You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 6 a.m.

Some pet-related expenses are allowed on tax returns - do yours qualify?

By Lorrie Shaw


Lorrie Shaw | Contributor

It's that time of year again, and a running joke amongst those who share life with pets is that it would be great to be able to claim them on yearly tax returns. Really, it's an idea that has been traditionally approached from a tongue-in-cheek perspective.

But in 2011, you'll remember that I wrote about proposed legislation with regard to allowing some deductions in one state, and here in Michigan, the HAPPY Act was put on the table

Despite any snickers from those who scoff at the notion, there are some instances where tax deductions are allowable if you have a dog.

As noted on Dogster, if the status of your pooch falls in a certain category, the government might just cut you a bit of a break.

Pets in transition

Two instances may apply to many households and really don't seem that outlandish.

Fostering a pet is a rewarding way to help impact the issue of homeless pets. They get a chance to be in a stable home environment — and in some cases, better socialized — and as a result their chances of being rehomed are higher. Those who foster pets in their home may be able to deduct the costs associated with their care, like food, vet care and more.

Adoption is a common way to welcome a pet to the family, and some fees related to the adoption may be deductible.

Not-so-common instances that may apply

You might be interested to know that there are other cases might be the case in a smaller part of the population.

Service dogs serve many in our midst, and, as I've written about in the past, the fees associated with training and purchase of these animals doesn't come cheap. These expenses may be deductible, because they serve a medical need.

Those who have pets who are in the entertainment industry may be eligible to deduct some the related business expenses on yearly returns.

Other situations can qualify a household to use the expenses related to their animals. For more on that, click here.

As always, consult a qualified tax professional to verify whether any specific expense is deductible.

Lorrie Shaw leads the pets section for and is the owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.



Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

In addition to service dogs, deductions can be had for therapy dogs (travel to volunteer locations). Thank you tax man.


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 11:30 p.m.

Well, I don't see cute and adorable on the list. O well. Guess I need to what the entertainment industry has to say.


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

thanks Lorrie! I've passed this on to folks I know that should know! :)