How To Keep Your Dog Safe From Pet Theft

The risk of pet theft is an unfortunate issue that pet owners across the globe have to face. With convictions of pet thieves at an all-time low, the number of dog thefts has risen to a record high. However, like with many other crimes, the more you know about the why and how the better your chances of preventing it. 

That is why Oakpark, a home security specialist, has put together this article on dog theft to coincide with Pet Theft Awareness Day, on the 14th of February, which is all about raising awareness of the risk of dog theft. 

How Are Dogs Being Stolen?

Many dog thieves are opportunistic and will seize chances that present themselves, rather than targeting your dog. There are exceptions to this, some “designer breeds” are specifically sought after and thefts are more planned. 

Once stolen, a dog can be moved many miles away in a short time so prevention is very important. These are some of the common ways dog thieves can make off with your pet when you aren’t watching:

Dogs Left Tied Up Alone Outside Shops

This one is pretty obvious, but a surprising number of dogs are still left tied up outside shops where they can be easily stolen. You wouldn’t leave your phone or wallet unattended outside a shop and your dog is much more precious. 

From Your Garden

Many dog owners would assume their own garden is completely safe and would happily leave their dogs unattended. However, the Pet Census revealed that 52% of stolen dogs are taken from gardens. 

During Walks

Letting your dog off the lead to run around is a common part of dog walks and we aren’t suggesting you shouldn’t do it. But do your best to keep your dog in sight and ensure they respond to your calls otherwise opportunistic thieves could take advantage of the confusion.

From Your Car

Leaving your dog alone in your car presents a number of health problems that could end in death so it is something you should avoid. Also, thieves won’t hesitate to smash your car window to steal your dog. 

The common trend here is very much anytime your dog is out of sight or unattended in a public place. Of course, we aren’t suggesting you constantly watch your dog but just try to avoid leaving them in a vulnerable position that opportunistic thieves will exploit.

Dog left alone tethered to a pole

Why Are Dogs Being Stolen?

The main motivator behind dog theft is monetary gain. Dog thieves will attempt to make money from your stolen pet in a number of different ways, including:

The more prestigious and sought-after dog breeds are most at risk of being stolen for breeding purposes. Thieves will use your stolen dog in puppy farms to breed and sell puppies. The animals are kept in crowded conditions.


The more prestigious and sought-after dog breeds are most at risk of being stolen for breeding purposes. Thieves will use your stolen dog in puppy farms to breed and sell puppies. The animals are kept in crowded conditions. 


Some buyers aren’t very discerning when it comes to buying their new pet and dog thieves exploit this to quickly sell stolen dogs for a profit. Always buy pets responsibly or, better yet, re-home a rescue animal.

Rewards & Ransom

Some dog thieves will wait for the distraught owner to offer a reward for the return of their dog and then pretend to have found it and claim the reward. Or, some thieves might even contact the owner to demand a ransom.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Being Stolen

Now that you know how and why dog thieves are operating, here are some ways you can help to prevent your dog from being stolen:

Don't Leave Your Dog Unattended

As we mentioned above most opportunistic thieves strike when your dog is left unattended. The easiest way to prevent this is to not leave your dog alone in public places. 

Microchip Your Dog

It is a legal requirement in the UK for all dogs over 8 weeks old to be microchipped. This helps authorities return your dog if it is found. Just be sure you keep your contact details up to date.

Put Your Details On The Collar

Another legal requirement in the UK is dogs need to wear a collar in public places. It is a good idea to include your contact details, that your dog is microchipped and if it is neutered or spayed to help dissuade thieves.

Be Careful On Walks

During walks keep an eye on your dog and be wary of strangers who take an extreme interest in you and your dog. It is also a good idea to vary your walking patterns so you can’t be targeted. 

Spay Or Neuter Your Dog

As we previously mentioned, some thieves want to breed from stolen dogs. Getting your dog spayed or neutered, and including this information on the collar, helps to put thieves off. 

A poster for lost dog

What To Do If Your Dog Is Lost Or Stolen

If your dog is stolen or lost it is vital that you act quickly. These are some steps to follow to help find your dog:

Retrace Your Steps & Search For Your Dog

If your dog went missing during a walk then it is a good idea to retrace your steps to see if you can find any clues to where they went or what happened. It is also a good idea to search typical hiding spots around your area.

Put Up Posters & Use Social Media

Putting up posters in your local area is a great way to raise awareness of your missing pet. Social media is also a great tool for getting the word out and increasing the chance of a stranger spotting your dog and contacting you.

Contact Local Vets & Shelters

If your dog is lost or stolen be sure to contact all of the local vets and rescue shelters in case someone finds and takes your dog there. You can also alert vets to be aware if someone tries to take your dog in for medical care. 

Report It To The Police

If you suspect your dog was stolen then you should report it to the police. Dog theft is a crime and the police will help. Be sure to give them as much information as possible, such as any details about the theft and a physical description of the dog.

Register Your Pet As Missing 

If your dog is lost or missing you can register it with your microchip database as well as dedicated websites, such as Animal Search UK. This makes it easier for your dog to be returned to you if it is found and the microchip database can alert you if someone tries to re-register the chip number. 

These are just a few ways you can raise awareness of your lost or stolen dog. The key is to act quickly and make your dog “too hot to handle” to speed up its return. 

About the Author: Dan Baker is a Content Writer that works with Oakpark Group, a company that specializes in supplying home security and fire safety solutions across the UK.

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