While pets don't qualify as dependents, you might be surprised to know there are some situations where an animal could be deductible.
If you're a law enforcement officer and use a K-9 in your work, you may be able to claim the costs of her upkeep (including that special kennel you built) as Job-Related Expenses. Employee expenses like this are considered Miscellaneous Expenses, which are subject to the "2% rule." So if the total isn't more than 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), you might not benefit from claiming your K-9-related costs.
The other situation where you may be able to claim a deduction is for a service animal that provides medically-necessary assistance. You would need proof that the animal is prescribed for your particular condition, which is more than feeling better when your animal is nearby. If you obtained your service animal from an accredited training facility, they may be able to help you with this documentation. The costs of a service animal would be reported as Medical Expenses on Schedule A.
In both these cases, your total Itemized Deductions on Schedule A must be more than the Standard Deduction for your filing status. If so, you would lower your taxable income by claiming these expenses.
But if your pooch doesn't fall into either of these unusual categories, don't be discouraged. You still benefit from her devotion, companionship, and unconditional love. Three things money just can't buy.