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Can Dogs See Ghosts or Spirits, What Does Science Say?

Written by Sarah Psaradelis
Published: September 27, 2022
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Dogs have many incredible senses, and one sense seems to be the ability to sense or “see” ghosts and spirits. However, there has been no scientific evidence that dogs can see spirits or ghosts, but many pet parents are certain their dog has been seeing things that we cannot.

There are many stories of dog owners witnessing their dogs experiencing paranormal events by their pet’s behavior, whether it is an indication that the dog sensed a ghost or spirit, or whether it’s a perception of their unusual behavior, this article will break down what scientists and veterinarians have concluded on this topic.

Can A Dog See Spirits Or Ghosts?

Border Collie - Portrait
Dogs are higly tuned animals and can see and hear things that we can’t


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Think You Can?

Dogs can sense things we can’t from an impending natural disaster such as earthquakes before they happen, to be able to sense when there is something wrong in their environment according to our own behaviors. They have highly tuned senses to their environment with a strong sense of smell and hearing that allows them to pick up noises and smells that humans can’t. Whether dogs can sense ghosts, spirits, and other paranormal entities has been a mystery for scientists and paranormal researchers.

Russel Hartstein, a certified dog behavior consultant and dog trainer in Los Angeles says, “The most interesting part of the science of dog behavior and understanding is that we simply don’t know so much.” Although there are no scientific proof dogs cannot see spirits or ghost, the possibility of a dog being able to sense paranormal activity shouldn’t be ruled out.

Dr. Aramendi, a senior veterinarian says that there is plenty of documentation that could support the notion that dogs can sense paranormal activity, but it is only meaningful to the extent that you believe paranormal activity exists and is capable of being sensed by the living.

Even though there is no science to explain whether dogs can truly sense spirits and ghosts, there is also little scientific evidence that they are real. Therefore, paranormal devices used to capture ghost noises and activity have been described as “pseudoscience”. So, if you want to believe that dogs can sense ghosts and spirits, such as a beloved deceased relative, you will need to believe it too.

If You Believe It, Your Dog Can Too

Dog Is Staring At The Wall
Have you ever noticed your dog staring intently at something you can’t see? Perhaps it was a ghost!

©Anastasiia Cherniavskaia/

If you have ever seen your dog staring blankly at a part of the room, perhaps their back hairs rise, and they bark or whine, you might think they are sensing something paranormal, especially if a relative has recently passed or if the owners feel they are being haunted.

The specific spot your dog is acting abnormal in may also be the very place someone died or where you have been experiencing paranormal things yourself. This could perhaps be a coincidence, but it could also be that your dog is picking up on your fear of being haunted or experiencing paranormal events.

Any smells associated with the deceased person can also hold a smell that your dog can sense, which can also explain why they will act strange around places where someone has passed, or if it is old belongings of a deceased relative.

If you believe in ghosts, spirits, and paranormal things yourself, then you will be able to pick up on any strange behaviors of your dog that could indicate they are sensing the paranormal. If you didn’t believe in them, you will not have an open mind to interpreting your dogs’ behaviors. 

Extra Senses Or Magnetic Fields?

Dogs are able to sense magnetic fields which leads some reserchers to think they have the ability to detect the presence of ghosts and spirits


Like humans, dogs have five senses – smells, taste, sight, sound, and touch. Anything used to describe another sense is referred to as having a “sixth sense”, which is what many dog owners believe their dog has. Dogs seem to have heightened senses that are much better than humans in terms of hearing and smells, but dogs are believed to have a magnetic sense where they can sense magnetic fields.

This has led people to believe that dogs can pick up on the presence of ghosts and spirits through a strong magnetic field. There have been several haunted locations where there were abnormally high magnetic fields or fluctuations, which can either be down to earth’s magnetic fields is stronger in some areas or the presence of ghosts depending on what you believe.

Many ghost hunters and researchers believe that ghosts have electromagnetic energy, and researchers found that strong magnetic fields can cause us to feel a ghostly presence, hallucinate, or have ghostly sightings. This can be due to the magnetic fields messing with our brains, which could be true for animals too. This experiment was conducted by Michael Persinger, a neuroscientist that believes EMF creates unusual activity in the brain.

So, could this be why dogs act strange in areas where there are believed to be ghosts? Instead of there being ghosts or paranormal activity, could the magnetic fields be interfering with your dog’s brain?

Can Dogs See Dead People?

Whether you think your dog can really detect spirits comes down to whether you believe in them or not too


It can be creepy to witness your dog barking at a corner of the wall at night with nothing there, leading pet owners to think that their dog is sensing a ghost or spirit of a deceased person. This occurrence is more common in dog owners that feel they are being haunted, or have had a relative pass away, whether in the same house or feel that the deceased relative is visiting them.

Since dogs can smell and hear things that we can’t, there is a possibility that your dog could be sensing a paranormal entity. However, with a lack of scientific evidence and the belief depending on whether you believe or not, it can be challenging to determine whether your dog is seeing a ghost or spirit, or if they are reacting to a sound or smell they sensed at the time.

The answer is heavily dependent on your beliefs, and there is no doubt that we still do not know much about what dogs can sense outside of what we can perceive.

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About the Author

I am a big animal lover that not only enjoys owning and getting to care for them, but also to write about them! I own many fish, along with shrimp, hamsters and a docile tarantula. Writing has become my passion and I am grateful to be able to write about the animals I love so dearly so that I can share my knowledge and expertise in the articles I write.

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