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Therapy Dog Tax Deduction: What They Qualify For

The invaluable feeling of having a steadfast and loyal companion at your side is hard to quantify. Service dogs and emotional support animals are hugely beneficial to people who suffer from physical, mental, and emotional ailments and massively improve an individual’s quality of life. However, they are not cheap additions to your life and can be costly.

Because of the overall financial burden some people face when housing a therapy dog, it is not uncommon to wonder about tax write-offs.

For the inquiring minds wondering if they can cut a few bucks at tax time, we will give you a quick, concise look at what your options are. The following paragraphs will explore the options and availability of tax deductions for your therapy dog, service animals, and more.

What are Therapy Dogs?

Therapy dogs differ slightly from emotional support animals. While an emotional support animal serves the essential purpose of aiding specific individuals with emotional or mental ailments, a therapy dog serves a broader audience. They are not as rigorously drilled for tasks as service dogs, though they do require some therapy training.

Hospitals, retirement homes, and even prisons have used therapy dogs. The privilege of having a furry friend nearby can help patients and inmates feel less isolated, stressed, and anxious.

Can Therapy Dogs Be Deducted From Taxes?

Therapy dogs are not classified as service dogs in the United States and are not given the same privileges, deductions, or access to public businesses. While they require some training for the job, they are not considered essential to a person’s well-being and are unfortunately unable to get the same coverage that a service animal would.

While service dogs get the lion’s share of leniency regarding write-offs, access to public locations, and transportation, therapy dogs may be eligible for specific deductions. A therapy dog may be able to get deductions related to its availability to local businesses, hospitals, and their patients.

If you travel long distances to ensure that various establishments have access to the animal, you could potentially deduct these expenses. Similarly, you can deduct any items or accessories the dog needs when in a public venue. You could also get help with fees that arose from therapy training, adopting the dog, and required veterinary shots.

These deductions may become difficult to prove if the dog lives with you outside of therapy hours.

The problem with living with a therapy dog is the line between what is needed for its service to others and what is required to house a pet becomes tricky to determine. While feeding a therapy dog is necessary to ensure it is healthy, that is also a pet owner’s responsibility. Because of this, it is essential to only get write-offs for therapy-specific fees.

If you try to get deductions for regular, everyday expenses, they will likely get rejected outright. These include dog toys, hygienic supplies, insurance, vet checkups, food, and similar items.

For owners of service dogs, there are considerably more options at a person’s disposal. Because of how expensive a service dog is and how difficult life is without them for folks in need, there are several deductions for housing a service animal. These write-offs can range from the initial price of adoption all the way to the various tools and accessories the dog needs.

Summary of Tax Deductions for Therapy Dogs

The world could use more therapy dogs, and it is a privilege that we have so many people willing to train them. Unfortunately, driving around empathetic pooches is often a thankless task, and this can be felt in the financial burden of taking on therapy dogs. Thankfully, there are some tax deductions available for your sociable Shih Tzu.

Travel costs, therapy training, and various tools needed for the animal to be comfortable in its job are all typically deductible. Similarly, any required vaccinations that are needed for the animal to interact with others can often be covered. However, this does not extend to daily necessities for the dog to survive, particularly if the animal lives with the taxpayer.