What Does the Bible Say About Caring For Pets and Animals?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What does the Bible say about the care of pets and animals or rescuing animals?

It Was Good

What does the Bible say about the care of pets and animals or rescuing animals? We know that God loves His own work including the creation, but even more specifically, He cares about His creatures. Animals are part of His creation and He said of all creation, that it was “good.” The Bible says that “God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Gen 2:25). God saw that it was good and so must we. We must see God’s creatures as good too, and treat them as such. My wife has rescued many animals in her lifetime and cares for those who are abandoned in the neighborhood providing water and food. She even uses a heated water bowl for the cats, birds, squirrels, skunks, opossum, and many other creatures, so she lives out what God says “was good,” including caring for God’s creatures.

Mankind’s Duty

Since we know that God cares for His creatures, we too must care for them. God made man steward over His creation (Gen 2:19-20), and that includes caring for or taking care of every creature that we have. God gave mankind authority over the creatures, but not to take advantage of them or to exploit them or abuse them. There is no excuse for animal cruelty and that’s why there are laws that can fine or imprison those who abuse animals. And I’m not just talking about dogs or cats, but no creature should suffer at the hands of man or woman. God will hold them accountable. God’s concern for animals shows up very early in the Bible. God commands us all: “You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and ignore them. You shall help him to lift them up again” (Deut 22:4). Who is our neighbor? It’s anyone we see, so loving our neighbors as ourselves means we love our neighbors enough to care for their animals if need be.

God says we are not to “not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain” (Deut 25:4).

The Righteous Care for Animals

Do you think God really cares about His creatures? God’s Word says, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel” (Prov 12:10). It is an act of unrighteousness to be cruel to animals, not to mention illegal in most places around the world. That’s why God commanded Israel to care for their creatures in a humane way. This shows up in several places in Scripture. For example, God commands Israel, but really He commands all of us to “not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain” (Deut 25:4). What about muzzling an ox is bad? I believe the Bible teaches that men and beasts alike should not be muzzled or cutoff from partaking in at least part of the harvest that they are responsible for producing. The fact that “A worker is worthy of his wages” (1 Tim 5:18) should tell us we should also care for our animals. Cattle, horses, mules, donkeys, ferrets, and just about any other creature that we own, are all worthy to receive our tender, loving care. This includes feeding them, sheltering them from extreme heat and exposure to the sun, from extreme cold, providing adequate water, and making trips to the veterinarian where necessary.

Loving Neighbor and Creatures

It is our duty to try and find the lost pet’s owner.

If we know of a dog or cat that is lost and we know about it, it’s our duty to try our best to find its owner. The lost pet should be reported to the public, like on a town or city Facebook page. There are many such pages dedicated to finding the owners of missing pets so that the rightful owners have a chance to have their pet returned. Pets are so close to us, even more so with the elderly or single people, so much so that it feels like losing a member of the family when a beloved pet dies. God commands us all: “You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him” (Deut 22:1-2). That is a merciful act, and we must remember, God was merciful to us (Psalm 67:1-7; John 3:16; Rom 5:6-10; Eph 2:1-4).

Do Pets go to Heaven?

The Bible is silent on whether our pets go to heaven.

There just isn’t any positively conclusive evidence in the Bible that says our pets will be in heaven. There is plenty of animal imagery in the Bible like where Jesus returns to the earth riding a white horse, but this is not someone’s resurrected white horse. It is strictly symbolic of Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, returning on a white horse to take over the kingdoms of this world, coming under His own authority (Rev 19:11-16). Most of us realize that this white horse symbolizes the righteousness of Christ and His supreme authority over all creation. I do wish that some of my pets would be in heaven, but that would make about 15 cats and 10 dogs in my lifetime, so that might be a bit overwhelming when I reach heaven, however, just because the Bible is silent on whether our pets go to heaven does not mean it won’t happen. It could, but we just cannot say with biblical authority. I wished I could say that, but I cannot, because where the Bible is silent, so must I be.

Unequally Yoked

We read in the New Testament that we who believe are not to marry those who do not believe. The Apostle Paul calls it being unequally yoked (2 Cor 6:14). It would be like putting a donkey and oxen on the same yoke and expecting them to walk together in harmony. That’s not going to happen. If anything, the major part of the burden will fall on the oxen, and I would say, an unfair amount of the burden. Now if two oxen were yoked together, then both animals would share equally in the work load and it wouldn’t be as hard on one or the other. The Bible says can two walk together only if they don’t agree (Amos 3:3), meaning two cannot walk together if they don’t agree on things in life and about especially about Jesus Christ being Lord and Savior.

All Creatures, Great and Small

You shall not take the mother with the young” (Duet 22:6).

Just read how tender is the heart of God Who says, “If you come across a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young” (Duet 22:6). He also has compassion on the mother, saying, “You shall let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long” (Deut 22:6-7). The consequence of showing such godly mercy is that “you may live long,” or be blessed by a longer life. That shows us just how much God cares for His creatures, great and small.


I certainly hope that you have put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. If that has not happened yet, at present, you are in immediate danger, being only one breath, one heartbeat…one accident away from eternity. Then it will be too late to repent, so today may you must believe (2 Cor 6:2). You know that tomorrow is not guaranteed to us. I say again, put your trust in Jesus Christ right now. If not, you will surely face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or at Jesus Christ’s return (Rev 20:12-15), either of which could happen at any moment.

Here is some related reading for you: Do Animals or Pets Go To Heaven?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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