How to reduce your chances of dog theft

by Amy Cooper
Jack Russel terrier

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic dog theft has increased by an estimated 250%! This drastic increase in dog theft is most likely caused by the increased demand for dogs. So, I want to tell you the top 10 tips of keeping you and your dog safe at all times.

Top 10 tips:

1. Ensure your garden is secure

The most common situation dogs are stolen in are (Skinner’s Pet Food): 

  • 23% of dogs were stolen from gardens
  • 11% stolen from homes
  • 11% stolen whilst out walking

Based on these stats it’s obvious why you need to ensure your garden is a safe and secure space. This is especially important if your dog has constant access to the garden so can’t always be supervised. To make your garden is secure any gates should always be locked and wherever possible have at least 6ft fences.

2. Change your walking routine

Avoiding a regular time or route when walking your dog prevents thieves knowing where you will be at certain times. This makes it much harder for them to target and plan the theft of your dog.

3. Use a locking carabiner

Locking carabiner
Photo taken by – Amy Cooper

These can be purchased very easily online to attach any lead to any collar/harness as you can see in the photo above. This makes it much harder to unclip your dog’s lead which gives you more time to notice something is happening. 

4. Use a lead that can’t be cut or taken from you

This lead could be a chain, thick rope or leather. It essentially needs to be difficult to cut through with scissors. This is because thieves are not only unclipping dogs from their leads but also simply cutting the lead to take the dog. For extra security you could also use an over the shoulder or around the waist lead. Which will give you more control if someone tries to pull the lead from you.

5. Have a strong recall

This is a very important piece of basic obedience for your dog’s safety anyway. But is even more important with the increased dog theft. So you can recall your dog even if another person is calling or bribing it. This is especially important if you have a dog that loves all people!

6. Never leave your dog unattended in a public place

This includes tied outside shops and inside locked cars! Anywhere that you are not with your dog is an easy target for thieves. Don’t give them that opportunity! Keep your dog with you if possible or leave them in a secure place out of view.

7. Be extra vigilant

This is very self-explanatory just always stay aware of your surroundings. This could give you the vital few seconds warning to get you and your dog out of danger.

8. If possible, walk with a friend

We all know the saying ‘safety in numbers’! Well this has never been more true. Thieves are much less likely to target a couple of people with a dog than an individual. But, obviously this isn’t always possible at the moment so make sure you adhere to the current lockdown restrictions.

9. Be aware of what you post on social media

Don’t post anything that could give away your dogs location. Giving away your dog’s location just makes it easier for thieves to target them! Always be cautious about what you do or don’t post on social media. 

10. Make sure your dog is microchipped

Although this won’t prevent your dog being stolen, since microchips aren’t visible, it will make it easier to identify and return your dog if it’s stolen. On that note make sure that you always keep the information on your dog’s microchip up to date!

Finally stay vigilant, take precautions and make sure you report any suspicious activity to the police! 

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