3 Reasons Why Your Dog is Crying While Sleeping

Disclaimer: The content on MyPetChild.com is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

Are you occasionally seeing tears from your dogs’ eyes while he is sleeping? Just like us humans, dogs can show all sorts of emotions while they are sleeping. From bad dreams to potential health issues, here are some common reasons for dogs that cry while sleeping.

Your Dog is Having a Bad Dream

Yes dogs can have a bad dream like us and certain bad moments could trigger the crying behavior. When your dog dreams, they are likely to show other signs such as leg quivering, whisker twitching, and irregular breathing.

In this situation, there isn’t much to worry about as long as there’s nothing in the dog’s vicinity that could pose a safety hazard as you dog twitches around while he is sleeping. While it’s impossible to know what exactly your dog is dreaming about, a lot of people suggest that signs of twitching and whimpering is a sign of your dog chasing something in his dreams.

Your Dog Has a Health Issue

What if the crying is happening on a regular basis? This could mean more than just a bad nightmare. If your dog is crying every time in his sleep then we strongly suggest you check with the vet for potential health issues.

Dogs can be affected by a number of sleep disorders including insomnia and REM behavior disorder. The latter disorder is associated with physical movements including twitching. Dogs with REM behavior disorder may look disoriented and confused when woken up from their sleep.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

The occasional crying while sleeping may also be more prevalent among dogs with separation anxiety issues. You may already notice your dog crying and whimpering quite a bit throughout the day when you aren’t together.

It’s important to help dogs with separation anxiety issues as early as possible as it can most often lead to destructive behaviors down the road. If you feel your dog’s crying behavior at night has something to do with his separation anxiety then we suggest looking into treatments as soon as possible. This may include counter-conditioning and crate-training.


  • Rhonda Burrell | 09/06/2022

    Thank you for the info. I’ve been telling my dog ‘it’s okay baby’ when he whimpers in his sleep so now I know to just let it happen.

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