5 Spooky Things Your Dog Can Sense That You Can’t

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Pets are the best, especially dogs. They're your companion when you need a friend, they cuddle whenever you're feeling lonely, and they can make you smile the second you walk in the door. But for all of the good things about pets, they do have a creepy side: it sometimes seems like they have a paranormal sense that humans just don't have. Have you ever been alone in your home with your dog, and all of the sudden, their hair goes up and they seem to be staring at something that doesn't exist? It's scary enough to make you want to run out the door. There are some weird, paranormal things dogs might sense, and it's pretty terrifying.

To make things less scary, know this: there's no actual scientific evidence that dogs can sense paranormal activity, like ghosts. And, actually, you might have that same sixth sense. Pet psychologist Marti Miller told Animal Planet that both humans and dogs have a sixth sense, saying, "But humans judge or deny what they're feeling. Dogs don't judge what is going on in the environment. While our own minds start to analyze what is happening, dogs don't do that. They feel the barometric pressure change, and may react by shaking, panting, salivating and feeling anxious, or they may not react at all."

Some say that dogs don't have a sixth sense at all; they can simple smell and see better than us. Nicole Ellis,'s professional certified dog trainer, told Bustle, "Dogs don’t have a sixth sense as much as they simply have heightened versions of all of the other five senses. Dogs can pick up on minor changes in the environment, small sounds from down the street, etc. and learn to associate those with certain actions, which could lead to the belief that they can sense things before they happen or at least before humans do."

But you know what? It's a lot more fun to imagine that your dog is sensing something paranormal, as eerie as that seems. Plus, we might not have evidence that they have a sixth sense, but we also don't have evidence that they don't. There's a lot about dogs (and animals in general) that we don't know, so it's completely possible that they can see ghosts and predict natural disasters. Just saying!

In any case, here are a few things that dogs can sense. It's pretty spooky:


They Can Hear Things We Can't


Dogs can hear higher pitched noises than us and they can also hear at further distances than we do. Ellis explained to Bustle, "Human hearing range is roughly between 20 hertz and 20 kilohertz, including much lower frequencies than what dogs can hear. Dogs hear sounds starting at 64 hertz on up, past the human range to the higher registers at 44 kilohertz."

According to Paw Culture, "this could be what makes dogs more likely to hear some footprint of a ghost or a parallel universe." Sure, it's possible that dogs are just hearing noises we don't have the ability to hear, but it's also possible that they're hearing paranormal activity.


They Can Detect Diseases In Humans


It may sound weird, but dogs really can sometimes detect diseases in humans. Ellis says, "Dogs are uniquely suited to detect such things, thanks to a complex olfactory system that helps them pick up scents we humans would never notice. Your dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than yours, thanks to 300 million olfactory receptors in his nose, as compared to five or six million in yours."

Ellis noted that dogs can sometimes detect cancers in a human, as well as pregnancy. She explained, "While dogs will never take the place of technology in medical settings, there have been many successful studies that prove dogs have what it takes to identify cancer, and scientists hope to harness this evidence to create better and more accurate cancer-testing technologies."


They Might Sometimes See Things We Can't


A dog's sense of sight is also a lot sharper than ours, so again, they might just be seeing things we don't notice... but it could also be something spooky. Brandy Stark, who runs a paranormal investigation group called SPIRITS of St. Petersburg, told Paw Culture a story about taking her two rescued Pugs on an investigation where they spotted unusual activity. They stopped and looked at a spot on the wall, and she later discovered that the original owner, who was believed to be haunting the property, had an office in that spot. Spooky!


Sometimes It Seems Like They Can Sense Natural Disasters


Your dog may be able to predict a major natural disaster. Ellis told us that some scientists do believe that dogs can pick up on an earthquake before we can, probably because they can hear "seismic activities that precede earthquakes (such as scraping, grinding, and breaking of rocks underground) and smell environmental changes that typically indicate a major storm." She added, "There have long been reports of animals behaving strangely before large earthquakes, including an account of snakes, weasels, and rats moving to safety several days prior to an earthquake in Greece in 373 BCE."

Ellis pointed out an interesting study, explaining, "After Japan’s magnitude 9 earthquake in 2011, a study was launched investigating pet owner’s reports of unusual animal behavior just before the quake. In the results, 236 of 1,259 dog owners and 115 of 703 cat owners observed strange behaviors in their pets. Owners reported increased neediness, barking, and howling in their dogs, and some dogs who were so restless they even escaped. In 60% of the reports, these odd dog behaviors occurred in the seconds and minutes leading up to the quake." Spooky!


They May Feel A Presence We Can't See


If you have a dog, you might notice that there are certain areas or spots they are inexplicably afraid of, or there's one place they always act strange in. As an example, my dog gets spooked by a corner of my backyard. I don't know why, and it's very strange.

Ellis explained, "There could be many reasons a dog avoid a spot, perhaps he was in that area and heard something frightening (a loud car backfiring, fireworks, etc) and now associates it to that spot. And while we stand there any day we wouldn’t know this occurred."

Yes, it's possible that something traumatic has happened to the dog in that area that we don't know about, and they're associating that are with that moment. But, on the creepier end, they could be sensing something humans can't sense.

This article was originally published on April 1, 2018 and was updated on June 26, 2019.

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