Last updated: March 28 2024

Tax Season: Can I Claim My Dog?

Evelyn Jacks

I have heard and seen a lot of funny things on planes, trains and other modes of transportation, but a memorable episode recounted by a fellow traveller involved an emotional support turkey firmly grasped by its owner who was afraid of flying. It reminds me of a question I often get:  can I claim  my fur-baby on my tax return.  In some cases, the answer is yes.

Specifically, the federal budget of 2018 included expenses for the costs of animals specifically trained to perform specific tasks for their owners who have a severe mental impairment.  These could be claimable as a medical expense, with all the normal rules attached to making that claim.

For the animal in question, usually a dog, the type of training required is specific, as mentioned.  This can include training to assist with post-traumatic stress disorder or guiding a disoriented patient or searching a home with those who have severe anxiety before entering it. Another example is support when a patient experiences night tremors.

The type of expenses claimable include the cost of the animal, as well as its food and veterinary care, reasonable board for the animal, travel costs and lodging for the owner to attend a facility for training of the animal and their owner.  

Receipts, of course, are required, should CRA need to see them.

The next federal budget is just around the corner.  Please stay tuned for the April 16 Federal Budget Report from Knowledge Bureau.  Here’s how engage your associates who need to know the details – send them this link to subscribe!