There is a lot of debate about whether or not dogs go to heaven. Some people believe that they do, while others think that they don’t.
In this blog post, we will explore both sides of the argument and come to a conclusion about what happens to our dogs (and other beloved pets) after they die.
For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to assume that God exists. We’ll also assume that heaven is a part of God’s creation, a real place where the human spirit goes when a person’s time on earth is at an end.
We will talk about the nature of a soul and consider whether God provides for animals in the same way he does for humans once their earthly lives are over.
I already know where I stand on the issue of whether dogs have the promise of new lives in heaven after we on earth have loved and lost them. I hope to give you a lot to think about and that you’ll find the answers you seek.
How Does the Bible Describe Heaven?
The Bible does not describe heaven in a lot of detail, but it is commonly believed that it is a place where people go to be with God after they die. The body is gone from the earth but the spirit remains eternal in heaven.
Some people believe that only a human being can go to heaven. Others feel that heaven is a place where dogs can go too and that they will be reunited with their owners who have also passed away. Some assert that heaven is a place where all animals go, regardless of whether or not they have owners.
I have even heard people suggest that heaven is highly individualistic; that it will be a place where what pleased you most in life will also be there for you in heaven. There is nothing in the Bible to support this, but given that the Bible is generally vague on the topic of heaven, I think it’s as good (and as likely) a description as anything else.
What Does the Bible Say About Souls?
The Bible describes a human’s soul as the spirit, or essence of a person. According to the Bible, human beings were created in God’s image, with immortal souls, and those souls will be reunited with our bodies in the celestial heaven, or in new heavens on earth. This will happen when Jesus returns.
God created man to live forever in the Garden of Eden. Then Adam and Eve disobeyed God. He ordered them to leave Eden and withdrew the promise of eternal, physical life from all living beings.
The creator was obviously disappointed in Adam and Eve. But because God loves even the disobedient, all human beings have the promise of heaven.
Do Only Humans Have Souls?
Do our pets also have souls? No definitive answer exists, but there are a few things we can look at to try and answer the question.
Let’s consider what the Bible has to say about animals. In Genesis, we read that God created the earth and all living creatures -- both animals and humans -- and declared them good.
Later on, in Revelation, we see that God promises us that heaven will be a place where there is no more death, suffering, or sorrow. And what will be there? A new heaven and a new earth, where God will dwell with his people.
So it’s reasonable to believe that, since animals are part of God’s creation and were included in his plan for the future, they may very well be present in this new earth and new heaven. This would seem to suggest that a dog does have a spirit or a soul, and so do all the other sentient beings that God made.
Perhaps this would be a great topic of discussion for your Bible study group!
Is There More Evidence That All God’s Creatures Have Souls?
The idea of a “soul” is an inherent part of the Christian religion so let’s consider what one of Christianity’s most prominent spokespersons has to say about whether animals can enter heaven.
Pope Francis believes that animals do have souls and that they will be judged by God just as humans are. He has said that “God has given us dominion over animals, but this doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want with them. Animals aren’t just things we use to make money.”
If the Pope is right (and practitioners of the Catholic faith believe him to be infallible and to know the will of God), then there will be a judgment day for all the animals, including our beloved pets.
Since dogs are inherently incapable of sin it makes sense that they would face little in the way of judgment from God, and their souls would have everlasting life in heaven.
Are There Any Bad Dogs?
We know that bad people are believed to be denied heaven unless they repent of their wrongdoings. So what about bad dogs?
It’s a moot point because there are no bad dogs. All dogs and all other pets go to heaven.
Heaven is a place where all human and animal souls are reunited with their creator. Dogs go to heaven because they are loyal and true companions to their humans. They provide us with love and security, bringing us joy, and we reciprocate by taking care of them the best way we can.
If you have ever loved a dog, then you know that they are truly special creatures, genuine jewels of creation, worthy of our love and admiration. Are they also worthy of heaven? Of course, they are!
Will I See My Dog in Human Heaven?
You have probably heard people speculate that there is a “dog heaven” in addition to heaven for human souls. It’s more likely, though, that you and your dog will both go to the same place.
Although we don’t judge God by human standards, it’s probably safe to assume that he wouldn’t see much point in creating separate heavens for different beings. After all, he didn’t make separate earths!
We are told that heaven is a place of perfect happiness, so if you can’t be happy without your dog, trust God to make sure you see each other again. It doesn’t make sense to think that God would create a human soul and an animal soul to be companions in earthly life only to separate them in heaven.
Do Dogs Go to a Place Called Rainbow Bridge?
There is a popular belief that there is a “Rainbow Bridge” where pets go after they die. This idea likely comes from the Norse legend of Bifröst, which is somewhat similar to the Christian concept of heaven.
Bifröst links the human realm to Asgard, the home of the Norse gods. It is guarded by the god Heimdall.
The idea of the Rainbow Bridge has come to be more of a modern Christian concept. It is said to be a beautiful part of creation that connects heaven and earth, and it’s possible that instead of going straight to heaven your beloved pet will wait for you there. Then you will cross the bridge and enter heaven together.
Nothing in the Bible mentions God having added a Rainbow Bridge to his original acts of creation. However, if God sees everything, he would know of this comforting legend.
It’s not hard to imagine that if God didn’t construct a rainbow bridge at the beginning of time, he might have made one later on!
Do Muslims Believe That Dogs Go to Heaven?
Islam is an Abrahamic religion, similar to Christianity, and most Muslims do not discount the possibility that dogs do go to heaven. The Quran, which is the holy book of Islam, mentions dogs a number of times and does not explicitly say that they will not go to heaven.
In one place, the Quran compares dogs to believers who are righteous but have not had the opportunity to learn about Islam: “The comparison of those who were charged with the Torah but failed in it is like that of a donkey carrying books. Wretched is the example of people who deny the signs of Allah. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing lot.” (Quran 62:05)
So while the Quran does not explicitly state that dogs go to heaven, it does not exclude them either. No reasonable person could consider dogs as belonging to the “wrongdoing lot,” so Muslims who love and care for their dogs often take solace in the belief that their dog’s spirit will be waiting for them in the afterlife. What a wonderful thought!
Did Jesus Have a Dog?
I’m thinking of a question that troubled me a lot when I was a child. I grew up in a Christian home and was taught that animals do not have souls and therefore can not go to heaven.
I wrestled with this idea for a long time. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this didn’t make sense.
If Jesus loved all creatures, as the Bible says he did, then surely, I reasoned, he must have had a pet dog. From this, I extrapolated that surely Jesus’s dog would go to heaven. And if Jesus loved me, as my parents assured me he did, wouldn’t he make sure that my little dog would go to heaven with me?
That was probably the first time I seriously questioned my parents’ beliefs. They weren’t unreasonable people though, and eventually, everyone in my family came to believe that all those animals we loved so much would be reunited with us in the perfect happiness of heaven.
Did Muhammad Have a Dog?
Muhammad is said to have had a dog called Mughira. There are also accounts of the prophet praying in the presence of dogs, and he had several close relatives who raised dogs from puppyhood. Muslim pet owners can safely assume that their dogs, cats, and other animals will be with them once their earthly life is done.
What Else Do Dog Lovers Want to Know About Losing a Pet?
I hope that I’ve led you to the same conclusion I reached at a young age -- that when a pet dies, he most assuredly goes to heaven along with human beings. Still, most of us have other questions regarding death, dying, and grief when it comes to losing our best friend. Let’s take a look at some of those questions.
How Do I Explain a Dog’s Death to a Little Child?
When a pet dies, it can be hard to know what to say to a child. You might feel like you need to protect them from the truth, but it’s important that they understand what happened.
For very small children, it might be enough to say that their pet’s body stopped working the way it should, so their dog had to go away to a place where he will be made well again, but he will not be able to come back.
You can also explain that when we die, we go to heaven. Pets go to heaven too, so they can be with us again. This can be a comfort for kids who are struggling with the loss of a beloved pet.
Be honest. Unless you want to terrify your kid when it’s time for bed, don’t say that the dog “went to sleep.” And don’t say that he ran away, or went to live on a farm. In the first scenario, the child will probably search for a long time for his dog. In the second, he will want to know why he can’t go and visit his dog.
Keep the discussion age-appropriate. Expect to hear the same questions over and over, and be patient.
Do Dogs Know When They’re Being Put to Sleep?
Dogs are euthanized by being injected with a lethal dose of a sedative. This induces a deep sleep before the heart is stopped.
There is no scientific evidence that suggests that dogs are aware of what is happening to them during this process.
Can I Have My Dog’s Ashes Buried With Me When I Die?
It depends on the regulations of the individual cemetery, but generally speaking, yes, you can have your dog’s ashes buried with you. Pets are part of the family, and many people feel comfort in knowing their furry friend will be with them in death.
If the cemetery prohibits interment, ask about the possibility of having your dog’s ashes placed in an urn on your grave. In a perpetual care cemetery, there will usually be caretakers so you won’t have to worry about the urn being stolen or vandalized.
Do Pet Cemeteries Offer Perpetual Care?
Most pet cemeteries offer perpetual care for the graves of our best friends. This means that the cemetery will always be responsible for taking care of the grave, whether that means mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, or cleaning up any debris. Your pet will always be honored and remembered.
How Long Should I Wait Before Getting a New Pet?
This is a question that I am often asked, and it is not an easy one to answer. There is no set time frame for grieving the loss of a pet, and everyone deals with grief differently. Some people feel ready for a new dog right away, while others need more time to heal.
Get a new pet when you feel that you’re emotionally ready. The death of a pet takes its toll and it’s a sad fact that for most of us, our dear pet’s death will come before our own.
Still, I believe that a life without the unconditional love given to us by our dogs is not much of a life at all. You’ll know when you’re ready to share your life with a new dog.
What if I’m Ready but Other Family Members Aren’t?
Give them time to heal and adjust to the idea of having a new dog in the household. Consider taking them to visit other dogs -- maybe those of friends or relatives.
You could also ask them to come with you to volunteer at a local animal shelter. I don’t think you’ll have to make too many attempts before they’re onside with getting another dog!
Can I Provide for My Dog in My Will?
Yes, you can provide for your dog in your will. You can name a specific person to be responsible for your dog after you die, or you can leave money or assets to a pet shelter or rescue organization to ensure that your dog is taken care of. No pet should have to be put down because his or her owner has died and there is no one to care for him or her.
Including your pet in your will is the best way to ensure that he or she will be taken care of after you’re gone. It’s a selfless act and will ensure that you don’t have to worry about what will happen if your pet outlives you.
On all the earth, you’d be hard-pressed to find an animal that inspires more joy and devotion than a dog. So did God give the dog a soul and therefore the hope of life everlasting?
Some would say no, but I believe that yes is the true answer. Cats also have a God-given soul, as do other pets, and in fact, all living things. Every animal and every human in creation is loved by God, Allah, or whomever you conceive the creator to be.
There is no doubt in my mind that you will see your dog’s beautiful soul in heaven, along with the souls of your parents, children, and other loved ones. It makes no sense to me to think that only humans have the hope of heaven. Pets are part of life on earth and God will not separate us from them in the afterlife.