Why Does My Pug Shake When Sleeping What You Need To Know

Pugs love sleeping and if you’ve ever wondered “why does my Pug shake when sleeping,” you’re not alone. There were times when Mindy our black Pug would sleep and she twitch and shake. This behavior is enough to worry any Pug parent and make you wonder if there’s something actually wrong?

Why Does My Pug Shake When Sleeping

The short answer is your dog is most likely dreaming. Like us, canines, go through three sleep stages; REM (rapid eye movement), NREM (non-rapid eye movement), and SWS (short wave sleep).

Not in that particular order, but I’ll explain the sleep stage process below.

why does my pug shake when sleeping

Stages of Canine Sleep

Your pooches brain waves are just like that of humans. They go through different stages of sleep as mentioned above. The NREM phase has 3 stages which are:

N1: This is the first stage of sleep where your Pug is just starting to transition to the unconsciousness of being asleep. At this stage, they are just starting to lose control over their muscles and limbs.

N2: During this stage, there is some brain activity involved, and your dog looks very calm and peaceful. This is the longest stage of the NREM sleep stage and can last about 45% of the total sleeping time.

N3: Known as the slow wave stage, your pooch has a decreased heart rate, lower blood pressure, and body temperature.

In dogs, the sleep cycle is the following:

  • NREM
  • REM
  • SWS

During the REM Stage

According to VetStreet, it is during the REM stage when a dog will act out their dreams by shaking, twitching, moving their paws like they are running in their dreams. You may even notice the following:

Spasmodic Movements: You’ll notice your Pug moving different parts of their body such as their mouth, tail, ears, legs, and eye while sleeping.

Moving Their Legs: Another thing that dogs do in their sleep is to move their legs like their running or digging.

Vocal Sounds: It’s NOT uncommon for your Pug to yelp, bark, growl or even howl while they are running. Mindy used to yelp in her sleep while shaking and it was adorable.

Should I Wake My Dog Up?

If you notice any of the above, don’t wake your dog up. It usually means that your dog is in the REM sleep phase, which is what we experience too at night.

However, unlike us, your pooch won’t suffer from lack of sleep during the day. They’ll usually just take another nap during the day.

Sometimes the spasms can wake your dog up and they may be confused and feel out of place. If you notice this, talk to your pooch in a warm loving voice to remind him/her where they are and bring them back to reality.

Other Reasons Your Pug Is Shaking While Sleeping

A majority of the times your pooch is just having an exciting dream, especially if they are a younger adult or a puppy.

If your puppy has just had their distemper, it can cause trembling in dogs while awake and asleep. Luckily, you’ll notice other symptoms in dogs with distemper such as the leaky nose, eyes, and a detectable fever.

If your pooch is not showing any of the signs above, then it’s most likely not distemper.

More Reasons Your Dog Twitches At Night

There can be other possible reasons a dog is shaking while sleeping. The following reasons your dog is shaking while sleeping will usually pertain to older dogs.

Canine Arthritis: As your dog gets older, it’s NOT uncommon for dogs to have joint problems. This is why it’s extremely important to provide them with a comfortable pet bed so they can rest their aching bones as they get older.

Seizures: It’s not hard to mistake a seizure from your pooch just having a dream, especially since a seizure is just a series of uncontrolled muscle movements. However, it’s important to remember that most dogs experience seizures of all types, even epilepsy while awake.

Canine seizures rarely occur during their sleep. The best way to distinguish dreaming from seizures is to pay attention to Fido’s breathing.

If your dog is in the REM stage, they will exhibit signs of deep breathing. During a seizure, a dog’s breath will sound labored, as if they are struggling to get enough air into their lungs.

Video Of Dog Shaking In His Sleep

Just for fun, here’s a video of a dog shaking in their sleep because they are dreaming. All dogs do it and if you haven’t seen your Pug do it yet, I have no doubt that you will experience it soon.


What Do Dogs Dream About?

While dogs may not necessarily dream as we do, they usually dream about things that are “front of mind.” This means that they usually dream about chasing squirrels, cats, or just playing with other dogs at the dog park.

If their legs are moving, there’s a good chance that they are dreaming about the daily activities they usually do.

Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll truly know what your Pug is dreaming about.

Should You Consult Your Veterinarian About The Tremor?

If this is the first time seeing your Pug twitch at night, you’ll probably freak thinking you need to take them to the vet. However, if they are just exhibiting the signs above from dreaming, it’s okay and very normal for dogs.

If your Pug is trembling while awake, it could just mean they are cold or scared.

However, if your dog is having muscle spasms while they are awake, it could be a sign of deeper health issues and your vet will have to run some diagnostic tests to uncover the underlying issue.

Once you start to understand your dogs sleeping patterns, you’ll most likely realize that your pooch is just having a great dream.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pugs Dream? Hopefully, this article answered your question that like you, your Pug is going to have dreams on occasion.

Related Articles About Pugs Sleep

Why Does My Pug Like to Sleep Under The Covers?

Do Pugs Sleep A Lot?

Why Does My Pug Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

References and Further Reading

VetStreet – Why Does My Dog… Twitch While Sleeping?

VCA – Do Dogs Dream?

VetInfo – Understanding Dog Sleep Patterns

Sleep Help – Everything You Need to Know About How Dogs Sleep

Black Pug Site