What Does It Mean When You Dream About Dogs?

By: Lisa Lindquist // Updated: December 8, 2021  

Dreams are the brain’s way of sorting through your conscious mind as you sleep. One of the ways they do that is by jumbling all kinds of symbols together, often to strange and bizarre effects. 

But dreams don’t always make sense, and you wouldn’t be the first person to wonder what your dream meant. 

I happen to have several dogs and am always dreaming about them. Curious about what that meant, I started researching dreams about dogs. 

Here’s what that research yielded. 

What Does It Mean to Dream a Dog?

When expert analysts talk about dreams, there are often recurring dream archetypes, like dreams of teeth falling out or writing a test while naked.

In those cases, dream experts have explanations that have penetrated popular culture. 

But dreams about dogs aren’t that clear-cut. They have a range of symbolism and can represent everything from vulnerability to loyalty and even protection.  

The Spiritual Symbolism of a Dog

Because dogs are so loyal to their people, they also inherit significant symbolic meaning. 

One of their primary spiritual meanings is friendship. 

That’s why you often dream about dogs when you need guidance and a sounding board for ideas you might be considering. 

Since dogs’ other spiritual significance is loyalty, it’s also likely you will have dreams about dogs if the relationships around you change dramatically or suddenly. 

Dogs' loyalty makes them an emotional constant for their humans, so if you need reassurance or security in your private life, you may well dream about dogs. 

Finally, another spiritual meaning of dogs in dreams is as representations of your heart. 

Opinion varies on why, but the consensus is that dogs’ emotional vulnerability makes them ideal candidates for showing us our own emotional vulnerabilities.  

Dreaming of Dogs – Different Scenarios & Its Meanings

So, dogs have varied spiritual meanings in dreams. To reiterate, they represent:

  • Friendship 

  • Loyalty 

  • Protection 

  • Vulnerability 

But if you’re anything like me, then you seldom dream about dogs without context. 

For instance, I have a recurring dream of my dogs standing with me in a drained swimming pool. But that’s a highly individualized dream about dogs. 

Let’s look at some of the more usual recurring dreams you might have about dogs and what they can mean. 

Dream About Your Dog Dying?

When analyzing dreams, the first place to start is with the literal. 

If you dream about your dog dying, it may be because you have recently lost your dog. 

Animals bring a distinctive shape to households, and their absence opens up a space in families, especially if, as many people do, you think of your dog like family. That kind of loss takes time to process, and one way of doing that is through dreams. 

However, if you dream about your very-much-alive dog dying, then it’s time to look past the literal and start exploring the symbolic meaning of your dream. 

I Dreamed My Dog Died. What Does it Mean?

Dogs are pack animals and that’s part of the reason they represent friendship and familial bonds in dreams. 

If you dream about your dog dying, then it’s possible you aren’t concerned about your dog at all. Instead, you might be anxious that a friend, family member, or loved one is pulling away from you. 

But because this is a source of stress, your sleeping brain explores the problem through dog imagery. If this seems a likely interpretation of your dream, make sure you spend time with the people you care about. 

Also, remember that dreams about dogs dying don’t necessarily translate to back-stabbing, Shakespearean levels of tragedy. They could, but they could equally mean that a colleague at work is about to leave and you’ll miss them. 

If that’s the case, there’s nothing you can do to prevent the loss. But you can promise to keep in touch.  

Dream About Your Dead Dog Being Alive

As discussed, losing a dog can be devastating for the owners. 

It’s natural to dream about your dead dog being alive as a kind of wish fulfillment. It can help you process the grief, but it can also be a way for you to remember your dog. 

But dreams about your dead dog being alive could also have deeper meaning. 

Since dogs have links with friendship and loyalty, a dream where your dead dog comes back to life means you want to resurrect an old friendship. 

Alternatively, it might be a sign that someone has returned to your life, and you want to reconnect with them. 

Yet another interpretation of this dream is that your dead dog has come back to visit you. They might be checking up on you, making sure their successor is doing their job well, or they might have a message for you. 

Dream About a Dog Biting You

Dreams about dogs biting you are never pleasant. And their interpretations are similarly disconcerting. 

Because of dogs’ association with loyalty, dreaming about a dog biting you means that you believe you acted dishonestly. 

But if the dog is biting someone else, you expect dishonesty or betrayal from that person. 

If the dog bites a stranger, then you believe dishonesty will come from more nebulous, unknowable directions.

Dream About a Dog Chasing You

Since one of dogs’ many purposes in dreams is to represent your heart or your inner self, the most prevalent interpretation of dreams where a dog chases you is that you aren't being true to yourself. In other words, you aren’t the person you should be. 

This kind of dream encourages you to be unapologetically yourself and face up to any lingering fears you have. 

Dream About a Dog Attacking You

Personally, I’m not sure this scenario counts as a dream so much as a nightmare. Dogs can be loveable, but a dog with its back up can be terrifying. 

If you dream about a dog attacking you, then you feel threatened in some way. 

Typically dogs embody protectiveness, because of their devotion to pack members. 

They can also symbolize your heart. 

Together, those two things suggest that something important to you is in jeopardy. 

Bearing in mind dogs’ other spiritual meanings, it could be a friendship, a loved one, or even personal values. 

Dream of Dog Attacking Someone Else

Conversely, if you dream of a dog attacking someone else, you might be concerned that you have done something to hurt someone. 

Your heart and values, as embodied by the dog, have caused trouble. 

Or, you might be worried about the ramifications of a decision you have to make and how it will affect the people around you. 

Dream About a Dog Licking You

In reality, if your dog licks you, it’s asking for food from you. But dogs that lick you in dreams are much less mercurial. 

If you dream about a dog licking you, it suggests you’re happy. 

Alternatively, it could mean that good news is imminent. 

Dream About Your Dog Running Away

This is another dream I would file under a nightmare, or at least deeply unpleasant. But research says that if you dream about a dog running away, pay attention. 

The combined implications of vulnerability and protection associated with dream dogs suggest that if the dog is running away, it’s warning you about danger. Either you’re already in it, or it’s imminent. 

But because dogs are also tied to loyalty and friendship, another interpretation is that you’ve grown apart from someone close to you. It could be a partner but doesn’t have to be. 

Whoever it is, if you dream about a dog running away and can think of someone you feel distanced from, it’s time to reach out to them. 

Dream of a Dog Giving Birth

In dreams, birth rarely represents literal birth. Instead, it’s a sign of change. Sometimes for you, sometimes for the people around you. 

If you dream of a dog giving birth, change is on the way. 

Coupled with the spiritual meanings of dogs in dreams, the change coming is probably a new friendship or relationship. 

Dream About Your Dog Getting Hurt

Like dreams of attacking or biting dogs, interpretations of dreams about your dog getting hurt usually mean a relationship is in jeopardy. But if the dog is hurt rather than running away, it’s a bit less dramatic. 

If you dream about your dog getting hurt, then someone has recently hurt your feelings, and it’s still bothering you. 

Another possible meaning is that there’s something wrong with your health. 

You might not have called the doctor yet, but as your body detects the problem, your brain works through it and communicates it to you through dreams. 

Dream of Dog Poop

This is an odd one. No one expects to dream about dog poop. That said, the various meanings linked to this dream aren’t as unlikely as you might think. 

When looking into what dreams about dog poop means, I noticed dog poop typically stands for an issue that needs resolving. 

You might even say something needs cleaning up. This could be anything, from a personal bad habit to a tendency to overreact. 

Whatever the issue you need to address, dreams about dog poop are a sign to do something about them. 

Dream About Cats and Dogs

I’ve talked a lot about what dogs mean in dreams, but what about cats and dogs? 

Unsurprisingly, cats represent many things in dreams. These range from curiosity to independence to bad luck. 

When combined with a dog in your dream, chances are you’re dreaming about keeping your friends safe from misfortune and unwanted scrutiny. 

Different Dogs Dream Meaning

In addition to dreams about your dog, you might also find yourself dreaming about generic dogs. 

Sometimes these have a particular color. If they do, you want to take note because different types and colors of dogs represent different things. 

Dream About Puppies

Dreams about puppies have several meanings. Since puppies still have lots of growing to do, your dream could mean that you need to grow emotionally or spiritually. 

But it could also mean you are thinking about new life and connections. This could mean you’re ready to start a family, but it could also mean you want to make new friends. 

Brown Dog Dream Meaning

Brown dogs have several meanings. 

For one thing, dreaming about a brown dog can represent healing. If you see a brown dog in your dreams, you may be trying to repair a relationship or thinking about mending metaphorical fences. 

But brown dogs also stand for something or someone out of control. 

Perhaps you feel a particular friend doesn’t represent boundaries, or one relationship dominates your life more than you like. These things and similar ideas would explain why you dream about brown dogs. 

White Dog Dream Meaning

White dogs represent:

  • Love 

  • Gratitude/appreciation 

  • Respect 

Typically, experts see them as indicative of a religious vocation or strong connection to God. History backs them up, and hagiography is full of stories of saints led through adversity by white animals. 

Black Dog Dream

I happen to think black dogs look distinguished and perpetually well-groomed. But in dreams, black dogs signal impending misfortune, bad luck, and even betrayal. 

Dream About Pit Bulls

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying pit bulls make excellent guard dogs. 

Their extreme protectiveness means that if you dream about pit bulls, you feel you need protection. 

Note that while the most literal meaning of dreams about pit bulls suggests you need physical protection, that may not be the case. Maybe you are prone to hurt feelings. 

This dream is your way of telling yourself you need to find a way to protect yourself physically and emotionally from others. 

Is a Dog Dream Good or Bad?

So, what’s the verdict? Is dreaming about a dog a good or bad thing? 

I think it depends on the dream. Some dog dreams can be enjoyable experiences. 

For instance, the sight of a dead dog returning to you might be comforting, while the experience of being licked by a dog is always enjoyable. 

But not all dog dreams are the sweet kind. Others can feel more like nightmares and may be warning signs about problems you feel manifesting in your life. 

Good or bad, if you are dreaming about dogs, pay attention. Analysts say there’s always a reason for your dog dreams, and I agree.