Dog safety is currently a bigger issue than it has ever been before.
The U.K is experiencing a massive boom in the amount of people adopting dogs. The BBC reported in March that 3.2 million dogs had been adopted during Lockdown. This has taken the amount of households with pets in Britain to a staggering 17 million. It makes sense during what has been an isolated time for many. When feeling disconnected from society what could provide more comfort or support than a furry best friend?
However, this has unfortunately led to the rise of dognapping and pet thefts. This has become such a problem that Boris Johnson recently announced the formation of a pet theft task force to tackle the issue.
To combat these crimes, Dog Furiendly have compiled a list of tips to keep your pet happy and safe.
In the U.K, you are legally required to have your dog equipped with a microchip. This has been the case since 2016. The chip contains the details of the owner. It is inserted into the neck of the dog via a small injection. This measure is safe, inexpensive and could prove invaluable if your dog goes missing. It is important to remember to keep your details up to date.
Details On Collar
In addition to the microchip it is a good idea to have your name and address on your dogs collar. This will mean it is easy to contact you if someone finds your lost dog. It is also worthwhile having confirmation on the collar that the dog is microchipped. This may act as a deterrent to thieves who know the dog can be tracked.
The Blue Cross for Dogs charity actually recommends not to have your dog’s name on their tag. This is because it may make it easy for thieves to lure your dog towards them by calling their name.
Social Media Safety
Social media is full of pictures of peoples dogs and with good reason. Few things on the internet register as many likes as a cute puppy. However, while we all want to share the latest funny, adorable thing our pup has done it runs the risk of catching unwanted attention.
Try to refrain from posting pictures or videos of your dog with features that could identify where you live or work. This could make you an easier target for pet thieves.
Never tag a specific location in a picture of your dog when you are still there. Wait until you have returned home. Ultimately, always consider your privacy before posting.
You should be cautious about oversharing images of your dog online. However, it is always a good idea to have recent pictures of them saved in case they do go missing. This means that you should have updated pictures saved anytime something may change about your dogs appearance, for example after a grooming appointment.
Be Safe When Walking With Your Dog
Dog walking is inherently social and a great way to meet fellow animal lovers. However, always be cautious of any passers by who seem interested in your dog to a suspicious extent. This could include asking questions about your dog that seem out of the ordinary.
When possible, try to vary the times you walk your dog and the routes that you take. If thieves know that a dog is in the same place at the same time every day it becomes an easier target.
It may be wise to walk your dog with another person or combine with another dog owner to walk your pets together for safety. While out, remain vigilant. Do not be overly distracted by things around you or your mobile phone, always keep an eye on your dog.
Try to refrain from leaving your dog tied up outside shops or other locations even if only briefly as this makes life far too easy for any would be dog thieves.
Worst Case Scenario
If you find yourself in a position where you believe your dog may have been stolen it is important to act quickly. Contact the police immediately and also report the theft to the microchip database.
Make Lost/Stolen posters with a clear, up to date photograph of your dog. Distribute them in relevant locations like the park, your local vets and amongst friends and family. It would also be worthwhile to make an appeal on social media. Ask people to be vigilant and keep their eye out for your lost pet. Also contact local animal charities and shelters, they will be willing to help.
Above all else, take care of your furry friends and yourself whether you are out in public or at home. For more information and advice about pet safety and preventing dog theft visit Blue Cross Charity for Pets.
Are there any safety measures we missed out?
Let us know your tips for keeping your pooch safe in the comments!