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Why Dog Theft Is On The Rise – And How You Can Keep Your Pet Safe.

In our daily lives, we take precautions to safeguard our most valuable possessions and protect them from being stolen. We lock our car doors, equip our homes with alarms, and create passwords to shield our personal information, yet few pet owners realise that protecting our dogs from potential theft is just as important.

Dog walker

Dognapping isn’t something any owner wants to think about, but it’s important to be aware and prepared. Statistics put the number of dogs stolen each year at around 2 million. In just a matter of seconds, you can become the victim of a criminal who sees your dog as a quick and easy way to make a buck.

What Is Dog Flipping?

Dog flipping occurs when someone takes dogs away from their owners’ homes or offices, claims to be a lost dog’s owner, or gets a dog from a shelter with the intention of reselling the pup for a quick profit. It’s a terrible experience for a dog that’s been separated from his home and the owners who are heartbroken over the loss of their beloved pet.

Most at Risk

The type of dogs stolen reflects those that are of the highest value for resale and breeding. Pedigree dog breeds can be worth hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds. Desirable breeds, such as French bulldogs and Chihuahuas, and those with unusual colours are particularly vulnerable.

Working gun-dogs, such as Labrador retrievers and springer and cocker spaniels are also highly-prized breeding dogs – but some are also stolen to become bait dogs for illegal dogfighting. Thefts are often opportunistic, and dogs left unattended outside shops, or in cars and gardens are most likely to be taken. But there is also a worrying rise in the number of dogs being grabbed from unsuspecting owners while out for a walk or stolen during house and kennel break-ins.

In fact, it now appears that half of the stolen dogs are taken from inside the home. More recently, dog walkers’ vans have become targeted for the highly-prized breeds inside. The organised and nature of such thefts reveals it is becoming big business.

A lot of dogs love being outside, but if your backyard is accessible or visible to strangers, you should keep a close eye on your pup. Dognappers will use whatever tricks they can to lure your precious pet away from your home.

Even when you and your dog are out for a walk, there is still a potential for danger. Some dogs are extremely well behaved off leash, but that doesn’t mean they should have free rein of the neighbourhood. Think of the leash as a safety net that keeps your dog close by your side. Without it, there’s no guarantee he won’t be led astray from you.


Ways to Safeguard Your Dog

The danger to your dog is real, but there are ways to stay a step ahead of would-be thieves. First and foremost, make sure your dog is microchipped and that the contact information on file is up to date.

A standard veterinary procedure would be to check for a microchip in a newly adopted pet and then discuss with the new owner how to transfer that chip to them. This process has led to the recovery of stolen dogs.

Installing an alarm system is also an effective way to stop theives from getting into your home. When you install an alarm system, make sure you place stickers visibly around your property advertising your security company so thieves are aware of this. If you can’t afford to install an alarm system, just having the signage saying you do can be enough to keep criminals away from your home and keep your pets and family safe.

Locking your doors and gate for many this sounds like common sense, but some people often leave back doors and windows open or unlocked when they’re away from home. As there is a fence surrounding the property, some may believe it’s safe enough to keep this door unlocked. This isn’t true! If someone wants to get into your home, they will climb over fences to make it happen. Locking your gate is important to prevent pet theft – the more difficult you make it for thieves to take your furry friends, the better. Always ensure you lock your doors, windows and gate when you’re away from home.

Another important safety tip is to stay tight-lipped about where you live, places you frequent with your pup, or even how much you paid for him. Remember, thieves look for high-value dogs.

If your dog is stolen, immediately report the theft to police, call your microchip company and any lost-dog or stolen-dog databases that you know of in your area, including local shelters. You should also distribute fliers and get the word out on social media.

Knowing the different scenarios in which thieves can prey upon your dog will allow you to safeguard your best friend from potential danger.


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