Do pets go to Heaven? To answer this question we must go to God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible does not specifically say whether animals cease to exist at death or if they carry on as eternal beings.
With some questions that are not specifically answered in the Bible, like children going to Heaven, we can draw conclusions based on the nature of God when we have passages that support such conclusion. But even then, we should never be dogmatic, or definitive on anything if it is not 100% clear.
What does the Bible say about pets in Heaven?
The Hebrew word that is normally translated to “soul” in English is “nephesh” and is used for both man and animal. Both man and animal have a “nephesh.” However, that word literally means “living being” … a breathing being with blood coursing through its veins. “Nephesh” and “soul” are not defined in the exact same way.
The Bible states that man was created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). The creation of man was set apart as unique from the animals on day six and meant to have a unique destiny. Although both man and animal have a “nephesh” or the “breath of life” (Genesis 2:7 – Genesis 1:30), animals were not created in God’s image, which means the “nephesh” of man is different than the “nephesh” found in animals.
Being created in the image and likeness of God means that we are spiritual beings with mind, emotion and will and our souls are eternal. Animals are not capable of having a personal relationship with God like we are. You can see this in Psalm 32:9 when the Psalmist illustrates the loss of the thinking capacity of a human being, he uses animals as an illustration:
Psalm 32:9 “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.”
The extreme difference in value between man and animal can be very clearly seen in Genesis 9, after God blessed Noah and his sons:
Genesis 9:2-3 “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”
At this point, God provides animals to man as food. This makes it very clear that animals are not meant to be spiritually significant to us and since we are made in His image, we may conclude that they are not of spiritual significance to Him.
While some animals were intended to be pets and a loving relationship is healthy and beneficial to both the pet owner and the pet, it can be very dangerous for people to grow so attached to their pets that their overall happiness is affected by the thought that they may not see their pet in Heaven. This might be an indicator of a deep spiritual need that has not been met through Christ.
We do know from Rev. 19:11 and Rev. 19:14 that some type of horses will be in the millennial kingdom. It is possible that our pets will be with us in Heaven as well. It may seem unlikely to some that there would not be animals on the new earth/in Heaven, as God created them for mankind initially and there will be horses of a sort in the millennial kingdom. However, the idea of eternal souls in animals is pure speculation.
What we do know for sure is that God is good, which means he is merciful and loving. We also know that we will be perfectly happy in Heaven. Whether our pets are with us or not, there will be no dissatisfaction in God’s presence.
If you have been converted, you do not need to worry about your own eternity or the eternity of your pet. You will be with the Lord Jesus Christ forever in paradise and the destiny of your pet has been determined by our holy God.
So, do animals go to Heaven? Only God knows. He hasn’t revealed that to us. What really matters is whether or not we know for sure that WE are going to Heaven. We can leave the rest to our perfect God who is much more trustworthy than us.