Dog theft isn't the most desirable topic for a pet parent. However, it's something to be aware of in order to properly prevent it. While dog theft is one of the sad truths to pet ownership, rest assured there are many steps pet parents can take to prevent their dog from falling victim.
Dog theft prevention in public places
We love to take our dogs with us everywhere we go. However, it's not always a great idea to bring them on errands when we know they won't be allowed inside. Sure, it seems harmless enough to leave your well-behaved dog tied to a pole outside the store you're popping into for a quick second. Though leaving your dog tied anywhere unattended leaves them vulnerable — particularly to dog thieves.
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Your dog may be well-behaved. But, unfortunately, it's not their behavior you need to worry about. When it comes to choosing whether to bring them along on errands, it's just not worth the risk. Around 2,000,000 pets are stolen every year. It's a surprising statistic until you find out that pet theft can, unfortunately, be very lucrative.
Watch closely, even in dog-safe spaces
Dog parks are another place for pet thieves to pick up dogs that aren't being closely attended to. It's a good idea to pay attention while at a dog park for a number of safety reasons. But just as easily as your dog can get into a tussle while you're scrolling on your phone — they can also be snatched up by a bad guy. So, be aware and engaged with them. After all, isn't it more fun to be in the moment with your dog than scrolling the accounts of other dogs on Instagram?
Keep your dog safe with a microchip
If your dog doesn't have one yet, a microchip is a must. In the event that your dog is lost or stolen, the veterinarian can check to see if the dog has been microchipped. If your info comes up during the check, you'll be contacted.
But having your dog microchipped isn't enough. You need to follow up and make sure the information in the database is up to date. If you've moved, transferred ownership, or changed your phone number, it has to be changed on the microchip website. A good habit is to check in once a year by going to your pet's microchip host website and make sure the right information pops up.
When you get a microchip, you'll also likely get an ID tag with the chip number on it. Do not leave the chip tag on! Whoever has the ID number is able to log in to the microchip database and change any information they like. So as long as only you have the chip number, only you can make those changes. Leave the tag in a file with your vaccine records or somewhere safe where you can find it easily. If you have multiple dogs write which one the information is for.
Only use trusted dog walkers and sitters
We all need a dog sitter or walker from time to time and finding the right one can be a challenge. There are a number of dog walking apps popping up. Most of them require strict background checks and are relatively safe. But the best method is usually to go with a company or person that's been recommended by someone you trust. While it's lovely to support a small business, it might be best not to go with just anyone who posts a flier in your neighborhood.
Always be aware of your surroundings while out with your dog
There are a few safety concerns when on dog walks and thefts can actually happen during this seemingly innocuous time. Just like at dog parks, (rather than scrolling your phone or otherwise spacing out) always be aware of your surroundings when out for a walk. This can help prevent you from having a lost dog.
Do your research to prevent a pet theft
A great way to avoid supporting dog theft financially is to adopt from a shelter or rescue. If you're going another route and are worried about accidentally buying a stolen dog from dognappers, be very cautious. Research heavily when buying through sites or even breeders. Find out as much as you can about a dog's history and the person you're buying from to make sure you're not supporting this terrible trend.
Try to chill and make sure you and your dog still have fun
There are so many things to worry about when it comes to your best friend. But, it's important to not let it get you paranoid. Owning a dog is supposed to be fun, provide companionship, and even offer a whole host of health benefits. Though you can't reap these benefits if you're constantly terrified. Caution is one thing, but over-the-top paranoia isn't healthy for you or your dog. So be safe, and make sure you and your dog are still having fun.
Dog theft is important to be aware of in order to prevent a missing pet. Keep your dog safe by being aware of your surroundings while at a dog park or on walks. Only use trusted dog walkers and sitters. Have the veterinarian microchip your pet and always keep their information up to date. Do your research when buying through sites or through a dog breeder. Be cautious, but make sure you and your dog are still having fun.