How do experts use electroencephalograms (EEG’s) to read brain activity in sleeping dogs?

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An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a machine that measures electrical activity in the brain. Experts can use an EEG test to measure and record a dog’s brain activity by attaching wires to the dog’s head that send information to a computer. By doing this, experts can see the level of brain activity while the dog is sleeping, to determine sleep stages and verify if dogs truly have the ability to dream.

Many experts are very interested in whether or not dogs dream. Using an EEG test, it’s easy to see brain activity while a dog is sleeping and make some conclusions about whether or not dogs can actually dream. Dogs go through sleep cycles very similar to humans, and experience both deep sleep and REM sleep. During REM sleep, a dog’s behavior will include eye rolling, muscle twitching and audible noises.

During the REM sleep stage, an EEG test would show an increase in brain wave activity. During a deep sleep stage, the brain activity would slow and appear as undulating waves on an EEG report. When a dog enters into a sleep stage that is neither deep sleep nor light sleep, the brain waves on an EEG report would be even and elongated in appearance.

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