream just as we’d expect any young male to experience?  Was he doing the doggy equivalent of “wetting the bed”?  Or did he have some kind of urinary tract infection that was causing him to urinate without knowing?

SLEEP STATES:

Dogs do most certainly dream and, just like us, they spend their dream time acting out and thinking about their ordinary day-to-day activities (running, jumping, barking, playing, chasing, eating, humping – all the usual suspects).

The sleep states for your dog are pretty much split into two: SWS – Slow Wave Sleep.  This is where the dog is asleep with full muscle tone and can be very easily woken, simply with anything from touch to a loud noise.  After around 20 minutes of uninterrupted sleep, your dog will enter the other phase which is known as REM sleep – Rapid Eye Movement.  This is where the muscles are fully relaxed but the mind is still most definitely working.  It is in this state that you will see your dog barking, running and twitching his eyes/facial muscles.

Click here for: VIDEO OF DICE WOOFING IN HIS SLEEP

As a rule, puppies dream more than adult dogs as their brains are experiencing so many new and different things.  Small breeds dream more frequently (every 1-10 minutes) than large breeds (every 1-1.5 hours)… but the length of time they dream for is much shorter (small breeds tend to dream for just a couple of minutes, whereas large breeds can dream for about 10 minutes at a time).

WHAT’S GOING ON?

When trying to work out WHY you have a wet patch under Rover, one would need to put together the whole picture:

  • the age of the dog (young, adolescent, adult?)
  • whether he was neutered or not (ruled by testosterone or not),
  • what had been happening throughout the day (how deep is the sleep),
  • what he looked like he was doing in his dream (running, sniffing, humping),
  • what colour the fluid was that was being ejected (clear, dark, white).

If he is a young dog, with raging hormones, displaying humping and thrusting motions, then to accept that he was having a sexy dream is not too hard to do.  In active dreams such as this where fluid is forced out, this is what is referred to as liquid smegma.

If he is entire, then again, those hormones will be playing a part in his dream state and may result in a squirt of sticky whitish coloured residue.

If the liquid was clear/pee coloured and he had had an extremely tiring day, it could well be that he was just in such a deep sleep that he simply didn’t wake up from a dream in which he needed a pee!  If you’ve had young children I’m quite sure you may have encountered exactly this situation with them (I am told there was an occasion as a toddler on holiday where my parents found me about to lift up the lid to the suitcase to relieve myself whilst still asleep … but perhaps that’s too much information!!!).

If the liquid was blood stained or darker in colour than just normal pee, then that could indicate a urinary infection.  A UTI can often result in dribbling of urine whilst lying down/asleep and this is definitely something that he will need to see his vet about for further investigation and treatment.  If left untreated, apart from being incredibly painful, it can become very serious indeed and have an impact on kidney function, so please do not dismiss a urinary problem.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

So, what to do?  Well, if it is hormone-driven in a young dog he will likely just grow out of it (probably by the time he is 2-3 years old) and until he does, you may wish to place a towel, blanket or pad beneath him to ease the clean-up operation!  If he doesn’t grow out of it, then I suggest keeping him off your bed and making a veterinary appointment to discuss castration as a solution to these somnambular behaviours.  However, we must always bear in mind the possibility of either a physical problem or a UTI.  Keep an eye on the wetting and, if you find it is being repeated, or the colour of the urine is stronger than normal and/or smelly, then please do speak to your vet for a professional opinion and perhaps a urine test, just to be on the safe side.

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