Tragically, sources estimate that as many as two million pets are stolen by animal thieves each year, and sadly, only about 10% of them find their way back to their families. In general, pets are taken for monetary gain or to be used in illegal dog fighting. The thief often takes the animal with the intent of reselling it to a third party, or in some cases, they even may try to return the pet to its owner for a monetary reward.
For many pet parents, our dogs and cats are like family. We do whatever is necessary to keep them healthy, happy, and safe by providing the best veterinary care, the highest quality food, and, of course, lots of love and attention. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to keep your furry family members safe from pet thieves, too. You will need to be aware and diligent.
Here are our top seven tips to help you keep your pet safe.
- Never let your pet roam. Animals, especially dogs, are often taken when their owners let them out without supervision. Criminals are always on the lookout for pets wandering alone. Don’t make it easy for them to grab your pet by allowing him to roam unsupervised.
- Invest in fencing for your yard. Having a sturdy fence around your yard helps to stop thieves in two ways. First, it gives you an enclosed are to let your pet out to go to the bathroom and prevents him from wandering. Second, it provides an obstacle that makes it difficult for thieves to take your pet. Take it a step further by padlocking all of your gates to make it even harder for thieves. A privacy fence is an excellent idea because out of sight means out of mind.
- Always secure your doggy door when you’re away from home. The safest place for your pet when you’re away is inside a locked house. Take your dog out before you leave, put him in the house, and secure all exterior doors for safety.
- Don’t leave your pet in the yard or on the porch when you’re not home. Leaving your pet outdoors provides thieves with an easy opportunity to grab your pet and get away unnoticed.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a public place. It’s quite common to see dogs tied up outside a store while their owner shops. Not only is this practice illegal in many states, but it’s also just asking for trouble. If you need to go somewhere that won’t allow your dog inside, leave him at home.
- Always have current photos of your animal and have them microchipped. If your animal is ever lost or stolen, current photos can help you prove the animal belongs to you. You can also use the photos online or on lost pet posters. A microchip will identify who your pet belongs to, even if his tags have been taken off. Be sure to keep your contact info up to date with the microchip registry, too. Microchipping is your pet’s best chance for finding his way back home.
- Have up to date ID tags and microchip tags on your pets at all times. If your pet is ever lost, ID tags with current information will help him get back home. Although a thief could easily take your pet’s collar off, having a microchip ID tag on the collar lets the thief know that the dog can still be identified without his collar and tags. Seeing that microchip tag just might be all the required to deter a criminal from taking your pet.
If your pet is ever stolen or lost, get the word out to as many people as you can right away. Contact all the veterinarians and shelters in your area, put up lost pet posters, and post his picture online in lost pet groups and social media.