Anyone who has a pet, whatever animal it may be, wants to know what will happen to it after they die. The question of what comes next for humans is a major question that many religions address, but what about our beloved animal companions. Will they get to go to Heaven? Are they going to be reincarnated? Where are they going to go after they pass away?
Nearly every major religion throughout the world does believe that dogs go to heaven after they die. Some are more clear than others, but there is a consensus that pets go to heaven or some kind of paradise after death.
And while every different religion has its own views on what will happen to our pets after they pass away, what are the largest religion saying. To figure this out I found and studied the largest religions to find what they believed about a pet’s afterlife. The religions I studied were listed as the largest in the world and the United States.
The vast majority of Popes within the Catholic Church have expressed that our pets, dogs included, will eventually go to heaven. In a quote by Pope Paul Vi that is often attributed to Pope Francis he said, “One day, we will see our animals in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”
Another factor that makes many in the Catholic church believe that their pet will go to heaven is a scripture located in Isaiah 11:6-7. “Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall graze, together their young shall lie down; the lion shall eat hay like the ox.” Many believe that since this scripture talks of creatures after Christ comes and reigns again their pets will be there then as well.
No modern Islamic leaders have made any statements on what will happen to any pets after they die, but luckily, the Quran does have several scriptures that offer answers.
The first and most convincing scripture is Al-An’am 6:38. “There is not a moving (living) creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you. We have neglected nothing in the Book, then unto the Lord shall they be gathers.” This scripture is telling us that just like humans, creates will receive judgment and be let into Jannah, the Islamic term for Heaven or Paradise.
Also, the Quran talks about how those who make it to Jannah and are with Allah can have anything they want. If this is true, then it is likely that those who are with Allah can wish to have their pets with them. So in nearly any way you look at it, a large number of sources tell that Islam supports the fact of pets making it to Jannah
The Hindu belief about death and the afterlife is very different than most other religions. They believe in a cycle of reincarnation called samsara. This is where the atman (soul/spirit) goes and is reborn into another body. The period of time between death and reincarnation is unknown so there are differing beliefs about a place where the atman dwells before being reincarnated.
But, within the Hindu belief, every living thing on the planet has an atman. That means that after a plant or animal dies, it also goes to be reincarnated. There are some who believe because of a dog’s loyalty and attachment to humans, that after they die they are reincarnated as humans, however, there is no scriptural evidence for this. But, all dogs who die are reincarnated into a new body and get to live again. (Source)
The Protestant church doesn’t have any statements one way or the other on the subject. They, like the Catholic church, have the scripture of Isaiah 11:6-7, but they don’t have any reassurances like what the Pope has said for the Catholic church. The more pastors you ask, the more answers you are going to get. Because the church hasn’t had any statements, the whole thing is up to opinion based on a variety of scriptures that say pets are in Heaven in one, but not in another.
The most common reason some believe pets don’t go to heaven is that they don’t have a soul like us humans so they can’t benefit from Christ’s Atonement. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and all over the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:24-27). However, as we read earlier, some scriptures argue that our pets will get to heaven.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Views
The restored church, sometimes referred to as the Mormon church, has the easiest and also the clearest beliefs on what happens to pets after they pass away.
Less than two years after the church was founded, Prophet Joseph Smith was reading Revelation 4:6 where John spoke of seeing into heaven. In the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of revelation for the LDS church, Joseph answers many questions about this chapter. He talks about how there are animals in heaven, and that they have spirits just like humans do.
The LDS church also offers several different areas that cover the topic on the official church website. Both of these sites go over all of the evidence from scriptures to quotes by different Prophets and Apostles throughout the years since the church has been founded. The first of these pages was written in 1979, and the other in 2012, so the newer one covers a fair amount of similar info but does have more as more is said on the subject.