Support for guide dogs campaign


Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has launched a campaign to have assistance dogs – including guide dogs and caring support dogs classed as working dogs today in regards to VAT legislation.
Currently, food for assistance dogs is not VAT exempted which adds £120,967 per year to the food bill for dogs in Scotland. Other ‘working dogs’ such as sheep dogs and greyhounds currently enjoy VAT exemption from their food.

Ms Fabiani was joined by assistance dogs in Scottish Parliament to launch the campaign. 
She said:
“Under current legislation only dog food which is high in protein is zero rated. As this food is designed for dogs who are active for the majority of the day this food is simply not suitable for assistance dogs.
“This means that whilst working dogs such as sheepdogs and greyhounds are not subject to VAT on their food, assistance dogs such as guide dogs and hearing dogs are.
“This is completely unfair on the owners of these assistance dogs who rely on their animals in order to carry out daily tasks and on the charitable organisations who work so hard to train and support assistance dogs through their working lives.”
It is often the owners of the assistance dogs who are required to pay this bill although some of the charity organisations who train the dogs do cover these costs.

Although the VAT bill only comes to around £84,340 per year for all of the assistance dogs in Scotland changes to the VAT legislation will help all of the assistance dog owners in the UK and will save these charities more money.
Guide Dogs Scotland added:
“Guide Dogs Scotland use premium dry dog foods which are able to provide a range of diets which meet the needs of the diverse dog population. These include feeding pregnant bitches, weaning diets, growth diets suitable for large breed puppies, maintenance diets for adults, reduced and lower activity diets for adults, diets to suit the older/senior dog and a range of veterinary prescription diets.
“In addition to having the different life stages/ranges of diets the quality/digestibility of the diets is important to ensure low or moderate faecal output which is important to the work of the guide dog on the street and management by a blind or partially sighted user.”

  • Under current UK VAT legislation owners of working dogs are not required to pay VAT on their food
  • Zero rated pet food is high in protein as it is for dogs who are physically active for the majority of the day
  • Assistance dogs do not require this high protein diet so their food is not VAT exempt
  • This means that charities and owners of assistance dogs are required to pay £24,340.01 a year in VAT for their dogs operating in Scotland
  • Our aim is to have the current legislation changed so that assistance dogs are counted as working dogs and therefore their owners are not required to pay VAT on their food