A dog in a ghost costume. The ghost costume isn't quite made right, so he peeks out the nose hole with one eye.

Dogs have senses that are so keen, they border on the supernatural. It’s no wonder that so many people wonder, can dogs see ghosts? Unfortunately, the answer is that we don’t know. If we did, we’d be confirming the existence of ghosts themselves, and so far the jury is out on that too.

Fortunately, scientists are just as curious as we regular folk are, and there has been some effort to find out just what dogs see when it comes to the paranormal.

Dogs can Detect Hallucinations

We do know that dogs can tell if you’re hallucinating. There are even psychiatric service dogs who can help those suffering from hallucinations tell reality and fantasy apart. This may include teaching a dog to check for people in a room and alerting if there is someone, or jar someone out of a hallucination by pawing them.

Dogs can also be trained to bark to indicate nothing is there, or to look calmly in the direction a person hallucinating thinks they see something. A service dog can be a huge relief to those who suffer from hallucinations.

Their Senses Are Incredible

Although it’s unlikely your dog can smell a ghost, chances are they pick up much about the world that goes unnoticed by humans. Dogs can smell how we feel through our pheromones, hear frequencies far above our own hearing range, and even have a 6th sense tied to the Earth’s magnetic fields.

If your dog is staring down a hallway, whining, looking at walls, or indicating interest when there is “nothing there” it’s actually possible there is something there you don’t notice.

This means that if there is a squirrel in your attic, even if it doesn’t make much noise and is undetectable to humans, your dog will probably know it’s there and act that way. If your dog is staring at a corner intently it could be a ghost, but it also could be something creaked inside the wall and they heard it.

They Can Sense Disasters

Dogs can sense bariatric pressure changing, and so they can often predict a natural disaster coming. If your dog becomes restless before a storm or an earthquake, there’s definitely something to it. The CDC suggests they may even be able to smell disaster coming their way.

They cite an interesting event in 1975 when China evacuated a city based on the unusual behavior of dogs. 2,041 people died and 27,538 were injured during the 7.3 earthquake that happened shortly after. As bad as this is, an estimated 150,000 would have died or been injured if no earthquake evacuation was made.

If your dog is freaking out and you live near a volcano, earthquake zone, or in a place where storms are likely, check up on it. He may well be trying to communicate to you something is coming, but perhaps not a ghost.

Why There’s No Study On This

Currently, there are no real studies on paranormal activity and how canines perceive it. This is partly because there’s no solid definition of what a ghost is. Some people say they’re the spirits of the dead, while others disagree and say they’re telepathic projections.

Until paranormal activity can be organized into a standard, a scientific test to see if dogs can detect it won’t exist. Instead, we must look at anecdotal evidence from believers to answer the question, “Can dogs see ghosts?”

That being said, there’s no proof either way, which means it’s still possible. We reached out to our dog community and received dozens of replies. Read all about their amazing stories here, and decide for yourself.

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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