Owning a dog in the UK has become very desirable and as a result, demand is at an all-time high. People are now prepared to pay a small fortune for a dog and this is fuelling a rise in dog theft.
Criminals are targeting dogs in the knowledge that they can sell on your cherished pet and easily make huge sums of money. It is a frightening thought but sadly dog theft happens every day.
Dog theft is becoming more and more popular in the country and now dog owners are left to answer the question – “how can I protect my dog and keep them safe?”
Ways To Keep Your Dog Safe
We must do everything we can to keep our companions safe so here at Dog Food Info we have compiled a list of precautions that you can take to protect your pet:
Dog Registration and Identification
The law states that your dog must be microchipped. However, for this system to be effective, all of the details must be kept up to date on the pet registration databases.
During a house move or relocation, this can easily get overlooked. Without the correct contact details, the chances of being reunited with your beloved pet if it was lost or stolen are greatly reduced.
We all love to take photographs of our animals but it is important to take pictures from different angles showing all your pets markings and distinctive features.
If your dog is regularly groomed, then it is also a good idea to have pictures from both before and after this is done. These images may become invaluable if you need to prove ownership or if you have to ask members of the public for their help in finding your dog. These photographs will give a visual reference of what your dog looks like.
Most owners will automatically include the name of their dog on its collar. However, it is highly recommended that you do not do this. Instead, just use your surname and contact telephone number.
A dog will always respond and react to its name, so this will provide even more proof of ownership if it was ever required. Additionally, it stops a thief from learning your dogs name and calling it over to them for a quick getaway.
Pets can be easily stolen from a garden or a backyard. It is advisable to avoid leaving your dog alone whilst it is outside.
Special attention should be made to securing all of your boundaries and making sure that gates are fitted with locks and even alarms. Remember, if your dog is unable to get out, then a thief may struggle to get in!
We all know that a dog should never be left in a car in hot weather but did you also know that a dog in a car is an easy target for thieves?
It only takes a few seconds to grab your dog through a half-opened window or to force a door. It is recommended that you never leave your pooch unattended in a vehicle.
Out and About
This may seem like common sense, but leaving a dog tied up outside a shop or property (even if it is just for a minute or two) gives a thief a golden opportunity to steal your dog.
This used to be commonplace but times have now changed. A dog should never be left alone and vulnerable in this way.
It is always a good idea to vary your route and the time of day for your dogs daily walk.
Establishing and sticking to a routine can be dangerous and could allow a thief the opportunity to plot and plan your dogs kidnap. Going on a dog walk with a fellow dog owner and walking your animals together gives you safety in numbers.
Whilst out, your dog must have a good recall if it is off the lead. It is also wise to have a basic knowledge of the area you are walking in and know where exits and remote areas are located.
You must be on your guard for strangers asking for directions or striking up conversations with you as this could just be a decoy. It has been known for some thieves to even ask to have a photograph taken of your dog to cause a distraction. It is always lovely to chat with fellow dog owners but you must stay alert and watchful.
If you use the service of a dog walker, then it is important to check their references and to ensure that they are genuine.
What to do if your Dog is Stolen
If the worse were to happen, then there are things you can do to increase your chances of getting your four-legged friend back.
Firstly, you must contact the police for a crime reference number and to give them as many details as possible about the theft and your pet.
If one is available, then it is advisable to contact your local dog warden. They will then be able to identify your pooch if it is found as a lost or stray dog.
Contact your dogs microchip database which holds your details and update them about the theft. Should your dog be recovered and its microchip checked, then it will have all the information necessary to help you to be reunited.
Use social media, missing pet websites, rescue centres and vets to publicise your lost pet. It is essential that you include your crime reference number and add detailed photographs. Someone could easily recognise your pooch. This could lead to vital information and ultimately help your four-legged friend find its way back home to you.
We know that your canine companions are members of the family and how traumatic for any dog owner it is to have their dog stolen.
Stay vigilant and take every precaution you can to help to keep your dog safe.