Dogs bond with people in a more intimate way than lots of other animals, and many have a fun-loving personality, making them seem like a member of the family. For many people, when a dog dies, it feels like they’ve lost a loved one. Some wonder if they will ever see their dog again.
The Bible doesn’t explicitly teach that dogs go to heaven. However, some well-known Bible teachers believe that they do. Scripture teaches that animals will populate the New Earth because they were part of God’s creation before sin entered the world. What’s unclear is if former pets will be among the animals.
Do dogs go to heaven when they die? What does the Bible teach about animals being in heaven? Where does the Bible mention dogs? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Also see How Many People Can Go To Heaven? to learn more.
Do dogs go to heaven when they die?
Animals are God’s creation and the innocent victims of people’s sin. In the Bible, animals are referred to as God’s. Here are two examples:
- Psalm 104:24, “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (ESV, emphasis added).
- Psalm 104:27 adds that animals look to their Creator for provision, “These all look to you, to give them their food in due season” (emphasis added).
Did Jesus die for dogs? No. Jesus died for people. But like dogs were “swept up” in the fall of humanity into sin, even though they themselves didn’t sin, some believe that perhaps they will get “swept up” in the redemption of humanity. Some scholars believe this is the implication for creation from the Apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans 8.
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but because of the One who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21-22, ESV)
There will be future freedom for animals in bondage. Romans 8:20-21 states that all of creation, which includes animals, are currently in bondage due to people’s sin, but will one day be set free because of Jesus Christ. (Also see Do Children Go To Heaven?)
If God creates new animals for the New Earth, they would have never been in bondage to sin. The animals that will one day be free from the effects of sin are currently in bondage on the present Earth.
A former pastor and current writer, Randy Alcorn writes,
“The question of whether pets will be in Heaven is not, as some assume, stupid. Animals aren’t nearly as valuable as people, but God is their Maker and has touched many people’s lives through them. It would be simple for him to re-create a pet in Heaven if he wants to. He’s the giver of all good things, not the taker of them. If it would please us to have a pet restored to the New Earth, that may be sufficient reason.” 
Alcorn admits that he isn’t positive that pets like dogs go to heaven when they die, but he suspects they do. Author Joni Eareckson Tada agrees:
“If God brings our pets back to life, it wouldn’t surprise me. It would be just like Him. It would be totally keeping with His generous character.”
Also see Do Short People Go To Heaven? learn why so many people ask the question.
Does the Bible teach that there will there be animals in heaven?
Below are verses and passages from the Bible that teach that animals, in general (not necessarily pets), will be in heaven. Most scholars agree that while heaven is sometimes depicted with poetic descriptions in the Bible, readers should interpret the presence of animals literally. (Also see Will People Eat Food In Heaven?)
Below are five commonly-referenced verses that teach that animals are in heaven.
- Isaiah 65:25, “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. (ESV)
- Revelation 19:11, “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” (ESV)
- Romans 8:21-22, “That the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” (ESV)
- 2 Kings 2:11, “And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (ESV)
- Psalm 36:6, “Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.” (ESV)
What is the nature of the New Earth at the end of time? The Bible teaches that people will live on a New Earth (2 Pet. 3:10-13, Rev. 21:1-5, Isa. 65:17-19, 66:22). The Bible’s phrase “New Earth” suggests that something about it will be different because it will be “new,” and something about it will be the same because it’s still the “Earth.”
This aligns with verses like Isaiah 65:25 (quoted above). The wolf is still the same animal as it was on the Old Earth (i.e., it’s still a wolf). However, the wolf is also different because it’s not attacking the lamb.
“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”2 Peter 3:13 (ESV)
Why will animals be on the New Earth? Animals glorify God. They are part of God’s creation, which reflects his attributes (Rom. 1:19-20). Animal life was a prominent aspect of God’s creation, which he called good multiple times (e.g. Gen. 1:25).
After the Fall, animals suffered because of sin. Yet, animals didn’t rebel against their Creator; people did. Animals were innocent victims of people’s rebellion against God (Rom. 8:21).
Also see Do Cats Go To Heaven? learn why so many people ask the question.
Are dogs mentioned in the Bible?
Dogs are mentioned in Scripture but often with negative connotations. In the ancient world, dogs weren’t seen as the lovable, friendly, affectionate pets that they are today. Most didn’t live with people but roamed the streets and countryside looking for scraps of food to eat. Some had diseases. Others were violent. Most were filthy.
Nevertheless, here are examples of verses in Scripture that mentions dogs:
- Matthew 7:6, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” (ESV)
- Philippians 3:2, “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” (ESV)
- Proverbs 26:11, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” (ESV)
- Matthew 15:27, “She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Also see Is There Sex In Heaven? to learn more.
The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, along with Protestantism, comprise the three historic branches of the Christian religion. The Catholic and Orthodox branches separated from...
Roman Catholicism and Protestant Christianity, along with Eastern Orthodoxy, make up the three historic branches of the Christian religion. Catholicism and Protestantism are, by far, the two largest...