How to keep your dog safe from thieves and what to do if your dog goes missing
Losing your dog, or having them taken from you, is an unbearable thought. Sadly, it’s a reality for the families of 2,000 dogs who are stolen each year in the UK.
A recent study by the charity DogLost estimates a 250% increase in dog thefts nationwide during the pandemic.
Follow our advice to protect your pooch and share it with other dog owners. With your help, we can ensure no one else has to experience the heartbreak of dog theft.
Keep your dog safe from thieves at home
Follow these tips to keep thieves away from your home and pooch.
- Make sure your house and property boundaries are secure - keeping your dog in and intruders out.
- Fit garden gates with a sturdy lock to prevent trespassers gaining easy access to your property.
- Join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
- Report any suspicious activity to the police.
- If you post pictures of your dog on social media, regularly review your privacy settings and make sure someone couldn’t identify your address from your posts.
Keep your dog spottable at all times
Always knowing where your dog is will help keep them safe from being stolen. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re outside with your pooch.
- Keep your dog in sight when they are in the garden and never leave them unsupervised.
- If you're exercising your dog off-lead, always keep them in sight and pay attention to what they are doing.
- Make sure your dog comes back when you call them, regardless of where they are.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a public place - even if it's just for a minute.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a car – as well as the risk of being stolen, they can also easily overheat.
Make sure your dog is searchable, if the worst should happen
- Ensure your dog is wearing a tag with your name, phone number and address on it.
- Ensure your dog is microchipped and that your contact details are kept up to date with your database provider.
- Keep up-to-date, clear photos of your dog, making sure to show any distinctive features. These will be a massive help if your dog goes missing.
What to do if your dog is stolen
Here are some practical things you can do to give you the best chance of being reunited with your dog.
- Report the theft to the police straight away. Make sure you get a crime reference number and insist that your dog is recorded as stolen and not missing.
- Report the theft of your dog to your local authority dog warden and notify your microchip database provider.
- Contact local animal centres, rescue charities, your local vet, and any other neighbouring practices to ask them to keep an eye out for your dog.
- Monitor places thieves may try to sell your dog, like pet websites, pet shops and notice boards. Notify the police immediately if you come across anything.
- Use missing and stolen animal websites such as www.doglost.co.uk. They help reunite missing pets with their owners by offering free advice and support.
Using social media to find your dog
One of the most effective ways to raise awareness of your lost pet is through social media. Here's our top tips.
- Create a poster with a recent picture of your dog and where they were last seen, including as much detail of the incident as possible.
- Post on all the platforms you can and ask your friends and family to do the same.
- Ask your followers to share your posts.
- Search social media platforms. If someone finds your dog they may post about it on social media. So, search for identifying features and the location your dog was lost, e.g. words like ‘dog found in Essex’, ‘brown Labrador found’ etc.
- Tag animal charities, vets, microchip database providers and local businesses to ask them to share your posts.
- Make sure your social media profiles are set to ‘public’ in the security settings.
We love our dogs. In fact, we’d be lost without them.
But every dog has the potential to stray or be stolen. Having up to date contact details on your dog’s tag is often the quickest way for you to be reunited with your best friend should the worst happen.
Buy a dog tag