Dog theft is unfortunately on the rise in the UK. The number of reported dog thefts in 2017 was 1,909, up from 1,788 in 2016. Incredibly, this is an average of 5 dog thefts every single day.
Unsurprisingly, the breeds of dog that are most frequently stolen are those that can command the highest resale prices. This includes many pedigree dog breeds and many desirable breeds, such as French bulldogs and Chihuahuas.
However, despite this increase, there ARE things that you can do to help prevent your dog from being stolen.
Here are the top 6 things that you can do:
- Firstly, ensure that both your house and garden are as secure as possible. Windows and doors should have good working locks and where possible, gardens should have good quality fencing and gates. Also, try to avoid leaving dogs unattended in gardens.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended outside shops or in cars. It’s surprising how many dogs are stolen from their owners’ cars.
- Try to keep your dog in sight when letting him off the lead. If you know that your dog has a poor memory, then it’s probably best to keep him on a lead in open and less secure spaces.
- Don’t give any information about your dog to strangers and if you see any suspicious activity, then report it.
- If you know any other local dog owners, such as neighbours or friends, try to go out for group walks with your dogs. This one is great for socialising too!
- Get a microchip implanted in your dog. This is now a legal requirement for all dogs in the UK, but also makes good sense for dog owners of all nationalities to do this to their dogs. Dogs that have been microchipped have a much greater chance of being reunited with their owners.
Having your dog stolen is obviously very distressing, but if the worst does happen, then report it straight away. As well as informing the police, you should also notify your local vet and any local rescue centres. If your dog has been implanted with a microchip, then it’s a good idea to also inform the microchip company.
If you’re a social media user, then use those platforms to inform people of the theft. Include good recent photos of your canine friend and tell the world what’s happened. This will massively increase your chances of getting your dog back.
And don’t forget to go on national dog lost and found sites and register with them.
If you’re buying a new dog, make sure you do some research into its background and provenance. And get the vet to check for a microchip when you take him for his initial health check.
Use some, or all, of the points above and you will greatly reduce the risk of your dog being stolen.