We understand it’s an upsetting topic, and the idea of your dog being taken away from you doesn’t even bear thinking about. But here at YuMOVE, we believe that knowledge is power when it comes to our pets, and we want to make sure you’re in the best position possible to keep yours safe and sound. Here’s how…
1. Be clear on the necessary security steps
Getting a new dog microchipped is crucial. In fact, it’s now a legal requirement to have your pup sorted by the eight-week mark. You should also invest in a good quality collar and tag, and replace these as and when you need to, keeping your engraved contact details and address up to date. Oh, and a word of warning – never include the name of your dog.
Another useful tip? Take regular photos of your dog at all angles. And we’re not just talking snaps of him or her, but of the two of you together. That way, if you ever needed to prove your ownership you could do so quickly.
2. Don’t leave your dog alone
This sounds like an obvious one, but it’s among the most common in real-life theft scenarios. While it can be so tempting to nip into the shops for a pint of milk and leave your pooch outside, or to enjoy a quick doorstep chat while your pooch waits in the car – please, don’t. Dog thieves are often opportunists and will seize the chance to pounce if your pup is left alone. It only takes seconds, so don’t take the chance.
3. Protect your dog at home
If you’re leaving your pooch home alone during the day, it’s a good idea to stick the TV or radio on to make it seem like someone’s in. It’ll also provide your canine with a bit of comfort and company while you’re out! Similarly, set a timer on your light switches so they come on automatically when it gets dark. Garden fences must be secure and intact, and we’d suggest attaching a bell to each gate. Lastly, we’d strongly recommend investing in a doorbell with a security cam for added protection.
4. Stay alert when you’re out walking
Being vigilant on walkies is key, as many criminals target dogs when they see them out and about. You should switch up your routine as much as possible, so you’re not walking in the same places at the same time each day. Also, make sure you’re not always walking your dog alone, and never walk solo with your pooch after dark. Lastly, as unpleasant as it sounds, be wary of strangers approaching you and asking lots of questions about your dog. While it’s more than likely friendly and innocent, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. Be cautious about visitors
If you’re a dog breeder, it goes without saying that you need to be extra careful when it comes to opening your home to would-be owners (naturally, when COVID allows). You should keep puppies in one secure area of the house, limit the number of visitors and, always, always have at least one other person present in the household. The same type of assertiveness applies to leaving your beloved pooch with a ‘dog professional.’ Whether it’s a dog sitter, walker or kennel facility, ask for references, read reviews and, where possible, go with recommendations from those you trust.
And if the worst happens?
The best thing you can do in a situation like this is try to remain calm, and act quickly. Here’s what to do:
- Call the Police to report what’s happened and ask for a Crime Reference Number
- Report your dog as missing on the relevant microchip database
- Inform any local animal wardens, shelters, rescue centres and vet practices (in case the thief has a change of heart)
- Post on your social media channels, encourage friends and family to do the same, and make all posts shareable to maximise your audience reach
- Make up posters and leaflets to spread the news
Some words of comfort? In an age where information spreads like wildfire, stories of stolen dogs being returned home are becoming more commonplace. That said, the number of thefts are rising, and we need to work together to keep our four-legged friends safe. Stick to the guidance above, and the chances of the worst happening to you and your family are significantly reduced.
For more information about keeping your dog safe, happy and healthy, get in touch with our Customer Services team. They’re available Monday to Saturday, and you can drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give them a call on 01462 416866.