How to stop dognappers from pinching your pooch – plus which dog breed is most at risk

How to stop dognappers from pinching your pooch – plus which dog breed is most at risk

Kay Burley says dog theft ‘makes my blood boil’

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Dog theft has sadly reached a seven-year high. Experts at PuppyHero.com have collated their top tips for dog owners so that they can protect their dogs from thieves.

How to protect your pooch on a walk

Puppyhero.com recommended practising recall or using an extended lead, as it’s vital for dogs to be able to respond in case of an emergency.

When out walking, dog owners should avoid routine, as this makes it harder for dog kidnapping gangs to track them.

Walking with a friend creates safety in numbers, providing an extra witness and backup should they come across a dognapper.

Next, they should avoid giving out their dog’s name, as it can make it easier for dognappers to lure them over.

Being aware of the surroundings is also crucial, so pet parents must stay alert and undistracted by putting their phones away on walks.

Be seen and heard as the owner – and act accordingly.

Fundamentally, dog owners make others aware that their furry friend is in safe, capable hands, to deter any dognappers.

Lastly, puppy parents should follow their instincts and remove themselves from situations that feel suspicious.

Keeping your dog safe while out and about

While it may be tempting to show off a pretty puppy walk, avoid location tags on social media.

Dog owners must be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity they see – to help other dog owners too.

In a similar vein, dog owners should be careful of strangers asking them a lot of questions about their pooch – on and offline.

Strangers being put in charge of a dog should also be extensively checked; whether they’re a groomer, dog walker or kennel owner, they need to be a safe presence for a pup.

Saying this, it is best to refuse help from strangers unless necessary.

The next tip was to invest in a GPS tracking collar, allowing owners to know their dog’s location at all times.

Puppyhero.com also recommended that owners note emergency SOS shortcuts on their phone if they feel threatened or unsafe.

Carrying an alarm device is also an inexpensive way to ensure safety, as these can help to scare attackers and attract attention.

Car windows should be tinted so that dognappers cannot spot pets easily.

Better yet, find local dog friendly stores, as this will ensure they need not be left outside or in the car.

Out and about, keep dogs on the side of buildings, walking them away from the curb.

Dognappers are more likely to target children, so an adult should always be present and in control.

Preventing dog theft from your home

Consider dog cameras, CCTV, and video doorbells.

Be vigilant when dogs are playing in the garden, and secure gardens with tall fences.

Dog owners should lock and alarm gates to prevent intruders, and regularly test their home alarm to ensure it is in working order.

Outdoor kennels should also be alarmed and locked.

Leaving a light on if the dog is home alone can also deter intruders, as it will look like someone is in.

Alongside this, turning an outside light on for late night toilet trips means they can see their dog at all times.

Dog owners can also gravel their path or driveway, making it harder for intruders to approach discreetly.

Lock your dog flap when not in use and don’t leave the window open in the room your dog is in.

As tempting as it may be, avoid showcasing new puppies online, as these are particularly appealing to dog thieves.

Theft prevention by type of dog/breed

Chip your puppies: puppies that are not chipped are more valuable as they have no ID.

Be extra vigilant with pedigree dogs, as they are the most valuable and therefore premium targets.

Neutered dogs will deter thieves, as some dognappers look to breed stolen pooches.

When selling puppies, have someone else present: limiting the number of people and showing them in only one, secure area can protect your dogs from theft.

Proving ownership

Dog owners must have documentation of ownership to make sure there is no dispute should their dog be lost or stolen.

They must Keep ID collar tags up to date, making sure their mobile phone number and other contact details are on the tag.

Having dogs microchipped is also a key step that is required by law in the UK before the dog is eight weeks old.

While they should avoid posting them on social media, dog owners should be taking photos of their dog from various angles, as well as photos of themselves with their dog before and after grooming.

An extra careful move pet parents can try is collecting their DNA to match later on if needed. There are services that can help with this.

Financial tips

Ensure that pet insurance covers theft so if the worst comes to worst, you’ll be financially compensated.

But, dog owners should be careful with rewards; if offering a reward for a lost dog, they should ensure that the dog has been found before giving over any money.

Finally, documents should be kept safe and easily accessed in an emergency.

Dog breeds that are most likely to be stolen and their average price tag

1 French Bulldog – £1,707.71

2 Bulldog – £2,221.08

3 Yorkshire Terrier – £1,156.85

4 Chihuahua – 1,009.53

5 German Shepherd Dog – £1,055.26

6 Maltese – £1,050.78

7 Shih Tzu – £1,000.92

8 Labrador Retriever – £1,271.20

9 Poodle – £889.12

10 Siberian Husky – £856.80

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