Dog theft has been a growing concern in the United Kingdom over the last few years, with reports of stolen dogs on the rise. In response to this issue, UK Dog Theft Awareness Day was established on 14th March six years ago to raise awareness about the problem and provide guidance to dog owners on how they can protect their beloved pets.
We’ve put together an article on the dangers of pet theft and useful advice on how to protect your precious pooch.
One of the most important things that dog owners can do to protect their pets is to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, especially in public places like parks and on walking routes, don’t wear headphones or talk on your phone as this diverts your attention. It's also important to keep dogs on a lead, or within your sight when out in public, as this makes them less vulnerable to being taken.
Vary your routine, walk at different times of the day and explore different routes, maybe walk with other dog walkers if you can.
Don’t leave your dog unattended
Another way to protect dogs from theft is to make sure that they are not left alone in your garden, in vehicles or tied up outside shops, a shocking 52% of dogs are stolen from gardens, 7% while tied up outside shops and 5% from cars. Dogs left alone can be easy targets for thieves, and this is particularly true for certain breeds that are in high demand.
Speaking of breeds, it's worth noting that some breeds are more likely to be targeted by thieves than others. Popular breeds like French Bulldogs, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Chihuahuas are among the most commonly stolen dogs in the UK due to their high demand and high resale value.
Make your home secure
19% of dogs are stolen during house burglaries. So make sure doors and gates are secure, make use of motion sensitive lighting and think about CCTV or other security camera technology.
There are several tools and devices that dog owners can use to help protect their pets. For example, GPS tracking collars can be used to monitor a dog's location in real-time, which can be particularly useful if a pet is stolen.
Similarly, microchipping is a great way to ensure that a lost or stolen dog can be identified and returned to their owner.
Microchipping is a simple and effective way to help protect your dog against theft, as well as increase the chances of being reunited with your pet if they become lost or stolen.
A microchip is a tiny device, about the size of a grain of rice, that is implanted under the skin of your dog, usually between the shoulder blades. The chip contains a unique identification number that can be read using a special scanner, and this number is linked to your contact information in a national database.
In the UK, microchipping is a legal requirement for all dogs over the age of eight weeks. This means that if you own a dog, you are responsible for ensuring that they are microchipped and that your contact information is up-to-date in the national database.
To have your dog microchipped, you can make an appointment with your veterinarian or a trained microchipping professional. The process is quick and relatively painless, and your dog will likely only feel a momentary pinch as the chip is inserted.
Once your dog is microchipped, it's important to ensure that your contact information is registered and up-to-date in the national database. This can be done online or over the phone, and it's important to keep your information current if you move or change phone numbers.
In addition to helping with theft prevention, microchipping can also provide peace of mind for pet owners. If your dog becomes lost or stolen, a microchip can greatly increase the chances of being reunited with your pet.
This is because many animal shelters, vets, and rescue organisations scan all new animals for microchips, and if a chip is detected, they can quickly contact the owner using the information in the database.
There are several organisations in the UK that can provide advice and resources to help pet owners protect their dogs from theft and provide guidance on responsible dog ownership. To help you along, here are a few examples:
- The Kennel Club: The Kennel Club is a UK-based organisation that promotes responsible dog ownership and provides resources and guidance on a wide range of dog-related issues, including theft prevention. Their website features a wealth of information on dog theft awareness, including tips for keeping your dog safe, information on microchipping, and details on how to report a stolen dog.
- Dogs Trust: Dogs Trust is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK, and they provide a range of resources and services to support responsible dog ownership. Their website features information on dog theft prevention, including tips on keeping your dog safe and what to do if your dog is stolen. They also offer free dog microchipping at their rehoming centres and community events.
- Blue Cross: Blue Cross is a UK-based animal charity that provides support to pet owners and promotes responsible pet ownership. Their website features a range of resources on dog care and welfare, including information on dog theft prevention and advice on what to do if your dog is stolen.
- Pet Theft Awareness: Pet Theft Awareness is a UK-based organisation that aims to raise awareness about the issue of pet theft and provide support to pet owners affected by this crime. Their website features information on dog theft prevention, including advice on what to do if your dog is stolen and details on how to report the theft to the police.
These are just a few examples of organisations that can provide advice and support on dog ownership and theft prevention in the UK.