This is a lovely video of two young puppies twitching in their sleep. It’s such a sweet sight that the woman holding the camera keeps expressing her delight to her friend. The two probably stood there all night watching the two puppies make adoring movement and sound in their sleep.
So why do puppies twitch so much in their sleep? Adrienne Janet Farricelli shares some insights on this topic in Pet Helpful. She used to work in a veterinary hospital, and would get calls from anxious new dog parents asking if they need to make an appointment with the vet. Adrienne would reassure these new dog parents that this is a sign of healthy development.
Why do puppies twitch when they sleep?
Adrienne shares that the twitching is more prominent the first few months of a puppy’s life. It decreases as the pup matures. Adult dogs twitch in their sleep too, but not as much as a puppy. She includes different theories by several researchers.
One of them is that the dog is dreaming. Humans and dogs have similar sleep patterns. We go through cycles of restful sleep, alternated with rapid eye movement sleep (REM). We go through 4 or 5 cycles, but dogs go through maybe 20 cycles or more.
It’s during this REM sleep that dogs twitch and “talk”. Puppies seem to be stuck in the REM sleep. And for the first 2 weeks of their live, they sleep about 90% of the time. When they twitch and kick, it’s called “activated sleep.” There is a belief that this twitching and kicking helps the puppy develop muscle tone.
In their first week, puppies concentrate on develop their front leg muscles. By Day 5 or 7, they can push themselves up using their front legs. But the back legs are still weak. By kicking and twitching in their sleep, they are strengthening their muscles so they can stand. You can read more about the different theories in the article here.
Article source: Adrienne Janet Farricelli in Pet Helpful