6 Pet-Related Tax Deductions Worth Digging Into

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Promoting pet health and wellness, Embrace Pet Insurance explores tax deductions for dogs and cats.

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Can pet owners claim their dog or cat on their taxes? The answer is, yes—but only in specific instances.

Can pet owners claim their dog or cat on their taxes? The answer is, yes—but only in specific instances. With Tax Day less than two weeks away, many people are searching for every deduction possible. Embrace Pet Insurance compiled a list of six pet-related areas that could possibly see a deduction.

Tax Deductions for Pets
Though a pet cannot be claimed as a dependent on their owner's U.S. taxes, the IRS does grant certain tax deductions for dogs and other pets. Embrace has pulled together some helpful tax deductions for pet owners.

1. Business Animals
Typically dogs that work as a security measure for a business fall into the category of business animals. While they may be considered pets by their owners, these working dogs often live at the business 24/7 instead of in the owner’s home. A cat "employed" for rodent control at a business may also qualify. Owners of business animals may be able to deduct expenses like food, veterinary care, and training related to the animal’s job. Animals that generate income for their owners, such as performing animals, may be part of this category as well. Performing animals appear in commercials, movies, television, print ads, and other related industries.

2. Shipping Household Pets During a Move
Many people dislike moving, and typically pets agree. Moving may not be fun, but there could be some compensation come tax time. According to IRS Publication 521 it’s possible to deduct the cost of shipping a pet to a new home when filing for annual taxes.

3. Donations to Pet-Related Charities
Adoption fees to a rescue organization or local shelter are not tax deductible. However, donations made to the rescue/charitable organization for which no goods or services are received may be deductible.

4. Foster Pets
Offering a loving home for abused, neglected, and abandoned animals means providing more than just shelter. Families who foster dogs and other animals can incur several expenses each year. Expenses range from food, medications, supplies, and even travel costs. Bankrate states, “Unreimbursed expenses for fostering a pet for an IRS qualified 501(c)(3) adoption organization can be deducted.” Deductions include food, supplies, and veterinary bills, plus up to 14-cents per mile for trips made to further the shelter’s work.

5. Pet-related Hobby Expenses
Pet parents who enjoy entering their pets in dog, cat, or horse shows as a hobby may be able to make a deduction under hobby expenses if the pet owner received earnings from it.

6. Service Animal Expenses
The category for service animals is broad, as are the potential tax deductions. Service dog expenses are tax deductible as noted in IRS Publication 502, deductions are available for individuals requiring a guide dog for vision or hearing impairments. These deductions may include expenses incurred when purchasing the animal as well as training fees or any veterinary expenses. Pet owners diagnosed with a condition that benefits from the help of a trained therapy animal may also find deductions.

Volunteers who are raising and/or training service or therapy dogs for an IRS recognized charity, such as Canine Companions for Independence, qualify for tax deductions. These deductions include basics like food and supplies, as well as medications and veterinary visits.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, annual routine veterinary costs for a dog are about $257, and almost double that for surgical expenditures. Vet costs for a cat average a bit lower at about $182 for routine visits. Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t allow deductions for pet veterinary expenses regarding animals who don’t fall into categories such as service, therapy, or business animals.

Often time, pet owners have pet insurance to protect their household finances in case of unexpected accidents and illnesses because most pets are not tax deductible. “Having pet insurance is like having a safety net for unplanned veterinary bills,” says Dawn Pyne, Marketing Manager for Embrace Pet Insurance. “It provides pet owners with peace of mind that if the unexpected happens, their pet is covered.”

While pet owners can claim pets on taxes, the deductions are specific, and many household pets simply do not meet the criteria set by the IRS. However, if the requirements for certain deductions are met, be sure to save all receipts throughout the year to provide proof of expenses. If ever there is uncertainty about pet deductions, consult a trusted tax professional.

About Embrace Pet Insurance
Embrace Pet Insurance is a top-rated pet health insurance provider for dogs and cats in the United States. Embrace offers one simple yet comprehensive accident and illness insurance plan that is underwritten by American Modern Insurance Group, Inc. In addition to insurance, Embrace offers Wellness Rewards, an optional preventative care product that is unique to the industry. Wellness Rewards reimburses for routine veterinary visits, grooming, vaccinations, training, and much more with no itemized limitations. Embrace is a proud member of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) and continues to innovate and improve the pet insurance experience for pet parents across the country. For more information about Embrace Pet Insurance, visit http://www.EmbracePetInsurance.com or call (800) 511-9172.

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Dawn Pyne
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