Dream Interpretation: Common Animals and What They Represent

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dream analysis

How have you been sleeping lately? Maybe you’ve had a handful of good dreams or even a nightmare or two. Sometimes dreams are vivid and clear in our minds long after waking. Other times, it is difficult to hold onto the memories of our slumber. Not to worry! When it comes to dream analysis, anything you need to remember, you will. For instance, perhaps you had a dream recently that involved an animal. While you may not recall the specifics of the dream…chances are you remember the animal. This is all you need to start exploring the deeper significance.

Dream interpretation can add richness to your life by helping you acknowledge your emotions and work through any fears, wounds, or self-imposed limitations. It is time to start analyzing your dreams. Here are some of the most common animal symbols and what they represent.

The Importance of Dream Interpretation

dream interpretation

Everybody dreams. According to a Healthline article, dreaming happens during the REM stage of sleep (which can take place multiple times per night). This stage typically occurs about an hour and a half after you fall asleep at night. From there, it may last for ten minutes or eventually up to an hour. Though dreams occur each night…not everyone remembers their dreams on a regular basis. Every once and a while, however, a dream stays with you. Or you may wake up in the middle of a dream.

When this happens, it can be beneficial to recall certain symbols or signs that may have been present in the dream. Were you wearing a specific colour? Who was with you? Where was the dream taking place? Did you feel safe and peaceful or afraid and uncertain? Those details may seem unimportant. Nevertheless, they can reveal deeper truths about who you are. They have the ability to shed light on your inner self and subconscious mind. Clearly, your dreams matter! So, what does it mean when you dream about an animal?

What Animals Represent in Your Dreams

Most people have had a dream about an animal at some point. In terms of dream interpretation, there are several possible explanations for their appearance. Generally speaking? Dreaming about an animal has to do with primitive needs or desires. Think of things like survival, feelings of fear, anger, and so on. Seeing an animal in a dream may be a warning or an alert that one of your basic needs is not being met. Perhaps you are living in a constant state of fear or you are struggling to feel secure financially. It all comes back to the question of whether your basic needs are being met or not.

Alternatively, animals can be a warning that an instinctual part of your personality (maybe an unwanted trait or shadow personality) is being hidden away. It may be time to look honestly at yourself. Do you suppress your feelings on a regular basis? Do you dislike the part of you that feels intense anger? Consider an animal dream as a warning to look critically at what primitive reactions you may be uncomfortable with.  

Common Animals Found in Dreams

elephant dreams

Though there are countless animals that can appear in dreams…there are a handful of more common ones. Here are dream interpretations of some of those animals:

  • Elephants are easily one of the most common dream symbols. These impressive animals are large in size but are not tied to feelings of inadequacy or intimidation. Rather, elephants are linked to patience, loyalty, wisdom, inner strength, and friendship. This is a peaceful yet powerful image to see in a dream.
  • Wolves are assertive animals. In dreams, they typically have to do with you feeling threatened by someone or something. Is there an area of your life that has left you vulnerable? Feeling ­­scared or overwhelmed? A wolf or a pack of wolves may appear in your dreams to highlight those emotions. Use your dream to acknowledge those emotions and find healthy ways to move forward.
  • Deer are also seen in dreams. They represent the gentler aspects of self. These beautiful animals have to do with vulnerability and openness. On the other hand, seeing a stag (male deer) in a dream represents a connection to courage and virility and may also be tied to a father figure that is present in your life.
  • Lions are large, powerful, and ultimately intimidating. In the dream world, they have to do with physical strength and personal success. The meaning here is often about feeling confident and successful in one or more areas of your life. Lions may also be a sign from your subconscious that you need to be more assertive in your day-to-day life. The Tiger has a similar dream interpretation to the lions. However, it can also represent plans that have changed – or will change – unexpectedly.
  • Dogs are all about companionship and loyalty in the real world. In dreams? Dogs have to do with the unpredictable “wild” nature that is within all us all. It reflects our need for spontaneity. Perhaps your life has felt too controlled, planned, or ordered lately. This dream symbol might be a gentle reminder from your inner self that it’s okay let loose every now and again.
  • Foxes are also common dream symbols. This animal is unpredictable. Perhaps that is why their dream interpretation is related to dealing with difficult people, facing challenges in life, or a detachment from reality. Consider whether the fox requires protection (or is being hunted) in the dream. This may reflect your need to feel safe and protected in your everyday life.
  • Cats are found in many dreams. There are numerous things these feline friends can represent. For women, seeing a cat in a dream is all about a desire to care for others. For men, cats have to do with intuition or even jealousy within certain relationships. Generally speaking, seeing a cat in a dream is about independence and fertility.
  • Rats are linked to several dream meanings. Mainly, these rodents have to do with fears and anxieties. For example, if you see a rat in a dream, it likely has to do with intense fears and anxieties you are experiencing in your life. Additionally, they also have been tied to disloyalty from others or a failure to accept the “unacceptable” parts of yourself.

Additional Animal Interpretations

Sometimes, animal dreams can feel more like nightmares. Perhaps the animal in your dream was chasing you or felt threatening to your personal safety. In these cases, the dream interpretation has to do with feeling controlled by your strong emotions or the need to express hidden aspects of yourself. There are other ways animals may appear in your dreams as well. For instance, you may hear animal noises rather than see an animal in its physical form.

Animal noises, like barking, whining, or chirping, are always trying to nab your attention. So, ask yourself: what do you need to be paying closer attention to? How did the animal noise make you feel? Consider whether the sound is threatening (which may have to do with pent up anger inside of you) or calming (which may indicate your growing trust in another person).  

Dream interpretation can be revealing. When it comes to seeing or hearing animals during slumber? These symbols are powerful. Animals have the ability to uncover deeper emotions and provide much needed clarity about situations in your waking life.