Can dogs see ghosts ? What scientists and behaviorists say about it

Dogs are cute, cuddly and compassionate. But along with all the good things about our furry friends, they also have a creepy side. We know that dogs are blessed with extraordinary senses which allow them to see things we can’t – such as approaching weather or the presence of cancer. But can dogs see ghosts? The answer to whether dogs are able to sense the presence of a ghost depends, first, on whether you believe in ghosts.

Here’s a question, have you ever been alone at home or specifically alone in your room with your dog, and suddenly, you find him stare at the wall or at something that doesn’t exist with his hair standing up on ends?

Or, does your dog sometimes bark at certain corners of your home or an abandoned house in your neighbourhood that seems to make him nervous?

Well, I have had many dogs in the past 24 years and I will not lie about the fact that I have personally experienced such creepy events, not just once but dozens of times.

I know such situations are scary enough to make you feel dizzy and want to run out the door, both at the same time.

Hiding under the blanket, our scared but curious mind seeks an answer to the old-age question – can dogs see ghosts?

Given their special senses, there are indeed some weird, strange things dogs might actually see or detect.

Naturally, it is quite spooky but what if it’s true? Don’t you think it’s kind of comforting to know that your dog is able to sense a loved one who has passed on?

So, why is your dog behaving like Scooby-Doo ? Read on to know more.

History of Dogs and Ghosts

If your curious mind has ever questioned you – can dogs see ghosts – and if you have suspected that your dog has a link to the paranormal universe, then you aren’t the first to think so.

In history, many civilizations and cultures have considered dogs and ghosts to be closely connected.

According to World History Encyclopedia (formerly known as Ancient History Encyclopedia), many Mesoamerican cultures like the Maya and the Aztec believed that dogs guarded the bridge between the world of the living and the dead.

Both these tribes considered dogs to be spiritual guides who lead them out of the mortal world. So they had a practice to bury their dead with dogs who were thought to serve the soul in the afterlife as both a guide through the underworld and as a protector against ghosts.

A similar group of people from Mexico, known as Tarascans believed dogs to be guardians in daily life who warned the living of possible dangers. They also said that the dog would help your spirit to navigate to paradise.

Additionally, in ancient Greece, there was a belief that when someone would die, they were thought to encounter Cerberus, a three-headed dog, when their soul passed on to the other side.

Doesn’t this remind you of Dante – the spirit dog of Miguel in the famous animated movie – Coco, who helps him travel throughout the Land of the Dead?

Also read – Domestic dogs : Evolution from wolf to man’s best friend

Dogs and Their Amplified Senses

If ghosts were real, then our canine friends would be the first to know about it. With senses beyond stronger than that of human’s, I wonder what lies outside our sensing ability that our dogs can detect.

Scientifically, humans and dogs share the same five senses: eyesight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. However, these senses are amplified in dogs, thus making them extraordinary creatures ideal for hikes and hunting, police and military services, healing and therapy, and lifelong companions.

Dogs can hear about four times better than what we humans can. They can also hear softer sounds and higher pitched noises from further distances than what we do.

If we look at the numbers, normally humans can hear anything roughly between 0 to 180 decibels, 0 being the lowest range and 85 being the maximum loudness a human ear can bear. Anything beyond 85dB may damage the human ear.

On the other hand, dogs hear sounds as low as -5 to -15 decibels and as high as 85-120 decibels.

Technically, a human whisper is around 20 – 30 dB, now this means a dog can hear anything softer than a whisper. How cool is that!

So, according to this fact, this could be the reason what makes dogs more likely to hear some footsteps of a ghost or sense any paranormal activity.

One of the other heightened senses in a dog is – smell. A dog’s smell is almost 10,000 times more powerful than yours and mine. Their sense of smell is so intense and so spot on that it can even be submitted as an evidence in a court of law.

Besides this, dog experts also say that dogs are specialists at sensing energy shifts in their human family members and are amazing at decoding our different emotions.

Several dogs have such sharp senses that they can even detect the smell of cancer or predict an oncoming seizure.

So, it wouldn’t surprise me if there were any particular ghost-specific smell, dogs would be able to sniff them out in a jiffy. Just like Scooby-Doo!

Now I begin to wonder, instead of asking ourselves – can dogs see ghosts, a better question would be “can dogs smell ghost”. Sniff! Sniff!

The Sixth Sense

Together with the five senses dogs also have a sixth sense — that can be called “the gut feeling or an intuition”. This is the same feeling we humans too possess and get when something doesn’t feel right.

Although, there is a difference in the way dogs deal with their sixth sense from what we do.

Dogs have raw minds and hence they are more open to trusting what they feel and acting on those feelings accordingly.

For instance, while our brains analyze what’s going on around us and deny the possibility that ghosts exist, dogs don’t do that.

I’ll give you a practical example that all dog owners would definitely relate to: when my dogs run and sit near the main gate waiting for mom to come home in the evening, this behavior could be defined as a habit that is simply learned through repetition, just the way I learnt it day in day out.

But if the mom comes home much earlier than usual, and my dogs still sit by the gate within minutes of her arrival, that unexplained behavior could be called “a dog’s sixth sense”.

In such situations, my mind begins to analyse time and reasons of mom to arrive earlier than usual, but my dogs go by their gut feeling and you bet, they are always right.

This very much explains why dogs also have the ability to sense impending natural disasters before they happen.

Moreover, all natural phenomena and barometric pressure and have odors associated with them which are beyond the capacity of our noses to recognize, but dogs can sense these changes in nature immediately.

Also read – How many dogs in the world are there ? World Dog population

Can dogs see ghosts

From barking at something invisible in the room to sitting next to a chair of a deceased member of the family they were really attached to – there is an enormous collection of evidence from dog parents and owners that can prove the superpowers of dogs.

However, science has no proof or an answer to this question. But the science of dog behaviour does.

May be there are no scientific studies that can prove dogs are able to detect the presence of ghosts, but at the same time there is so much to the mysterious canine behavior that the possibilities of a dog sensing something a human can’t is not out of the question.

Animal behaviourists and experts believe there is still a lot they do not know about dogs and their strange behaviour. Also, there is plenty of documentation that could support the idea that dogs can sense paranormal activities and mystical powers.

For instance, during case studies conducted by canine behavioural researchers, many dog owners have reported cases when their dog’s hair stands on end as if they could see an apparition approaching.

Similarly, there have been reports of dogs staying close to favourite spots or things like a chair or a bed of a family member who had recently passed away. These events mentioned that the dogs sat near the places or objects and behaved as if the deceased person was still present there.

So, for the bona fide answer and judgment to whether or not dogs can see ghosts, the jury is still obscure.


The dynamic genius, Albert Einstein proved that all the energy of the universe is constant and further that it can neither be created nor destroyed.

So this makes me wonder what happens to that energy when we die? If this energy cannot be destroyed, then according to the millennial genius Sir Einstein, it must be changed into another form of energy. What is that new energy called? Could we say that the new energy is a GHOST?

Although the answer to the question – can dogs see ghosts is quite disappointing from a scientific point of view, it’s a lot more fun to imagine that your dog is sensing something paranormal.

As eerie as it seems, science ruins the fun for sure. We may not have proof that ghosts exist and blah blah blah, but we also don’t have proof that they DO NOT exist. So, here, your own perceptions play an important part.

In this mortal world, there’s a lot about dogs that we still don’t know, so it’s completely possible that they can predict supernatural events, feel energy-shifts, and perhaps see ghosts. Just saying!

Share this very interesting article with all the dog lovers you know.

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