We write about products and services that we use. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
Looking for some dog tax deductions that you can claim?
While I’m not a tax expert myself, I’ve managed to find a handful of 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”.
Read their advice about IRS tax write-offs for dog owners — and then decide if each write-off applies to you…
Can A Dog Be Claimed As A Dependent?
If you’re thinking of writing off your dog as a dependent this year… think again!
While dogs play such an important role in families these days, and many of us feel like our dog is “a dependent” (much like a child), in the eyes of the IRS, a dependent must have an identification number (Social Security Number).
The lack of a SSN is currently the only thing keeping pets from filling the role of a dependent in your household.
If you have a dog, you might be able to claim some of these dog tax deductions though!…
These are the legit dog-related tax deductions that are currently allowed:
#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 Dog As A Tax Write-Off
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, Pitbull 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 – Dog Tax Deduction For Adoption Fees & Material 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 – Dog Food Write-Off… 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 Deduction
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 Deduction For Canine Sport Leaders
This is for show dog presenters, trial judges, dog agility trainers, among others.
#7 – Fostering A Pet Tax Write-Off
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
Did You Know?
If the Happy Act (Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years Act) is passed, it would help with some of the costs incurred by pet owners.
Entrepreneurs Who Work With Dogs
If your dog is making you money, then you can deduct some of the expenses associated with that.
Performing animals who star in print and TV ads, movies and TV shows, or critters making you money by being social media influencers (hello, Grumpy Cat), could also qualify for deductions if they are making their owners enough money to be taxable income. “If your dog is an Instagram star, that’s your business, that would be reported as self-employed income,” she explained, “so the IRS would look at it as a business, and then look at what business expenses are associated.” So transporting your pet to shoots, feeding them, grooming, etc., could possibly be deducted as business expenses. Source
By the way, 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 — for these reasons:
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
More Tax Deductions For Dog Owners
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.
Here are a few other tax breaks for pet owners that could pertain to you:
- Ways That Your Dog Can Get You A Tax Break
- 7 Tax Deductions That Are IRS Red Flags
- Tax Tip: Yes, You Can Deduct Your Pet
- 5 Pet-Related Tax Write-Offs
- Your Animal Shelter Donations Are Deductible
Funny Dog Tax Write-Offs
Every year, dog owners across America try to find new ways that they can deduct their dog on their taxes.
Maybe you’ve already tried “the dog ate my taxes” one before. I actually heard that this was claimed by a resident in Minnesota before — and others I’m sure. Hey, it definitely could happen!
Here are some other funny dog-related tax stories:
“I’ve got this problem, and I’m really starting to get nervous about it,” the DJ said. “Several years ago, I was going to owe some tax, so I put an extra deduction on my tax return.” Well, reasoned Lovelett, managing director of Lovelett, Skogen & Associates in Casper, it couldn’t be that bad. Then the DJ explained: “I put my dog on as a dependent.” The radio personality had deducted his dog Red all these years, allowing him to escape owing the IRS on those particular returns. But, unfortunately for the DJ and all other pet owners, claiming a dog or cat or any other furry family member is definitely disallowed by the tax laws. Source
Sometimes deductions seem so logical they just have to be legal. “I had a guy come in one time wanting to know if he could deduct the cost of his dog food. His reasoning was that his dog was security for his house, therefore the dog food became a security expense,” Frank Howard, CPA says. “I kind of liked that one. The IRS loves that stuff.” Source
What dog lover hasn’t melted when man’s best friend gives him that baleful look as he heads off to work? One taxpayer decided to create his own tax rule to ease the pain: “There is one individual who tried to deduct a day-care expense for their dog,” John Barghini, a CPA says. “The person was working, and they didn’t feel that the dog should be left alone, so they hired somebody to watch the dog, then tried to take a day-care tax credit for the doggy-sitting. The dog clearly was an economic dependent, but not for tax purposes.” Source
You think it’s hard to find good help? Tell it to the IRS. Even the CPA source for this one wished to remain anonymous: “A landscaper who was under audit with the IRS had deducted the expense of their dog because he would pull the wagon on landscaping jobs. They felt he was out there helping. He may have been listed as an independent contractor.” Source
John Barghini had one enterprising client who believed he’d found a doggone great way to boost his charitable deduction and thus shave a little off his taxes. “An individual who bred dogs was looking for a tax deduction, so he thought that he would give one of his dogs to the Humane Society and take a deduction for it. They were valuable dogs but he bred it, so he could not take a tax deduction for it.” The reason? Barghini explains that the tax code allows you to depreciate over time such breeding stock as cattle, race horses and, yes, even show dogs, provided you are breeding them with the intent to sell the offspring. In these instances, you may depreciate the breeding male or female, but not the offspring. Source
Like this post? Save it to read again later… or share with others on Pinterest!
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn’t think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I’ve always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I’ve been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what’s ‘normal’ and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I’m not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I’ve written over 600 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.