Dogs make our lives even more paw-some, lifting our spirits and providing loyal companionship. Many of us have welcomed a four-legged friend into the family for exactly these reasons, as we’ve found ourselves enjoying more time for walks and training.
Over the past six years, there has been a steady increase in pet theft year on year, with demands for dogs increasing during Covid lockdown sending puppy prices to an all time high*. We hope you and your family never have to go through this, so follow our suggested top tips of things you can do to help keep your dog safe by your side and avoid dog theft.
Varying the times and routes of your daily walks can help to prevent your dog from being targeted during their routine walk. Not only does variety help to keep you safe, but your dog will enjoy all the new smells along the way! Using an extending lead will let them explore whilst keeping them safe and close by. It’s best not to let your dog off their lead if you’re unfamiliar with your surroundings and if their recall skills haven’t yet been perfected.
It’s not uncommon for people to give your four-legged friend some attention whilst you’re out walking but be wary if a stranger is asking lots of questions about them. Don’t give away any personal information and report any suspicious activity to your local police.
Let your pup play safely in your garden by ensuring you have tall fences with no gaps to help stop your dog from escaping. Fitting a lock and bell to your garden gate will also help to deter any thieves. And, of course, never leave your dog unattended in the garden and make sure you keep your home’s windows and doors locked when you’re out and about. Approximately 52% of dogs get stolen from a garden**, if it is financially viable, CCTV could be set up watching over your garden.
If they’re running around in public, keep an eye on your dog at all times. Don’t leave them outside shops or alone in the car, even if just for a short while. It’s best to keep your furry friend at home if you can’t keep them with you at all times – they can enjoy a quick nap whilst you’re out, so they’re full of energy to play once you get back! If your dog has a habit for wandering off, consider purchasing a GPS tracker, so you can see where they are on your phone at all times.
If the worst happened and your dog ran off or was taken, up to date contact details will help to reunite you both as quickly as possible.
All dogs should be microchipped by the time they’re 8 weeks. If you’ve just welcomed your dog into the family, whether they’re a puppy or an older dog, check that they have been microchipped.
Plus, each time you visit the vets, we recommend checking your contact details are up to date, too. This is especially important if you’ve recently moved house or changed your phone number.
Your dog should also wear a collar with an ID tag, including your name, address and phone number, when out in public. Remember not to include their name though as this may help thieves to bond with your dog quicker.
We love to take lots of pictures of our dogs, and it’s actually really important in case they go missing. Recent photos, especially those that show distinguishing features, can help others to identify your dog if they’re lost. Plus, any pictures of you – their favourite human – with them can help to prove ownership if needs be.
If the worst does happen and your dog is taken, it’s important to act quickly and report a theft to the police. Be sure to ask for a crime reference number. You should also report the theft to your council’s dog warden, the microchip database, local vets and animal shelters, so they can all help you to find your furry friend as quickly as possible. The RSPCA has advice for if you have lost your dog or if you have found one.
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