There’s a reason we call canines “man’s best friend”. An expert in evolutionary psychology has claimed dogs most likely dream about their owners, sending canine lovers into a frenzy.
Dr Deirdre Barrett, a Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist from Harvard Medical School, told People magazine dogs are similar to humans in that they dream about “the same things they’re interested in by day”.
“Humans dream about the same things they’re interested in by day, though more visually and less logically. There’s no reason to think animals are any different,” Dr Barrett Since told the magazine.
“Dogs are generally extremely attached to their human owners, it’s likely your dog is dreaming of your face, your smell and of pleasing or annoying you.”
As for cats? Well, they’re slightly less sentimental about their human slaves.
Early studies of cats’ rapid eye movement (REM) sleep patterns by researcher Michel Jouvet found when they entered the REM phase, they “leapt up, stalked, pounced, arched their backs and hissed”.
“They looked like they were hunting mice in their dreams,” Dr Barrett said.
The revelation pooches are probably picturing their beloved owner as they snooze has predictably incited internet hysteria, with dog lovers sharing photos of their sleeping pups and selfies of themselves overcome with emotion.
DOGS DREAM ABOUT THEIR OWNERS IC ANTBEREATH E pic.twitter.com/1rTAeaODXN
— spooky tita (@bellemaps) October 21, 2016
I just read that dogs dream about their owners. pic.twitter.com/uTXi54DK00
— 🎃 Amy Linares 🎃 (@flickering_muse) October 21, 2016
I just found out dogs dream about their owners and yep- I'm pretty emotional rn 😭💕 pic.twitter.com/bi32b3tcz3
— Sydney Hafen (@sydkid27) October 21, 2016
When you learn dogs probably dream about their owners and think about your own dog dreaming about you pic.twitter.com/Nigg7Mcm35
— Anya Crittenton (@anyacrittenton) October 20, 2016
Don’t get too worked up – previous research into dog dreams has found they also dream about other aspects of their daily lives.
“What we’ve basically found is that dogs dream doggy things,” Stanley Coren, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia, told Live Science earlier this year.
The dreams also vary according to the dog’s breed and size.
“[P]ointers will point at dream birds, and Dobermans will chase dream burglars. The dream pattern in dogs seems to be very similar to the dream pattern in humans.”
Dogs sleep far more than humans do – about 50 per cent of a dog’s day is spent sleeping – so they have plenty of time to think of both their owners and their other doggy hobbies.