How To Write Off Pet Expenses on Your Taxes, From Service Animals to Foster Care


Our furry companions are everything to us, but they tend to rack up quite a bill, especially amid inflation. A recent Forbes study found that 63% of pet owners said inflation has made it more difficult to pay a surprise vet bill, and 42% would go into debt for a bill of $999 or less.

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Another report from Rover found that over 90% of pet owners have seen the cost of pet food and treats, toys and vet visits go up. The good news is that pet owners who itemize their tax deductions might be able to offset some pet-related costs by writing them off come filing time .

Here are several potential tax deductions for pet owners (and pet fosters) filing their taxes. Save this info for next year if you’ve already done yours.

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Tax Deductions for Service Animals

If you have a disability that justifies use of a service animal, such as a guide dog, the following costs are tax-deductible as medical expenses:

  • Purchase of a trained animal

  • Professional training

  • Vet and medical care

  • Food

  • Service-related costs such as grooming

Note: Emotional support animals do not qualify as service animals and are not eligible for tax benefits. To receive tax benefits for service animal care, taxpayers must be able to prove medical necessity and that their pet is trained to perform the specific service job at hand.

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Deductible Business Expenses for Working Pets

If your pet has a bona fide job in your business — as a professional guard animal, for example — you can write off their care as a business expense, provided you’ve saved receipts.

Tax Deductions for Pet Income

If your pet is making income (hello Instagram pet influencers!), you can and should claim this as business or hobby income on your personal tax return. You can then list the pet’s care as an expense for a deduction there.

If your dog appears in movies, advertisements or any kind of media, this could also be considered a business. You want to keep meticulous records to your pet-related expenses and the venture that they earn an income through. You could even include the money you spend on pet insurance premiums since you’re protecting your business.

Foster Pet Care Tax Deductions

Plenty of dogs and cats are looking for their forever homes and rely on fosters to take them in until they find said home. If you’re fostering an animal from a qualified nonprofit, you can write off the following:

  • Unreimbursed care costs

  • 14 cents per mile driven while volunteering (excluding commute to and from the rescue organization you’re fostering with/from)

However, be sure that you’re fostering a pet from an IRS-qualified 501(c)(3) to be eligible for the write-off.

Martin Dasko contributed to the reporting for this article.

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This article originally appeared on How To Write Off Pet Expenses on Your Taxes, From Service Animals to Foster Care