Can I Claim My Emotional Support Dog on My Taxes? Everything You Need to Know

Can I Claim My Emotional Support Dog on My Taxes
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Emotional support dogs (ESDs) are wonderful animals that can help you feel calm and comfortable at home or sometimes even in public. In fact, federal laws like the Fair Housing Act (FHA) allow you to live in otherwise not pet-friendly housing. This makes them a perfect addition to your home if you need the support as long as they’re well-behaved and don’t damage the property.

That said, the cost of caring for an ESD can add up. So, if you have an emotional support dog, you might be wondering: can I claim my emotional support dog on my taxes? The short answer is no, but there is a lot more to learn. Read on to learn everything you need to know about emotional support dogs and how they’re handled for tax purposes.

What Is an Emotional Support Dog?

An emotional support dog is a companion animal that provides support for people who have mental health disorders. They can help people who have mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, stress, panic disorders, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

For an ESD dog to be legitimate, you need to have a prescription letter from a licensed mental health professional, and you can also register your emotional support dog for additional protection. This can be done online by reputable organizations or you can work with your therapist and have them write your letter.

While the letter doesn’t have to contain information about your mental health disorder, it does have to prove that the animal or dog is there to provide support for you.

Can Emotional Support Dogs Be Claimed On Your Taxes?

No, an emotional support dog can not be claimed on your taxes. According to the IRS, emotional support dogs are treated in the same way as other dogs or pets. You can’t write off any of the expenses associated with them because they’re not considered service dogs. 

Depending on your state, however, there may be some grey areas, so consult with a licensed accountant to see if you qualify for any deductions from your emotional support dog.

Can Service Dogs Be Claimed on Your Taxes?

Unlike emotional support dogs or therapy dogs, service dogs can be claimed on your taxes. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) considers these dogs as a necessary treatment for a mental health disability, so they qualify for write-offs on your taxes.

You can deduct the following things from your service dog:

  • Training
  • Food
  • The cost of the animal
  • Boarding the animal if you have to travel without them (unlikely in the case of a service dog)
  • Vests, leashes, harnesses, and other supplies
  • Grooming
  • Medical bills

You can also write off other miscellaneous costs associated with caring for your service animal. The IRS also provides more details about what you can write off for a service dog at

How Can You Write Off a Service Dog on Your Taxes?

You can deduct the care you provide for your service dog under your Schedule A deductions on a 1040 form. It needs to be written off as a medical expense. This can only be done if you reject the standard deduction and go with an itemized deduction.

Depending on your tax situation, this may or may not save you money, so we recommend consulting with an accountant before writing off anything for your service dog. What’s more, for you to be able to write off medical expenses, they have to be greater than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Make the Most of Your Deductions

You can’t claim an emotional support dog on your taxes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t claim any animals on your taxes. If you train an emotional support dog to help you with a specific task and can prove that they help with a disability, you can deduct them from your taxes.

That said, you have to make sure you have your dog trained by a reputable organization or adopt a psychiatric service dog from a reputable organization.

For more information, visit ApzoMedia