Study: Pet Parents Believe All Dogs Go To Heaven

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
A new study finds most American pet owners believe dogs go to Heaven once they’ve crossed the Rainbow Bridge. But are all animals granted access?

In what is thought to be the first study conducted to investigate beliefs about what happens to animals after they die, researchers have found that most pet owners do indeed believe there is life after death for their pets.

The study surveyed over 800 people and examined how different demographics affected their beliefs about what happens when an animal dies.

Related: Pope Francis Says That Dogs and Cats Do Go To Heaven

The results were fairly straightforward for those who claimed to believe in an afterlife for humans–they are more likely to also believe in an afterlife for animals as well. Of the 800, 59 percent believed in human afterlife and of those 59 percent, 75 percent reported that they believe that pets have an afterlife as well.

The survey also showed that different demographic categories placed more or less belief in life after death for pets than others. Of those most likely to believe, pet owners (of course!), women, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, African Americans, Buddhists and those who live in the Southern states of America most strongly felt that there was life after death for pets.

Related: Losing A Pet–Dealing With the Loss of Your Dog

Interestingly, though, researchers found that in general, most who believed in a pet afterlife, believed strongly in one for dogs, cats and horses, while insects, fish and reptiles didn’t necessarily get the same credit. For many, flushing the fishy down the toilet was the end of its journey.

The study’s information may have impact in the world of veterinarians who deal with end of life care. This information could help shape and define the way that they help their clients make decisions in both treatment of and ending life for their pets. Knowing that most pet owners see the life cycle of their pet similarly to their own can influence how the last days of a pet’s life play out.

And so, while different demographics hold varying beliefs in life after death for pets, it’s clear that there is a significant number of people who cherish their pets life–here and after–as much as their own.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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