You have an intense love for your pooch. February 14 is about all types of love - including for your dog – and while you may be happy that he stole your heart, you don’t want anyone else to steal him! In honor of Pet Theft Awareness Day, we’ve created a list of eight ways to deter thieves and protect the hound you love.
- Keep your dog on a leash. When outside of the home or your physically fenced yard, your unleashed dog could easily stray off to explore, making him easy prey for a perpetrator. Although all dogs are at risk, smaller dogs are generally easier targets because they can be “grab and go” victims. It’s much harder to lure away and conceal a 150-pound hound than it is to do so to a dog that only weights ten pounds.
- Do not leave your dog unattended in public places. “Dog parking” – or tying your dog up outside of a store while you go inside - offers criminals an easy opportunity to untie or cut the leash and abduct your dog in moments. If you cannot bring your dog in the store, just leave him at home that day or run your errands at a different time.
- Use and arm a home security system. Do your research of alarm systems and choose a quality system. Ideally, have video cameras installed so you can see your property. Not only does this work as a deterrent, but it also can provide valuable footage if a theft occurs! Be sure that you are arming your alarm system – even if you’re only leaving for a few minutes.
- Do not leave your dog locked in your car. Robbers can break into your car to steal your pet. If you are leaving the car running to provide air conditioning or heat for your dog, this entices a crook to snatch both your valuable vehicle and your pup – even if you locked the doors! Leave your dog home instead.
- Do not leave your dog unattended in your fenced-in yard. Some dogs are removed from their own backyards! Thus, avoid having a doggie door open and accessible to your pet when you are not home. When you are home, go outside with your dog. Use locks on your fence gates and have video surveillance for the outside of your home, too.
- Do not share personal information with curious strangers. Do not tell admiring strangers your name, where you live, how much you paid for the dog, places you go with your dog, or other information. Providing such information could be giving ammunition to a potential dog-napper.
- Check references for dog and home services. Personally check the references for pet sitters, dog walkers, in-home dog trainers, house cleaners, and contractors before you invite them into your home and agree to use their services.
- Bring a deterrent and stay alert on walks. Considering carrying a blow horn or other hand-held alarm or defensive spray on your walks. Check to ensure the device is legal in your area. Defensive sprays could get in your eyes or your dog’s eyes so you must be very careful if you ever need to utilize those items. Loud noises could also startle your pup, so be prepared to hold tight to your leash if you use a noise alarm! General walking safety tips apply to prevent pet theft - do not tune out your surroundings by wearing headphones, pay attention to your environment, and bring your cell phone in case you need to call for help.
If your beloved dog is stolen, contact the police, contact your microchip recovery service, make and distribute flyers with a recent photo, and request that your local news stations post a web posting with your dog’s picture. In addition, maintaining a paper trail and permanent identification, such as a microchip, will allow you to prove that the dog is yours if he is recovered. To be proactive before a theft occurs, register your dog or enroll your dog as a canine partner with the AKC. Microchip your pet and enroll in a service, such as AKC Reunite. If you have pet insurance through AKC Pet Insurance, you can be reimbursed towards the cost of microchipping with the wellness endorsement!
Now you’re ready to make any needed changes to further safeguard your sweet pup!