Can Pets Sense Ghosts? [The Scary Truth…Probably!]

Pet behavior ranges from the quirky to the mysterious at times. You may have seen your pet tilt its head to the side and wondered, “Why does he do that?” Many believe that pets can sense spirits because of their greater sensory perceptions. Is there any truth to that?

There is no scientific proof that pets can sense the presence of ghosts. However, some people strongly believe their pets react to ghostly presences. Pets can hear sounds, feel vibrations, or react to high EMF that we can’t sense. We might misunderstand this as a reaction to ghosts.

As with everything paranormal, there is no hard scientific proof of ghostly activity. Many experience strange happenings where they swear their pet reacted to ghosts or entities. Depending on your belief, there will be different answers to whether pets can see ghosts. Let’s take a closer look.

Animals Detect Unseen Things Better Than Humans

Due to more acute senses, animals can sense things better than humans. This fact has led some to believe that they can even see ghosts.

The other reason they believe in this is that animals often act strangely in a haunted house in response to paranormal activity.

For example, a haunted house in Australia, Monte Cristo HomesteadOpens in a new tab., where you can’t even take pets because they won’t go inside. There are many other documented cases of this. 

In other cases where a dog is thought to have seen a ghost, you can see them trembling when humans can’t see anything. This could be related to ghosts, but we don’t have evidence. Most opinions are based on whether the person believes in ghosts or not. 

Not Always What We Think It Is

At times you might notice that your pet reacts strangely. Staring into empty space, growling at nothing at all, or seeming afraid of nothing at all. It is easy to think your pet sees a ghost lurking in the shadows you can’t see.

  • Stare into an empty wall or space
  • Unexplained fear or anxiety
  • Avoidance of spaces or rooms
  • Growling at “nothing”

I would take some of these reactions with a heavy grain of salt because, for me personally, I’ve seen my cat react similarly to his own shadow on the wall. If you weren’t paying close enough attention, you could mistake him as thinking he saw a ghost.

Just because it looks like a ghost doesn’t mean it always is. In other cases, your cat may be reacting to mice or insects.

Many animals have more sensitive senses than us and can react to vibrations, sounds, and EMF spikes that we can’t sense. Cats can hear sounds that range outside the ability of humans. Their range even goes above dogs. This sensitivity allows them to hunt their prey better.

That doesn’t mean your cat or dog didn’t react to ghosts in the home. I point this out because, as paranormal investigators, we should always seek to find more mundane answers before automatically attributing the cause to ghosts. This will strengthen our arguments rather than weaken them. 

The Haunted Reaction: Your Pet and EMFs

Some paranormal investigators found links between ghost activity and high EMFs (Electromagnetic fieldsOpens in a new tab.). Some belief high spikes to be indications of ghosts.

In truth, EMFs are most correctly used to create a baseline reading to pinpoint if EMF spikes might cause strange reactions from people and pets.

You can find high EMF near electrical wiring and power lines. These fields can interfere with us and cause many strange sensations as hallucinations, stress, anxiety, and dizziness. These sensations can, in some cases, be blamed on ghosts when they are natural reactions.

This could explain why some pets don’t want to go inside homes or spaces with high EMFs. It is not because it is haunted; it is because there are high electromagnetic fields.

Related article: K2 EMF Meter for Ghost Hunting: What is It?Opens in a new tab.

Pets Detect Movement Better Than Humans

Because of being more attuned to subtle movements, dogs and cats may be able to detect movement that humans can’t. They have more sensitive eyes and sense vibrations from motion much better than we do.

This especially becomes more true in cases with low-light conditions. Both dogs and cats have pupils and corneas that are about 50 percent larger, which allows for more light in their eyes. This lets them see better in low-light conditions than humans. They have vision like a night vision camera.

For those who believe in ghosts, this would allow them to see ghosts even in the dark. This assumes ghosts are real, but much science doesn’t take that notion seriously. Still, there is no scientific proof of the existence of ghosts.

Can pets smell a ghost?

Anyone who has ever visited a haunted house and smelled a specific scent can attest that ghosts use scents and fragrances to communicate with humans. Ghosts are believed to use all senses to make themselves known. It might also be the case that ghosts have a unique smell themselves.

Many report a variety of smells from ghosts, which may mean that they use them more to communicate than having an actual scent. 

For example, an old man might use one of his favorite cigars, or a woman might use the scent of one of her perfumes. In the presence of demons, they sometimes use foul and unpleasant smells like sulfur or even a rotten corpse.

Dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, and cats have around 200 million. To put that into perspective, humans only possess five million olfactory receptors. This might be why dogs and cats can detect ghosts when we don’t see them at all.

It’s hard to imagine what a ghost could smell like, but cats and dogs have a good chance of smelling them if they have a scent. It might also be easier for ghosts to interact with pets as they smell things much easier than we do.

Did Your Dog’s Hairs Appear to Stand on End?

This argument occasionally gets used to debating ghosts’ presence in a home, but researchers believe they may have found the reason. This involuntary response from the nervous system indicates they feel stimulated, fearful, startled, or excited.

Sometimes, the simplest answer could be that a subtle temperature change caused it. It can also be due to static electricity. It is like when you rub a balloon against your hair; your hair takes a life of its own!

Why is My Dog Barking or Growling at Nothing?

Rarely will your dog bark or growl at nothing; in most cases, it does this at something we can’t perceive. Some of the reasons (and we’ll leave ghosts off this list) include the following:

  • Smelling something that you can’t
  • Hearing something that you can’t
  • Seeing something that you can’t
  • Feeling something that you can’t
  • Your dog feels pain
  • Protecting his territory from something
  • Canine dementia

Now, let’s take the example of ghosts as a possible reason. You have to think about what type of house you live in. Have you experienced ghost activity in the home before? Is there anything else to suggest that the home or place you visited is haunted? Before you call it ghosts, try to find other possible reasons. 

People sometimes learned that a burglar was watching their home from afar. The dog detected it long before they did. 

You might even take your dog to the vet because his barking may at nothing indicate a medical condition, and you can rule this out with a trip to the vet. 

Does Your Pet Fear Specific Places without a Reason?

Your pet may express fear of specific places with no explanation. In some cases, it may have more to do with a past trauma they experienced in that area.

For example, maybe they heard fireworks when they stood in that part of the home. If you have a home that you believe is haunted, it could have to do with the location being haunted, but you want to rule out other possibilities first. 

Scary Truth: If Ghosts Exist, Your Pet Can Probably Sense Them

I can’t say whether pets can sense ghosts because that depends on who you ask. You have two types of people: believers and skeptics.

Even the skeptics admit that pets can sense things we can’t, but they usually attribute it to more mundane matters.

An estimated 48 percent of Americans believe in ghosts, and we’re guessing that number looks similar worldwide. The ones who don’t believe in them will argue with conviction that they don’t exist, so pets can’t perceive them and vice-versa.  

Experience is the mother of all wisdom, and many who didn’t believe saw a ghost later and changed their minds.

If you’ve never been in a haunted house long enough with a pet that was going berserk at something unseen, you don’t have the benefit of experience. Those who have experienced that would question if they couldn’t see a spirit. Especially in homes that are known to be haunted; this could explain it.

Pets have much better senses than humans, so if ghosts exist, they likely can see them. It would also explain why they occasionally react to nothing in a haunted house.

However, their senses can border on what seems like superhuman because they can even detect barometric changes in pressure and the electromagnetic changes that would precede a storm. 

We have enough evidence to support that they probably sense them in some way if they exist. It wouldn’t even be a stretch considering their extrasensory powers.

One person even reported how her new puppy appeared to be playing with something unseen, and when she thought about it, she realized it might have been her old dog that had passed away. 

Also Read: Whispers from the Afterlife: Can Our Pets Visit Us as Ghosts?

Signs Your Pet Senses Ghosts

I’m not saying that the signs listed 100 percent mean that it’s ghosts, but it can be helpful to use this list as the possibility of your pet picking up paranormal activity. 

Some of the possible signs to look out for include the following:

  • Unexplainable barking, hissing, whining, or anxious behavior
  • Staring down a hallway or a corner of a room for no reason
  • Feeling fearful or even drawn to specific areas of the home
  • Hairs standing up for no reason
  • Following something invisible
  • Looking for comfort or trying to protect
  • Acting as if someone else is in the room 
  • Rolling onto its back and getting its belly rubbed by nothing

Pets and humans have a special connection. I even heard one story about a deceased grandfather who would always visit his grandchild in dreams with what was once his deceased and beloved pet poodle.

While this isn’t saying it’s real or not, it just shows you that there are things in this world that we don’t understand. 

Even real science is meant to explore the things we don’t understand to find possible answers. 

What Should You Do if Your Pet Senses a Ghost?

First, you may be powerless to do much of anything, especially in a haunted house. People have gone so far as to exorcise such places, but even that appears to have a limited effect in cases with extremely haunted houses. 

However, you can try to control the situation. For example, if a ghost scares your dog or cat, you could politely tell them to stop. You might speak calmly to your pet, but exercise caution because they might be unpredictable in situations like this. It’s counterproductive to yell at them. 

You might say a prayer, burn sage, or spread holy water around the problematic areas—remember—even things like this may not always work with serious hauntings. As I said, try to rule out other possible reasons, like a flickering fluorescent light bulb or a TV that bothers them. The cause isn’t always ghosts, but if you’ve had paranormal experiences in the home before, you may want to pay more attention. 

Related article: Expert’s Guide to Dealing with a Haunted HouseOpens in a new tab.

Final Thoughts

It would be a mistake to say that pets can sense ghosts because we don’t have evidence to support that ghosts exist.

However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist either. We don’t know either way, and we will continue to remain in the dark about this mystery until science can solve the mystery of death. 

But if they do exist, pets are likelier to sense them due to their elevated senses. Pets react to things that we can’t hear or see. If I were a ghost, I would probably try communicating with a pet as it is easier than a human, right? They need less energy to manifest.

Claudette Beaulieu

A certified paranormal investigator, accredited demonologist, and psychic stuck in the Victorian era.

Recent Posts