What can you do to prevent dog theft?

November 12th, 2021

We all like to believe that everyone loves and cares for our dogs as much as we do, however it’s a sad reality that dog theft cases have risen dramatically in the UK since 2019.

Stats gathered by The Kennel Club have shown that there were over 2,300 reported cases of dog theft in 2020 and this number is still rising in 2021.

Dog theft is a crime under UK legislation as a stolen pet is regarded as stolen property. However, with a staggering 98% of reported cases never resulting in a criminal charge, the best thing you can do is to be vigilant and take preventative measures.


As soon as your dog is old enough, you should get them microchipped. It’s equally important to make sure you keep your contact details up to date. Especially if you’ve recently moved home or changed your phone number.

As well as this, make sure that your dog has a collar and wears this at all times whilst out of the house. It’s good to have your contact details on the collar too.

Current guidance is not to include your dog’s name on their collar, in the hopes of making it harder for thieves to entice your dog over. It’s also a good idea to state that they’ve been neutered (if applicable) in a bid to deter further.

Leaving the house

As much as our dogs enjoy going for walks, it’s during this time where they’re most in danger.

Beware of strangers displaying any suspicious behaviour. This includes anyone asking questions about your dog, wanting to stroke them, vehicles slowing down when around you etc.

Varying your walking routes and times can minimise risk if your dog has been watched previously. And avoiding remote, isolated areas or sticking to busy dog-friendly parks is recommended. Why not try walking in pairs or with more than one person?

A few extra tips include:

  • Don’t leave your dog tied up outside shops
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in a car
  • Only let your dog off their lead if you’re confident they will come back and you’re not in an unfamiliar/larger area

Whilst at home

Remember, when you let your dog out into your gardens they’re still at risk. If your garden is completely secure this acts as a barrier preventing anyone from entering.

Leaving your dog unsupervised whilst outside is also a big risk, try and make sure they’re always in view. It’s also a good idea to take down any signs that indicate you own a dog.

Social media

Social media has become a big part of our everyday lives, but with so many personal details online for the world to see, it is advised to reduce the number of photos you post of your dog and avoid tagging locations.

However, keep plenty of images of your pet on your phone or laptop in the event that you need to prove ownership.

What to do if the worst happens

Report the theft to the police straight away and make note of your crime reference number. You should always stress to the police that your dog has been stolen rather than gone missing. This will ensure the incident is dealt with correctly.

Next, you can notify your microchip database provider. If your dog has been located and/or brought into a vets, the microchip will report them as stolen.

After this, any effort that will raise awareness of the theft is useful, this includes social media posts and shares, contacting animal centres and local vet practices, printing flyers and using missing/stolen animal websites such as Doglost.


Enjoyed reading this? Then check out our previous blog on Separation Anxiety in Dogs.

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