You might consider your dog your "furry child," but the Internal Revenue Service doesn't. Unlike a human child, most dogs—and other animals—don't qualify as tax deductions

But if your pet is a service dog, you're in luck. You can deduct expenses for a service dog or other service animals if you are visually impaired or hearing disabled, or have another physical disability. Among the tax deductions you can take for a service dog are the cost of buying, training, and maintaining the dog. You can also deduct expenses for food, grooming, and veterinary care, according to IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.

Note that tax deductions are allowed only for a recognized service dog, not for a therapy animal. (You might also be able to deduct expenses if an animal is part of your business.)

Unusual Medical Deductions

Service dog aside, there are plenty of other unusual tax deductions that you might not have considered. Barbara Weltman, an attorney and contributing editor to J.K. Lasser's "Your Income Tax" book series, points out some other esoteric deductions:

  • Wigs prescribed by a psychiatrist to deal with anxiety about hair loss.
  • A special bed or mattress to help your back or sleeping disorder, if prescribed by a doctor.
  • Home improvements to make your home accessible to someone with a disability.
  • New siding on a home where a resident is suffering from mold on the old siding.
  • Remedial reading help for a dyslexic child.
  • Herbal supplements prescribed by a doctor for migraine headaches.
  • Batteries for a hearing aid.
  • Laser eye surgery.
  • In-vitro fertilization treatments for someone who is infertile.
  • The difference between the cost of a gluten-free diet and your old diet if it costs more and if it is prescribed by a doctor.
  • Travel to visit a child in rehabilitation, if a doctor recommends the visit. 


The 10 Percent Rule: Keep in mind that you can only write-off those qualified medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of your household adjusted gross income. For households where one filer is 65 or older, the cutoff is 7.5 percent, at least through tax-year 2016.