There is no question that dogs are no longer “just an animal” to most families. These furry family members have moved from the backyard into our homes and our beds. Unfortunately, this incredible bond is at risk from people who see an opportunity to make a quick buck by stealing and reselling your family pet or who just seek to avoid purchasing their own pet and see theft as a viable alternative.
Animals can be taken from just about anywhere, such the front or back yard, automobiles, or off the street if the owner allows the dog out of their sight. So how can you protect your family and your family pets from this potential heartbreak?
Consider these suggestions:
1. Be careful using doggie doors
It is obviously an incredible convenience to be able to stay in bed or work late and let Fido take a potty break by himself if needed, but an unsupervised dog makes an easy target.
2. Lock your gate
Even if you are home, and your pet is in your backyard while you are watching from the house, it only takes a minute for someone to go through the gate and grab your dog before you have a chance to react.
3. Don’t let your dog off leash
Just like a stranger may be able to lure away a child with a promise of ice cream or another treat, a dog thief may be able to offer your dog something so attractive that even a well-trained pup won’t come when called.
4. Do background checks on pet sitters
Ask to talk to their veterinarian and their references to make sure that there are no red flags.
5. Be careful with social media
Avoid posting pictures of high-value breeds on social media in such a way that your address could be determined – thieves are internet savvy, and you may be advertising their next mark.
6. Don’t give out personal details at the dog park
You may think that giving out your address to a stranger to set up a puppy play date is harmless, but unfortunately, it is not always the case.
7. Get your pet microchipped and keep your contact information up to date
If your pet is lost or stolen, work with the national microchip company to contact all vet clinics in your area to ask that they scan all pets meeting your missing family member’s description.
8. Have your veterinarian keep detailed records of any identifying characteristics
In the unlikely event that a thief has a microchip removed, this additional step could help to prove ownership.
It’s true that good friends are hard to find; don’t lose yours to a dog thief. With a bit of forethought and persistence, you and your furry companion can enjoy a long and happy relationship together.