Demand for puppies has gone through the roof since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, with an unprecedented rise in demand from people wanting a furry friend to spend time with. But at the same time, there has been a notable increase in the number of dog thefts, with a particular uptick in media reports of this happening. Below, we have put together some quick tips and advice to consider, to keep you and your pooch as safe as you can be.
When walking your dog, you need to be extra vigilant. Stay alert, and understand that dog theft may be increasing. Always take note of where your dog is, either when you are at home or outside.
If you are approached by a stranger, either asking suspicious questions about your dog, or in any way distracting you, be cautious with the information you give and be aware of what they are doing. Beware of any strangers who show an interest in your dog.
Report Any Suspicious Activity
If you notice any suspicious activities, you should report these to the police. This is either in relation to youtself, your dog and your property - or in relation to something you witness. This will help keep not only your dog safe, but also other dogs and their owners.
Make sure that your dog is microchipped. Ensure that all your contact details, including your address and phone number, are up-to-date with a microchip database such as Petlog.
Provided the details on the microchip are correct means that stolen or lost dogs who are found, can be quickly reunited with their owners. In addition to this, ensure your dog is wearing a dog tag on their collar, with your up-to-date contact details. This is now required by law, but nevertheless is a sensible step to take.
Secure Your Property
Make sure that your home is secure. Too many an opportunistic thief could see a dog through a window, or in the garden, and attempt to force entry through a door, gate or window. By keeping your property securing, you will minimise the risk of this happening to you.
Keeping Safe in Public Places
When walking your dog, make sure that you can always see them and never let them wander out of your sight. Making it so that they are reliably trained to return to you when you call will also be a big help. If your pet isn't compliant, an extendable lead may be an option.
Do not leave your dog tied up outside of a shop or other public spaces. Do not leave your dog alone in a car either, as not only will they be visible for potential dog theft, but they may well overheat.
Keep regular up-to-date photos of your dog, including their size and any distinguishable features. This can help to track them down in the event they go missing. Keep your dog's important documents, such as their insurance and microchip number, somewhere safe so you can easily access it if needed.
If the Worst Were to Happen
Using the above tips will help to reduce the risk, but you can never fully protect yourself from dog theft. If they do go missing or are stolen the key thing to do is to act quickly. Report the crime immediately to the police and get yourself a crime reference number when doing so. Ensure your dog is reported as stolen as opposed to lost. Notify your microchip provider, and make contact with nearby rescue centres and vets. Post out on social media too, as this is a good way of quickly getting the word out.