How To Write Off Pet Expenses on Your Taxes

Lonely and sad daughter sitting with dog stock photo
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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. A report from Rover found that 71% of pet owners have seen the cost of pet food and treats, toys and vet visits go up this past year. Turns out that pet owners who itemize their tax deductions might be able to offset some pet-related costs by writing them off come tax filing time

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Here are five potential tax deductions for pet owners (and pet fosters) filing their 2022 taxes. 

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
  • 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 prove 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. 

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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 them. 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)
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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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