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5 Fascinating Reasons Why We Think Dogs Can See Ghosts

can dogs see ghosts?

There are always going to be debates over the existence of ghosts as long as we have the inability to know for certain. Many of us want the prospect to be true, especially when it comes to recent bereavements, so we may turn to our canine companions for help. There is the theory that dogs can see or sense ghosts because of their stronger perception of the world and emotional intelligence. But, is this true?

There is no clear-cut yes or no answer to this question because of the difference in the sensory perception of dogs and humans. We know that they can sense a lot more than us, including a sixth gut sense. Certain behaviours suggest that they could sense paranormal activity and ghosts. However, there are also some scientific and psychological arguments against this. 

I reached out to Laura Marjorie Miller from O Best Beloved Animal Communication for her thoughts….

“If humans can perceive ghosts in the ways we do, why wouldn’t dogs be able to perceive them with their unique array of senses? “

“Part of the difficulty comes with defining exactly what we mean when we refer to a ghost: is a ghost a spirit of a deceased being haunting a particular place, is a ghost also a spirit entity that may be something entirely independent but not three-dimensional, like a fairy—or is it a knot of energy that is affecting material things, like a poltergeist, OR is it a time-slip where we are seeing through the veils of time to someone doing something at another time but in the same place as we are, even on repeat? These are all possibilities for ghosts.”

A Dog’s Senses Are That Much Stronger Than Our Own

We all know that our dogs have incredible sensory perception compared to our own. This means a greatly heightened sense of smell and hearing. On a more general, everyday level, these improved senses ensure that man’s best friend is also their best colleague when it comes to tracking suspects, sniffing out prey, listening out for intruders, or simply hearing commands across wide distances. 

But, there are also cases where their senses go even further beyond our comprehension. A great example of this is the sense of smell, where dogs have been known to sniff out cancers in their owners long before any medical scan.

It is believed that there is a faint odour to the tissue that they can detect. Dogs are reported to have repeatedly pawed at infected areas to get their owner’s attention. After going for a check-up, the tumours or other cancerous bodies tend to be exactly where the dog predicted.

Then there is the fact that dogs can see more than us in the dark, with a greater distinction between dawn and twilight. 


Laura told me: “As of this date, I have not seen a ghost with my eyes visually yet I have felt pressure on myself in ghostly places. Everything in me tells me that dogs would be able to sense the same, especially since unlike humans they have not been trained to rule out things that are or are not ‘supposed to be there.’ They don’t have any burden of disbelief to get over. ”

Can dogs sense ghosts?

Could Increased Sensory Perception Allow For The Ability To See Ghosts?

So, if dogs can pick up on other signals, forms of energy, and objects beyond human comprehension, what does that mean when it comes to the subject of ghosts? If dogs do indeed have the potential to notice changes in barometric pressure, something that some sensitive humans can do to, does this translate to an ability to sense paranormal movement and atmospheric changes that could indicate the presence of ghosts and other spirits? 

There is certainly plenty of anecdotal evidence for this, with owners talking about dogs acting strangely in certain places. There is a sense that they can detect negative energy in a place and refuse to go anywhere near it.

There are also stories of dogs becoming transfixed by things that humans cannot see, perhaps sitting or standing by a chair in a room and staring at in. Some may bark at the spot as though there was something or someone there that they weren’t happy with. However, there may be other scientific reasons for these moments. 

Your dog may sense something real that you can’t, rather than something paranormal.

“To me it’s a question of expanding the definition of what is ‘real’ ~ if something exists, it is real, even if it occupies a range outside of accustomed human senses and scientific testability. ‘Normal’ simply defines a range of experience that we are used to. ” Laura continued.

“Animals are as subject to different kinds of experiences as we are, and with their specialised array of senses have encounters with those other realms in unique ways. There absolutely are other dimensions and other realms. When animals are responding to them, to elements they are able to perceive that we are not, that is an opportunity for us to observe what our animals are doing, to go quiet, and to learn from them.”

Let’s go back to that idea of a greater perception of sight and smell in the dark. You are walking on a dark morning in winter together. The country lane is already a bit eerie and misty and your mind starts playing tricks on you. Suddenly your dog stops and stares ahead at nothing. Your current state of mind may tell you that your dog saw the ghost you thought was stalking you.

The chances are that they actually saw a rabbit or some other creature cross the path with their stronger night vision. 

Dogs Pick Up On Psychological Cues From Us

Also, you have to consider that your dog may take some behavioural cues from you. For example, let’s say that your dog is barking or staring at an empty chair in a family home that was commonly used by a recently deceased relative. You may believe that they are barking at the presence of that person. But, maybe they just feel as uneasy as you do about the emptiness and need to express that. Maybe they just miss that person. 

If they refuse to enter a building or room somewhere and it seems as though they are scared of something in there, they might not be the only ones. You may be giving off a similar vibe in your own body language and your dog picked up on this. 

Can dogs sense ghosts?

Dogs Have A Strong Sixth Sense

With that said, dogs are certainly more in-tune with their gut feelings than we are. We will ignore those feelings and overanalyse them while a dog will simply refuse to proceed with what it is doing.

If they have a strong feeling that there is negative energy in a room, or that a person isn’t going to be kind to them, they will follow that instinct as a survival mechanism. 

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (Sundowner Syndrome)

Finally, there is a condition called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome that we need to consider here. This syndrome is a neurobehavioural disorder that is brought on by old age. Think of it a little like senility, with the dog getting more confused, slower to learn new things, or perhaps more rebellious in the house.

There may be moments on walks where they stop and just stare down a lane or at something on your journey. They may be experiencing a lapse in memory or concentration but this looks a lot like they may have seen something outside of our realm of perception. 

I have been around dogs who bark according to ‘sundowner syndrome’ and also been shared credible stories of dogs who have barked into apparently unoccupied space at uncanny moments who would not have been suffering from sundowner’s at all! 

Laura Marjorie Miller, O Best Beloved Animal Communication
can dogs see ghosts

In summary

In short, there is no clear evidence either way. There are plenty of scientific reasons why these behaviours are nothing to do with ghosts or paranormal activity. However, the stronger perceptive skills of dogs, their sixth sense, and their greater empathy, could allow them to experience things we can’t.

If you believe that ghosts are out there, it then makes sense to believe that dogs may be able to sense them. 

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