In the pretribulational understanding of the rapture, believers will be taken to heaven prior to the onset of the seven-year tribulation on earth. All earthly possessions, including family pets, will be left behind. This causes many people to wonder what will happen to their pets at that time. If they and their entire family are taken to heaven, then who will take care of the dog? Especially troubling is the thought that one’s dog (or cat or fish or hamster) will have to then go through the tribulation.
The Bible teaches about what happens to believers at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:15–18), but it does not answer the question of what happens to dogs and other family pets. The best anyone can do is speculate. Here are a few possibilities:
1) After the rapture, God sends a person to take care of the pets that are left behind—or at least let them out of one’s house or yard so they can better fend for themselves.
2) God sends an angel to care for the needs of the believers’ pets.
3) God Himself lets the dogs or cats out of the house—through natural or supernatural means—so they can take care of themselves.
4) God, in effect, “adopts” the pets as His own, miraculously provides them with food and water, and sees to it that they are protected, wherever they are.
5) God euthanizes the pets; i.e., He causes them to die peacefully in their sleep to prevent their suffering in the days ahead.
6) God allows events to run their course, without intervening. In this case, animals, including household pets, would have to endure suffering along with the rest of the earth.
The tribulation will be a terrible time of judgment on the rebellious world. Believers will be spared this time, “for God did not appoint us to suffer wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). But will the dogs and cats and other pets owned by believers also be spared the wrath to come? The Bible does not say. But it is good and right to be concerned about the animals in our care (Proverbs 12:10).
Please note that there are several groups out there offering to provide “after rapture pet care services” for anyone whose pets are left behind. While we are not saying they are all scams, we are highly suspicious. Please do research and be discerning before you sign up with any of these services.