With their dynamic personalities, dogs and cats are more than just companion animals. In fact, if you are like 98% of pet owners, you also probably think of your furry friend as an integral member of your family. 

If you have been thinking about filing for bankruptcy protection, you likely know you may have to give up some assets. Are you going to lose your dog or cat during the bankruptcy process, though? 

Your pet is a disclosable asset

When you file for bankruptcy, you must declare all assets you own. Even though your dog or cat is alive, the animal is an asset. Consequently, like with real estate, cars and personal property, you must notify the bankruptcy trustee about your dog or cat. 

You probably can keep the animal

To satisfy some of your debts, the bankruptcy trustee may sell some of your assets. In theory, the trustee may ask you to part with your dog or cat. In practice, though, that rarely happens. 

While your animal is priceless to you, it probably has limited value on the open market. The cost of housing and selling a dog or cat is also usually prohibitively expensive. Accordingly, you probably will not lose your dog or cat during your bankruptcy. 

You have other options

If you have a uniquely valuable animal, such as a prize-winning show cat, the bankruptcy trustee may find it worthwhile to sell the animal. Even then, you likely have some options for keeping your pet. 

Bankruptcy laws allow you to exempt some of your assets from sale. If the bankruptcy trustee wants to sell your dog or cat, you can probably use one of these exemptions to save the animal.