Dog Dreams – What Do They Mean?

8 Min Read | By Nicholas Barber

Last Modified 22 February 2024   First Added 28 March 2022

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

What Does It Mean To Dream of a Dog?

Falling deeply into a dream about man’s best friend can be so delightful and enjoyable that you’d never want to wake up. On the other hand, if you’re being chased by a snarling hound bearing its fangs, the sweet relief of awakening couldn’t come soon enough!

Dog symbolism in dreams is all about protection and intuition, and may suggest that your values and intentions will give you success in life. Dreams about animals are representative of your instincts and hidden nature, examining your “basic feelings, behaviors and reactions,” according to Bark Post.

Dogs are amongst the most beloved animals in the world, and have had close relationships with humans since we were living in caves. Science has discovered that dogs split from gray wolves about 32,000 years ago, and since then, domestic dogs’ brains and digestive organs have evolved in similar ways to humans. And due to their closeness with humans and their social nature, dogs are rich with spiritual meaning and appear in a number of myths and traditions.

Here we discover how dream experts interpret dreams about dogs.

The Dream:

It’s Saturday morning and you’re in bed making the most of your lie-in and enjoying not having to get up to work. The curtains are drawn tight, the alarm set to ‘off’. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to disturb your peace and quiet.

But as you’re drifting in and out of slumber, you’re rudely interrupted by the sound of intense barking from downstairs. Woof, bark, woof! On repeat, ad nauseam.

Are you dreaming, or is it your neighbour’s dog Rosie trying to wake you up? Eventually, you realise this isn’t going to stop and so reluctantly climb out of bed and head downstairs. The yapping is getting louder and more urgent.

Something’s wrong. You open the kitchen door and its full of thick black smoke. Your house is on fire! Dashing straight outside you see Rosie in the next door garden and rush over to thank the clever little dog for saving your life.

Then you wake up. For real this time! It was all just a powerfully evocative dream, but what on earth could it mean?

Meaning(s) of the dream:

Dogs represent several different things when they appear in a dream, and they relate to the personality of a canine companion. These animals can characterise loyalty, protection, service, love, duty – the things dogs lovers attribute to their furry friends. A dog might protect you in the dream, or you might protect a dog. Then again, you may experience a horrible nightmare about dogs attacking or chasing you.

According to Aunty Flo, the temperament of the dog you in the dream says multitudes about it’s meaning. A friendly dog can be a symbol of someone in your life guiding or guarding you and a happy dog is a “sign of recovery,” especially if dealing with anxiety or difficulties in your life.

However, dog dreams may also involve protecting someone from an angry or even violent dog. Freud said that dreams that include an act of saving are parturition (the action of childbirth) dreams and that saving someone, especially from a dog, is equivalent to giving birth if the dreamer is a woman.

All of these different variations of dog dreams have their own symbolism and meaning for your waking life.

Common takes on dog dreams:

The meaning of your canine dream depends heavily on the activity in the dream as well as the relationship between you and the dog. Some dream observers say stroking a dog’s belly can mean you’re happy in a relationship, and trust your partner deeply.

Then again, if you’re walking the dog, you may be set to experience success and reach your goals. While dreaming of playing with a sweet and friendly pup can be a positive signal, an aggressive or biting dog will mean something completely different. The place the dream takes place is also highly significant.

Now let’s explore some of the meanings of the most common dreams of dogs:

1. Dreams about dogs you know

Dreaming about dogs you know is common, and can tell you something about your current relationships and how you relate to the emotions of others. These dreams can let you know if you are being too closed off to people, too naïve to accept the trust of others, or what you need to do in order to heal your current relationships. If you dreamed about playing with your or another’s dog, such a dream might be an indication of meeting someone who will become your good friend.

Dreaming of a dog from your past, can be a highly pleasant experience, especially if you still miss them. And this kind of dream is highly significant in unexpected ways. For example, if you dream about a loving childhood pet, it could signify a need for comfort. Likewise, dreaming about a dog you previously owned or still have could mean you’re “missing something or someone in your life.” says Aunty Flo. You may find trying to figure out the missing link is valuable, and if you’re feeling overworked, this could be a sign you need to unwind.

2. Dreams about being chased by a dog

If you dream about a dog chasing you it likely represents that you’re running away from yourself in some aspect of life. It’s your subconscious telling you to face your fears and be your authentic self. This is generally considered an “anxiety” dream according to Sigmund Freud, indicating troubles, pressures, and also more significantly the general feeling of worry.

You could be facing pressures and troubles in your love life and the dream is a sign you want to escape. Being chased by a pack of dogs shows you have burdens in life and face psychological pressure, which means you need a rest.

3. Dreaming about a dog attacking you

Dreaming of an angry dog who is growling, howling or snapping can represent that you’re feeling in conflict with yourself. Angry dogs in dreams can often reflect feelings of anger towards someone else. They can also symbolise a loss of temper. Sometimes this dream can signify a person in your life who has an angry attitude and a bad temper.

4. Dreaming about puppies

To dream of a sweet little puppy is said to characterise your happy-go-lucky personality. It could be an indication a relationship or friendships are growing deeper with passing time. A litter of newborn puppies in your dream can be a representation of the duration it might take you to see your plan come to pass or the amount of time it will take you to develop an idea.

Happy puppies can be representative of a nurturing instinct deep within you. Seeing puppies with their mother can symbolise your own love of nurturing, and even imply a desire to have children, according to Aunty Flo.

Answering the dream

A dog may show up in your dreams to provide insight or assistance, as they’re widely celebrated for their friendship and trust. Dogs in dreams also represent loyalty, protection, fidelity and intuition, perhaps in yourself or someone close to you who has these qualities. Sometimes a dream about dogs can bring to light some of your forgotten or ignored talents.

Then there’s the prospect of good luck. Dogs represent good fortune in many cultures; from the Celts who associate them with Gaelic gods of healing and a successful hunt, to Chinese mythology where dogs bring luck to a home.

And while you’re dreaming of your dog, they may be dreaming of you! Dr Deirdre Barrett, a clinical and evolutionary psychologist at Harvard Medical School, has released a study that found it’s likely dogs dream about their everyday experiences just like humans.

Notable appearances in popular culture:

Due to being ‘man’s best friend’, dogs have long been celebrated in the entertainment industry and are a mainstay in popular culture. They’ve been a steady presence in literature, film and television.

One of the most famous of all is Charlie Brown’s ‘pet’ Snoopy, star of the iconic Peanuts comic strip since in the early 1950s. A world without Snoopy and the joy he spreads would be a much duller one. Another unforgettable canine character is Scooby Doo, the cowardly but lovable hound who always accidentally unmasks the bad guy at the end of every episode. However, perhaps the most enduring canine character in popular culture is Lassie, the fictional female rough collie dog star of Lassie Come Home. Over the years Lassie has been so popular that she’s one of only three dogs ever to be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Coming in close behind in the most famous dog stakes are Toto from The Wizard of Oz, Disney’s Pluto, Santa’s Little Helper from The Simpsons, and the lovable talking Labrador Brian from Family Guy.

For more, check out the meanings of another common dream about teeth falling out. Or, another embarrassing moment is dreaming of being naked

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