Some Legitimate Dog-Related Tax Deductions You Can Actually Take!

dog-tax-deductions-by-therichbrooks.jpgI am not a tax expert… just a dog lover at heart.

But, I found some interesting tax write-offs that some dog owners might be able to take!

What follows are actual tax deductions, as quoted by people “in the know” who share their take on tax write-offs as they relate to dogs.

Be sure to talk to your tax preparer regarding these or any new tax deductions and write-offs that might apply to you and your dog(s).

For starters, consider these…


#1 Moving The Family Pet As A Tax Deduction

If you are changing jobs and meet a couple of tests, you can deduct your moving expenses — including the cost of moving your dog, cat or other pet from your old residence to your new home. Your pet — be it a Pekingese or a python — is treated the same as your other personal effects.  Source


#2 Guard Dogs As Tax Write-Offs

In order for a dog to qualify as your company’s guard dog, it helps, says Cliff Ennico (a Connecticut-based business attorney who specializes in advising small businesses and entrepreneurs), if you’re a little afraid of the animal yourself (picture a Rottweiler, Pit Bull or German Shepherd). Believe it or not, this is a legit write-off if taken correctly.  Source

  • Expert Opinion: “You’ll only be able to deduct that portion of his or her total time devoted to ‘guard-dog’ duty.”
  • How to Do It Right: Though it may seem rather obvious, your dog most also be guarding your inventory. Another interesting tidbit: Though you can deduct expenses relating to the dog, you can’t deduct the dog itself. But you can depreciate it over its expected lifespan as determined by a local breeder. Who would’ve thought?


#3 Tax Deductions For Animal Adoption Fees & Donations

Some adopters may wonder whether the “adoption fee” or “adoption donation” made to a Rescue which has 501c non-profit status can be claimed as a deductible charitable donation on the adopter’s income tax return. The short answer is that an adoption fee or donation made to adopt a dog is almost certainly NOT deductible, but any additional donation made over and above the standard fee almost certainly IS deductible.  Source


#4 Pet Food Write-Offs… Under Certain Circumstances

A couple who owned a junkyard were allowed to write off the cost of cat food they set out to attract wild cats. The feral felines did more than just eat. They also took care of snakes and rats on the property, making the place safer for customers. When the case reached the Tax Court, IRS lawyers conceded that the cost was deductible.  Source


#5 Seeing-Eye Dog Tax Deductions

You can include in medical expenses the costs of buying, training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually impaired or hearing disabled person, or a person with other physical disabilities. In general, this includes any costs, such as food, grooming, and veterinary care, incurred in maintaining the health and vitality of the service animal so that it may perform its duties.  Source


#6 Tax Deductions For Canine Sport Leaders

Think: show dog presenters, trial judges, dog agility trainers, among others.

A proposed income tax deduction must meet 3 tests:
1) Is it documented? 2) Is it business related? 3) Is it reasonable?  Source (another source)


UPDATE: #7 Fostering A Pet Is Now Tax Deductible!

The basic requirements are that the expenses have to be directly related and solely attributable to the rendition of services to a qualified 501(c)(3) organization. In addition, you need to have documentation to support the expenses, and the organization needs to provide written acknowledgement for expenses over $250.  Source

Check out this proposal for a new tax deduction: A Pet Owners Deduction and the Tax Breaks For Pet Foster Parents.


A Word Of Warning For Entrepreneurs…

If you’re taking the “home office deduction,” be sure to carefully measure the portion of your office that you use solely for office work.

Tax tip:

If you have a desk located in a family room, for example, mixing your business correspondence with your personal mail could cause the deduction to be disallowed. The IRS takes this point very seriously. They once disallowed a home office deduction because they saw a dog’s bowl under the desk in a picture brought in by the taxpayer.   Source

 Be sure to talk to your tax preparer first before claiming your dog as a tax deduction. Otherwise, you might end up on a list of Funny Dog Deduction Stories next year!


More About Tax Deductions For Dog Owners

Lynnette Walczak

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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Fun From Around the Web

  • MK32568

    Is the neutering cost for a dog adpopted from a rescue/shelter tax deductible? I saw it on the news but my accountant is unaware of this.

  • FunTimesGuide
  • Kaye

    I have a business-horse farm where we board other people’s horses and offer riding lessons.

    We keep two cats on staff for small rodent control.

    What about my 2 dogs being a write off? I have two dogs that help keep larger pests at a minimum (racoons, fox, stray dogs etc) and also act as alarm systems at night (barking if something suspicious goes on at night).

  • Goldie

    I am an animal lover. And I foster kittens and puppies. I have the best of it all. I was searching the net to see if I can write off the food I buy for them on my taxes? Haven’t found anything yet.

  • Filmjunky

    I adopted/rescued a dog. The dog got sick and I have forked out over $5,000 in medical/vet bills. Can I deduct this as a loss?

    • FunTimesGuide

      Unfortunately, no.

  • Janmarchetti

    i paid one of my friends for taking care of my dog while I went on a 15 day vacaton. Am I entitled to take the cost of the petsitting as a tax deduction.

    • FunTimesGuide

      Unfortunately, no :-(

  • boo

    Sorry I am a little late…I recently adopted a dog from a 501c organization, and I do understand that you generally cannot write off the “donation fee” when actual goods or services are exchanged.  However I have the dogs original city shelter recipt and release.  According to those documents the dog was aquired for $15 by the rescue organization.  My adoption fee to the rescue was $325.  The neutering, microchip and shots were all done at the city shelter for $15 as noted in the recipt and release, before the rescue recived the dog.  It seems to me I could make the argument that the dog is worth $15 and the $325 was a “donation”.  I also have an adoption form from the rescue noting the $325 along with the original city documents.  Is this sufficient to “write-off” the $325?  I assume most folks don’t get the original city shelter recipt when they adopt a dog from a rescue that essentially “bailed the dog out”

    • FunTimesGuide

      Boo – it seems that what you’re describing is similar to the situation described here:

      “The adoption fee or adoption donation is NOT tax deductible. When donating to a 501c3, in order for the amount to be tax deductible, an individual must not receive any goods or services in return. Since you are receiving a wonderful gift (a new pet) for the amount in which you are paying, it is not considered a donation. If however, you choose to give a monetary donation in addition to the fee, then the amount you have donated (not including the adoption fee) is tax deductible as long as that organization has 501c3 status. To find out more about this, ask your accountant, visit the IRS website or ask the animal shelter/rescue staff.” SOURCE:

      I don’t know the answer to your specific question; you’ll need to ask an accountant to be sure.

      Other links that might be helpful:

      • boo

        In one of your posted links I saw the following post:

        “The same laws apply to other charitable donations–a benefit that includes a meal, etc. In these cases, generally the charity will supply an actual cost for the meal (let’s say $40) and if the ticket cost $100– you are able to deduct the difference of $60 as a charitable deduction. Animal rescue and adoption organizations charge tremendously different fees– some just enough to cover the services provided, others to help support the organization”

        It looks like I fit this situation.  I have the actual cost of the dog from the city shelter which is $15.  I assume, in nearly every case the non-profit rescue does not and will not provide the original city shelter recipt to the new owner, I somehow recived it.  I wil ask my accountan, but it seems pretty clear the charity supplied me with an actual cost for the dog ($15) and the adoption cost was $325.  I should be able to deduct the difference of $310 as a charitable deduction, just as I would if it were a charity dinner.