Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can Dogs See Ghosts? A Look at Their Sixth Sense

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

maltese dog sitting on the floor and looking up

There’s an element of creepiness when a dog follows something with her eyes that’s not visible to humans. Have you ever seen your dog follow something up the staircase or become alert to the dark hallway when you’re watching TV? Most dog owners have experienced their dog barking at something that’s not there or seeing the hairs stand straight up on their dog’s back when they can’t see a thing. Does that mean your dog is seeing a ghost? Can dogs see ghosts?

While certainly, no scientific evidence supports the theory, animal behavior can sometimes be strange, and we simply cannot rule out the possibility of dogs seeing ghosts. In short, it depends on if you believe in the paranormal, as some people are skeptical.

Click to Skip Ahead: 

Divider-Dog- New

Can Dogs See Ghosts? The Answer Lies Within Your Own Perceptions

Some people swear they’ve seen a ghost at some point in their lives. I personally have a photograph I took in the basement of an old mansion in Savannah, Georgia, that made me think twice about the existence of the paranormal, as a black, shadowy figure appeared in the photograph but was not visible when the photo was taken. The picture gave me goosebumps and left me wondering if I was in the presence of a ghost.

For someone like me who believes in the paranormal to some extent, if I see my dog displaying odd behaviors as if she’s seeing something I cannot, it would prompt me to believe she is seeing a ghost, especially if evidence of unusual happenings have been documented where my dog is displaying the odd behavior, such as someone having died where we are at the time. But that’s just me. A ghost would likely not be a consideration for someone who doesn’t believe in the paranormal.

tired looking pomeranian dog
Image Credit: Atichat Wattanasin Stone, Shutterstock

Do Dogs Have a Sixth Sense?

In addition to dogs’ five senses (touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing), dogs may have a sixth sense or “gut feeling” that something is off. For example, dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell and may detect an impending storm or even an earthquake due to the change in air pressure. Dogs are sensitive to such changes and may smell and feel the change, whereas humans cannot.


Can Dogs See Things Humans Can’t?

Dogs have an incredible field of vision compared to humans and can see objects at greater distances. Dogs can pick up visible objects and detect movement during twilight, dusk, and dawn. In contrast, humans cannot see such things during those times of day—this could be perceived as something paranormal by a believer in the phenomenon.

Dogs navigate the world much differently from us with their heightened senses, but whether or not they can pick up on certain energies, unidentified forms, or the paranormal will always be shrouded in mystery.

happy looking dog sitting on long grass
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

Can Dogs Sense Your Mood?

Dogs are excellent body language readers and use visual clues to detect if you’re happy, angry, or sad. Have you ever been upset, and your dog is there to comfort you? Dogs can sense your mood through your posture, the size of your pupils, and even your smile, all of which help detect your feelings at the time. For example, if you’re angry, your dog can sense this through your posture and movements, and they know to stay away until you’ve calmed down.

All of this may tie into if you believe your dog can see ghosts. If you’re fearful of something (such as you think you’ve seen a ghost), your dog will pick up on that fear and may act fearful by tucking her tail between her legs—this can easily make a dog owner feel that the dog senses the presence of a ghost.


My Dog Barks at Nothing—Could It Be a Ghost?

Dogs most definitely bark at things we cannot see, and they never bark at “nothing”. They are barking at “something” due to using their extraordinary senses.

Dogs can hear high-pitched frequencies that can make them bark when you hear nothing at all. We’ve talked about their sense of sight, which can be another reason for barking at seemingly “nothing.” In short, if your dog barks, there is a reason, and the reason for the bark may be a mystery to you. Could your dog be barking at a ghost? Maybe…

Divider-Dog- New

Final Spooky Thoughts

While we can’t say for sure that dogs can see ghosts due to a lack of scientific evidence for ghosts in the first place, it doesn’t mean you can rule it out. Sometimes, strange occurrences happen, whether there’s a logical explanation or not and the odds are your dog will react to it in one way or another. Do you have a ghost in your home, and your dog is the only one who knows it’s there?

You may never know for sure, but one thing’s certain: your dog is barking at something, and it could be a ghost keeping an eye on you!

Featured Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database