Why Does My Dog Bark In His Sleep? 5 Reasons And How To Stop

Many of us have experienced the nuisance of waking up to our dogs barking loudly during the night, but then you notice your dog is barking while sleeping, and you’re left wondering why.

The most common reason for your dog to be barking while sleeping is due to a nightmare. A dog may be barking as if there is danger present in their dreams, or they may be trying to ward off an attacker. 

Here are a few more reasons why your dog might be barking in his sleep and tips to stop this behavior.

5 Reasons for your dog to bark in his sleep

When a dog is barking in his sleep, it may mean that he is having a nightmare or simply reacting to the environment. Listed below are the most common reasons for this problem, but there could be other factors at play.

Other reasons your dog barks while dreaming include:

1. Anxiety

An anxiety disorder can cause panic in certain situations, and you can see this during their sleep as well. For example, suppose you moved recently, and your dog is not used to the new environment. In that case, he may have anxiety-related nightmares that cause his barking issues.

Trickier situations arise from a dog having anxiety toward a specific person or animal. If this is the case, then your dog could be barking during sleep state out of fear of what might happen when you go to bed.

Separation anxiety is another common anxiety-related disorder that can cause dogs to bark in their sleep. If your dog experiences a lot of anxiety when you’re not around, he may manifest this behavior during his slumber.

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2. A sudden noise

While your dog sleeps and a sudden noise startles him, it may cause him to bark while sleeping. The nightmare element comes into play when dogs dream that there is danger present.

A sudden sound could be anything from a door slamming to a car alarm going off. If your dog is particularly reactive to sound, then he may barks in his sleep every time there is an unexpected noise.

3. Medication side effects

If you have recently increased the dosage of medication for your dog due to a health concern, you could see an increase in barking while your dog sleep. This is because some medications can have side effects that cause dogs to act out in their dreams.

4. Excitement

Sometimes your dog dreams he is playing with other dogs, or chasing squirrels and the excitement of it all causes him to bark. This is the most common reason for puppies to bark while sleeping.

5. Pain from an injury

Your dog may be in pain and barking in an attempt to get help. This is often seen in older dogs who are struggling with a health issue.

What should you do when your dog bark while sleeping?

If you have determined the reasons why your dog might be barking in his sleep, it’s time to put a stop to it. Here are some tips to stop your dog from barking in his sleep:

  • First of all, do not punish or scold your dog for these outbursts. You want to let him know that barking in his sleep is fine and nothing to worry about.
  • Make sure you’re giving your dog enough exercise throughout the day, so he has time to wind down before he goes to bed.
  • Try to create a relaxing environment in your dog’s bedroom by using calming music or scents.
  • If you have determined that your dog is barking out of fear or anxiety. In that case, you may want to consider working with a behaviorist to help him overcome these issues.
  • If your dog is barking while sleeping due to pain, see your veterinarian to rule out any health concerns.
  • Try using a white noise machine to drown out any sudden noises that may startle your dog and cause him to bark.

Putting a stop to your dog’s barking in his sleep can be a challenge, but with patience and some effort, it can be done. By figuring out the root of the problem and addressing it accordingly, you can help your dog get a good night’s sleep.

Should I wake my dog up if he’s barking in his sleep?

No, you should not wake your furry friend up if he’s barking in his sleep. This could further disrupt his sleep and cause him to become agitated. It’s best to just let him bark until he’s finished and then go back to bed.

Though it may be alarming to hear your dog barking in his sleep, there are usually logical explanations for why this is happening. By understanding the cause of the behavior, you can put a stop to it and get a good night’s sleep once again.

What to do if the barking noise is Disturbing Your own Sleep?

You may at times be awoken by your dog’s barking in his sleep. Remember that he is not trying to bother you, and just let him finish his dream when this happens. Though it can be frustrating to be woken up, do not punish your dog for this behavior, or else it could lead to more issues in the future.

If you find that your dog’s nighttime outbursts are so bothersome that you can’t fall back asleep, try moving him into another room. This will provide a quieter place for him to sleep and give you a better night’s rest as well.

If you’re having trouble getting your dog to stop barking while he is sleeping. In that case, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian or behaviorist to help determine the underlying cause of this behavior. From there, you can work on correcting the issue and helping your dog get a good night’s rest.

When should you worry about your dog barking in his sleep?

There are some cases when you should be worried about if your dog barks in his sleep. If your dog is barking out of fear or anxiety, this could be a sign of a bigger problem, and you may need to seek help from a professional. Additionally, if your dog is barking due to pain from an injury, this could be a sign that he needs medical attention.

Be sure to consult with your veterinarian if you’re concerned about why your dog is barking in his sleep. They will be able to help determine the cause of the problem and get it resolved once and for all.

Why does my dog bark in his sleep but not when awake?

When your dog is awake, he is in a non REM sleep and is more aware of their surroundings and only barks if there is a real danger. Dogs that bark in their sleep are doing so because they are in a different state of mind where they are not as aware of their surroundings.

Sometimes dogs will bark when they are in their REM sleep cycle, this is normal. If your dog had never done this before and suddenly started to do it, it may be due to either something you did or something going on around you that caused him/her stress.

When dogs bark in their sleep, are they having a nightmare?

A dog barking while sleeping may mean a nightmare, as this is one way that dogs may vocalize while dreaming. But there’s no way of telling if your dog is really having a nightmare.

When your dog enters the REM sleep cycle, their brain activity ramps up and they may start to dream. This is usually when dogs bark in their sleep.

It may be the case that the barking is coming from a fear or anxiety dream. If your dog has recurrent dreams that involve barking, it may be a sign that he’s feeling stressed or anxious about something going on in his life.


There can be many reasons why dogs bark while sleeping, but fear, anxiety, excitement, and pain are the most common ones.

If you notice this behavior regularly, it’s essential to take steps to address the issue.

With some patience and effort, you can help your dog get the peaceful slumber he deserves.

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Andre Neves

Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.