Do Dogs Go To Heaven? Examining Both Sides of the Debate

A lovely field with a rainbow in the sky and a cloud shaped like a dog.

We consider pets part of our family, and when they’re gone, we remember them like we would anybody else in the family. But what does really happens to them after they die? 

Do dogs go to heaven? Many people believe that dogs do go to heaven because they are not capable of sin and the Bible specifically mentions animals in heaven several times. However, others believe that dogs do not go to heaven because they do not have souls and therefore cannot take part in salvation.

So, the question still remains. Let’s look at the different views on whether departed pets are now in heaven or not. 

Dogs and Heaven – Two Opposing Views

Dogs are loving and loyal companions, which is why it brings so much sadness when they pass.

Perhaps the one thing that dulls the pain is the hope that your four-legged friend has gone to dog heaven, but do they really? 

Why Some Believe Dogs Go To Heaven

The idea that dogs go to heaven after they pass is nothing new. Ancient folklore and literature and many Christians have expressed the belief that dogs go to heaven. 

From the Bible

While nothing in the scripture confirms that dogs go to heaven, some passages speak of all living creatures, including animals, being with God after the final Judgment Day.

In two separate descriptions (Isaiah 11:6-9, Isaiah 65:25), the Bible mentioned that animals would be present in the Holy Mountain. 

According to Ecclesiastes 3:19-20, what happens to man, happen to beasts as they befall the same fate: eventual death.

All will go to one place (death), “All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” So, if a man has a chance to go to heaven, maybe dogs can go to heaven too. 

Also, Romans 8: 21-23 speaks of all of creation yearning to be delivered into glorious liberty. In Revelation 21, God says, “Behold, I make all things new.”

Luke 3: 6 is interesting as well: “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Whether the term “flesh” extends to dogs is up for individual interpretation.

Also, Psalm 145:9-10 speaks of the Lord’s goodness to all and that all His works shall praise Him.

The Book of Tobit (part of the “Apocrypha” – a collection of books that didn’t make it into all Bibles, but some sects recognize them) describes that Tobias was accompanied by angel Raphael and a small dog on a journey.

Tradition maintains that the same dog followed him into heaven.

Pope Paul VI Mentioned Dogs Could Enter Heaven

Although it was misattributed to Pope Francis, it was Pope Paul VI who was reported to have consoled a boy mourning after his dog had passed.

He said that one day, we are going to see our pets in the “eternity of Christ” as the “Paradise” is open to all of His creations.

From the Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith (Mormonism)

Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ founder taught that all living souls, all that God has made, will be saved through resurrection, including animals, fishes, fowls, and man (from the Book of Mormon, pages 291-292).

The American religious leader also alluded to being able to speak to lost dogs in the afterlife in his teachings. 

A German Shepherd silhouetted by a sunset behind him.

Why Some Believe Dogs Do Not Go To Heaven

Pope Pius IX Said “No”

Pope Pius IX was one of the first popes to fully address whether animals go to heaven after they pass, although his position wasn’t favorable.

According to him, heaven is only reserved for those with souls and a conscience, which animals don’t have. 

From the Teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the souls of animals, unlike human souls, are perishable and can’t survive death. Hence, they can’t enter heaven. 

Some Bible Passages Imply That Only People Go To Heaven

Scripture says that a soul saved by belief and confession of Christ can go to heaven. Another (Ecclesiastes 12:7) shares that the spirit will return to God after death.

Since it is commonly believed that dogs and other animals have no soul or spirit, they can’t go to heaven.

Believing Dogs Go to Heaven Is an Exercise in Hope

While there is no concrete answer, the belief that dogs go to heaven revolves around the fact that God takes delight in all of his creations and thus may give dogs a chance of eternal happiness in heaven.

When we’re faced with the loss of someone we love, including our dogs, we hope that their soul lives somewhere after they die.  

Related Questions: 

Do Dogs Have a Soul?

In the 1990 papal audience, the then Pope John Paul II mentioned that animals possess a soul and that they are as near to God as men are.

Considering that the word “animal” comes from the Latin animalis, which means “having soul” or “having breath,” then dogs could possibly have souls.

Pope Pius IX strongly supported the doctrine that animals have no consciousness and, therefore, are soulless, but the Bible is unclear on this matter.

Do Animals Know Right From Wrong?

Clues from several studies and ecologists point to yes, some animals know right from wrong.

The 2012 book titled Can Animals Be Moral? suggests that social mammals like dogs, rats, and chimpanzees can choose good over bad. 

Although the moral nuances of a particular group, such as animals or humans, will be different, the morality is still there. 

Conclusion

The Bible hasn’t directly addressed whether dogs will go to heaven after they die. That means we might never really know in this lifetime if dogs are in heaven or not.

But there is one thing that everyone would agree on: Love your dogs and enjoy them while they are still here with you.