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Can I Claim Pet Expenses on My Taxes?

Learn if you can write off your pet from your taxes. What pets are qualified to be claimed as expenses on tax forms. Can I deduct my veterinary bills from my taxes? Can I claim my pet on my taxes? Are pets tax deductible?

Many pet owners would love to be able to claim their pet expenses on their taxes, but can you “write-off” your pet? Chances are the answer is “No” but let us look at some possibilities. Be aware that this is very general tax information, (laws are always changing and are different country to country) and you can clarify with a tax agent in your country in regards to deducting your pet expenses from your taxes.

What Pets can be Claimed on Taxes

In most areas the defining point that determines if a pet, and pet expenses, can be claimed, is if the animal is used to make money, is a “working” animal, or if the animal is a medical need. Let us look at these three categories, firstly animals that are medical needs. 

Service Animals

Animals, such as seeing eye dogs, are often considered to be medical needs. This is only the case when the animal has been assigned as such. In many cases the animal needs to be “prescribed” by a doctor.

Working Animals

Guard dogs are a good example of working animals, specifically when they are used for guarding a business. The business claims the dog as an expense. Cats who are used for mousers may be considered working animals if their mousing is at a business. Herding dogs are considered working animals and would be claimed by the farm.

Used to Make Profit

This often applies more to livestock, and pets who are treated as livestock. Only when income is claimed, expenses can be as well. If, for example, a person is a rabbit breeder, with several hundred rabbits breeding for the pet store (or food) industry, they can claim expenses as this is a business, but they must also report the income derived from sales.

The same would apply to dog breeders when they claim a profit, this is typically limited to puppy mill breeders, as most other breeders do not make (or claim) a profit and keep the dogs more as a hobby than an income source.

When pets are being used to make a profit, and for tax purposes, they are claimed as a business expense, with the “breeding” operation being the “business” and would be required to be registered as such. There must be reasonable belief that the business will be profitable – somebody keeping only a few hamsters or a pair of dogs, is not an actual business.

two sheep two hens

- A couple Sheep, and a couple Hens, are not enough livestock to claim as a "Business" as such, these "pets" cannot be deducted on a tax form, however if enough animals were kept to make a reasonable profit, then their expenses could be claimed.

What Pet Expenses Can Be Claimed on Taxes– If Qualified (as above)

Of course, as with every expense claimed on taxes, receipts must be kept.

  • Purchase Price
  • Veterinary Expenses
  • Pet Food
  • Equipment Needed, including a dog house, fencing, and so forth.
  • Training Expenses
  • Pet Supplies
  • Pet Insurance
  • Space – a proportion of the property that is used for the business of pet breeding

Note:  With dogs used for guarding, only a portion of their expenses may be claimed, specifically in ratio to the time they spend "guarding".  Most dogs might only be used to guard a business at night, so 50% of the expenses may be claimed on taxes, as the animal is living as a "pet" for the other part of the time.

Note:  In all cases, check to determine the amount of expense that can be claimed, even in where claims are allowed they might be only proportionate to your income, or have a limit.

Note: There have been many calls in many areas to allow all pet owners to claim certain pet expenses on their taxes, such as Bill HR3501, in the USA, which would allow pet owners to claim veterinary expenses. At the time of writing this bill has not been passed.

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Comments (5)

What an eye opening article. We have a service dog and it never occurred to me to check for potential tax deductions. It's always worth a shot to check. Thanks.

interesting

I'd love to be able to claim my cats' expenses...two of them are special needs and one of the needs (allergies) gets pretty expensive. Hopefully the act mentioned will be passed!

excellent article....thanks

awsome info.... i own and  operate a swmall not for profit animal shelter/sanctuary and want to claim a portion of the property the kennel is on as an expense on my tax returns....... I believe after reading this I can........:))))))

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