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You’re snuggled on the couch with your dog catching up the latest episode of your favorite Netflix show when suddenly, the animal jumps to the floor, walks towards the doorway, and begins to bark frantically.
You want to dismiss this behavior as normal doggy agitation, only to see your pooch acting strangely frightened. The animal keeps barking at the invincible object as he backs away from the door, almost as if the assailant is silently creeping into the room through the closed door.
It doesn’t matter whether you believe in superstition or not. This behavior is bound to get you wondering – do dogs see ghosts?
There’s no doubt that dogs are better equipped at detecting things that are out of the ordinary. But whether your pooch can actually see ghosts is a different matter altogether. Remember that there’s an ever-raging debate on whether ghosts actually do exist. While scientists are adamant that the silhouette you once visualized hovering over your grandfather’s graveyard at night was nothing more than your imagination, religious clerics and philosophers think otherwise.
So, perhaps the more pertinent question should be – do ghosts really exist?
If they do, then dogs are most certainly better placed at seeing them. That’s due to their heightened senses compared to ours.
Read on as we uncover the spooky truth between dogs and ghosts.
Why Do We Think Dogs See Ghosts?
Dogs are endowed with extraordinary senses that are way sharper than ours. This is one of the reasons most people believe that dogs can possibly detect paranormal activities.
But just how superior are your dog’s senses?
Now, humans and dogs share the same five senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. However, dogs far excel humans in the first three.
1. Sense of Sight
Dogs can see incredibly well in poorly-lit conditions. In fact, many dogs will still make out objects in pitch black. That’s in contrast to humans who need abundant light to be able to see.
The fact that paranormal activity tends to peak at night explains why your pooch may be better equipped at picking up ghostly images in your home.
2. Sense of Hearing
Not only is a dog’s sense of sight superior to ours. These animals can also hear higher sound frequencies than we can. For comparison, dogs can hear about five times better than humans.
Ghosts have a way of flying under the radar. However, a dog’s highly-developed sense of hearing may be helpful in picking up paranormal noises.
3. Sense of Smell
Dogs have a sense of smell up to 10,000 better than humans. Therefore, they might possibly sniff out ghosts before humans can. This is an interesting perspective though.
Ghosts are said to possess odd appearances and move at lightning speed. They also have a penchant for making strange sounds, usually to spook their victims.
However, there are hardly any stories suggesting that ghosts have characteristic smells. But since we don’t know for sure, there’s a decent chance that these supernatural beings can leave a whiff strong enough to be picked up by dogs.
4. The Sixth Sense
In addition to the five common senses, dogs also possess the sixth sense, also known as the gut feeling. Your pooch will know instinctively when things aren’t right.
Humans also have the sixth sense. The difference is that dogs are more open to acting out on their gut instincts than us. If you were sitting next to a friend who sends out negative vibes, you might not readily confront them for fear of losing the friendship. However, a dog will not hesitate to lash out at a person he believes poses a threat to him.
Also, since a dog’s common senses are generally superior to humans, it’s logical to conclude that their sixth sense is equally better than ours. They can detect impending doom way sooner than we can. And maybe, they could even pick up activities that would easily escape human attention.
What Role Does Our Perceptions Play?
According to a 2019 poll conducted by YouGov, more than 40% of Americans believe in ghosts, demons, and other forms of supernatural beings.
As many as one-third claim to have felt the presence of a spirit or ghost at some point in their lives.
When we’re inclined to believe that ghosts do exist, then we cannot help but conclude that dogs are better placed at sniffing out paranormal activities in our homes.
And If It’s Not a Ghost, What Is It?
Sometimes, your dog may behave in a manner that leaves little doubt that there’s paranormal activity in your home.
However, what looks like supernatural activity might as well be part of your pooch’s normal behavior.
As it turns out, many things could push your dog to behave as strangely as he does.
a) Your Dog Might Have Detected a Disease
Dogs have an incredible ability to sniff out diseases in humans.
Many successful studies indicate that dogs can detect the presence of cancerous tumors before they become noticeable to the human eye. Some dogs can even sniff out pregnancy.
So, one of the possible reasons your dog is acting strangely is that he might have picked up a disease.
b) Your Dog MightBe Responding To a Past Traumatic Experience
Every time you’re walking with your dog in the neighborhood, you realize that the animal becomes suddenly frightened whenever you reach a particular spot.
The incidences might sound too much of a coincidence. But they don’t automatically suggest that the said spot is haunted. There’s a chance your dog may have had a traumatic experience in that place and now associate it with negative energy.
This is usually a bigger problem with dogs suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
c) Your Dog Might Be Acting Out On Psychological Cues
Dogs have a way of picking up psychological cues from their surroundings. Your dog is likely to be jovial when the whole family is happy and sad if the ambient is melancholic.
So, if the family is grieving, you may begin to see strange behaviors in your dog. The animal may start to bark a lot. He might even refuse to eat normally. That’s his own way of grieving.
Similarly, dogs associate certain objects and places with specific people. If your husband has recently traveled overseas on a professional assignment, you may start to notice that the family dog barks a lot while standing next to a chair typically occupied by your husband.
If you’re superstitious, you may consider these incidences ominous. But it’s all part of the dog’s reactions to the absence of the chair’s usual occupant.
d) Your Dog May Have a Medical Condition
Some dogs will exhibit strange behaviors due to an underlying medical condition. Common culprits include anxiety and neurological disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), separation anxiety, panic disorder, and dementia.
Most dogs battling an anxiety and neurological disorder tend to be hypervigilance. Such canines have a way of responding disproportionately to stimuli. The sound of a mouse crawling in the attic may be all it takes to throw them off balance, causing them to bark and growl as though they’ve seen a ghost.
The following signs might help you know that your dog is battling a mental condition;
• Staring into space
• Decreased interest in activities, particularly activities that the dog initially found interesting
• Insensitivity to family members
• Sleeplessness or oversleeping
• Changes in eating patterns
• Changes in potty habits
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, your best bet is to take him to the vet.
The question as to whether dogs can see ghosts or not is one that will continue to puzzle pet owners for years. That’s because the answer depends on what one believes in.
If you believe that ghosts do exist, then it’s possible that your dog will detect their presence far better than you can. That’s because dogs are equipped with better senses.