Active Dreaming – What does it Mean?



Do any of your pets move around or vocalize in their sleep? It appears they are acting out their dreams. We can only imagine what is going on in their minds – no doubt chasing after something. Have you ever wondered why some pets do this while others do not? Could there be some underlying disturbance?

For the ancient Chinese, health was all about balance; more specifically the balance of Yin and Yang. Yin refers to the cooling, moistening, and restful processes in the body and Yang relates to the heating, drying, and activating processes in the body. Yin governs the night while we sleep and Yang governs the day while we’re awake.

Western veterinarians have no concern about active dreaming; some pets do it and some do not – what’s the big deal? The Chinese have another view. For them, what they called “dream disturbed sleep” was a sign of an energy imbalance in the body.

Of course, the originators of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) were not concerned about whether or not dogs and cats dreamed because their dogs and cats were dinner. Modern TCM veterinarians are taking what the Chinese learned about human health and applying it to animals. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Let’s see how all this may pertain to animals.

The first question to answer is, “Do dogs and cats dream?” Well, animals have REM sleep which is the phase of sleep in which people dream so I think it is safe to say that pets do indeed dream. The second question is, “Is it normal for animals (or people) to move around or vocalize in their sleep?” The answer to that one is a resounding “NO.” While we are dreaming, our voluntary muscles are supposed to be turned off. All the dreaming is supposed to happen strictly in our heads and not be expressed in our bodies.

When the ancient Chinese saw people physically acting out their dreams, they came to realize that they suffered from a deficiency of the Yin, relaxing influence. This lack allows the uncontrolled Yang activity to “bleed through” in the dreams.

Whether or not active dreaming is significant depends on how it fits with other issues the individual may have. The more frequent and violent the activity, the more significant it is. Other signs of Yin deficiency (seeking coolness and over-heating easily) may also corroborate the diagnosis of Yin deficiency. Finally, if you are noticing active dreaming more as your pet ages then it is more likely to be a significant issue since we all tend to become deficient of some aspect of life force energy as we get older.

Yin deficiency may or may not be a serious imbalance for a pet who actively dreams. Even if your pet is not having a health issue, treating the imbalance early can help thwart more serious problems that are likely to eventually develop. Be sure to bring active dreaming to the attention of your holistic veterinarian so your pet can be treated preventively with herbs or diet.

Do you see your pet dream?

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