7 Tips on How To Prevent Pet Theft (Stop Dognapping!)
In this post, we asked pet parents to suggest ways on how to prevent pet theft, and how they've kept their fur-balls safe from pet burglars, whether at home or when running errands alongside their pets.
Because, let’s face it, you can’t tell when a pet thief will strike, and the best thing is to take caution before it actually happens. We received various tips on how you can keep your dog or cat safe at all times, even if you are away or need to run some quick errands.
We share those tips here.
How to Prevent Pet Theft
1. Never leave your pet unattended
Always treat your pet, as you would your kid.
Would you be comfortable leaving your child at a public park to run a quick errand? The answer is no. What if it is your dog you are leaving behind? For some parents, it is a no, while for others it is debatable.
So as a rule of thumb, never leave your dog or cat unattended in a public space, because you do not know what will happen to them while you are away. It doesn't matter. Even if you are absent for just 10 seconds because a thief will strike, and before you know it, your dog will be nowhere to be seen.
Always use a harness, collar and leash when walking with your pet in public. Also restrain them when going into a coffee shop or grocery store, rather than leaving them at the entrance.
2. Keep pets behind closed doors
Pets are curious by nature. When left at the yard unattended, they can slip through the yard or small spaces into your neighbor's yards, or into the street.
To prevent the dogs from wandering around, most parents use invisible wireless fences to demarcate the area where pets cannot go beyond while playing.
If you are not at home, it is safe to leave your pet behind closed doors. This assures you of their safety if you are not personally available to supervise their behavior.
But, if they must be outdoors when you are away, you can hire a trusted pet sitter to look after your pet while you attend to your other businesses.
3. Have them micro-chipped
Micro-chip your pet to make it easy to locate her if she gets lost.
A pet microchip also called an ID tag, is an implanted form of identification that is the size of a grain. The chip is implanted beneath the pet's skin between the shoulder blades or the neck.
The microchip has a unique identification scanning number (serial number) listed in a national database alongside your contact information.
When a rescue center or a veterinary clinic recovers a lost and micro-chipped pet, the microchip will show the pet's and pet owner's name.
In addition, the chip has the contact info of the pet owner, such as telephone number or email.
So once the rescue team scans the dog that has a microchip, it will bring up your contact information, and you get an alert sent to you with details on where to collect your lost and found pet.
While some pet parents may have reservations on the safety of microchips, microchips are completely safe, and they are used to help you locate your lost pet. Plus, microchips are cheap, and you can get the service done for anywhere between $30 to $50 in most vet clinics.
4. Spay or neuter your dog
Most vets recommend spaying or neutering dogs and cats because of its health benefits. Some of the key benefits include reducing the dog's bad behavior, improving the pet’s mood as well as improving the general wellness of the pet.
For example, spayed/neutered pets are less prone to testicular cancer (for males) or breast cancer (for females).
Studies have shown that uncastrated animals roam more while looking for mating partners, and they may get lost on the way. Spaying/neutering your pet eliminates the need to go out and look for a mating partner, and this reduces the risk of the pet getting lost, or getting into fights with other pets.
Sterilizing your pet also makes them less desirable to pet thieves who may steal pets for breeding purposes. Pure breeds are at a higher risk of dognapping because of their high demand from backstreet breeders. Sterilizing them, therefore, makes them less attracting since they can’t produce off-springs.
5. Conduct background checks on pet sitters and groomers before hiring them
Sometimes, criminals may present themselves as professional pet sitters or groomers in order to get close to your dog. Hiring the wrong person to take care of your dog puts your dog at risk of dognapping or even worse.
When hiring pet sitters, walkers, and groomers, always do a background check to ascertain their credibility.
If you hire them online, always check their ratings and reviews to verify their experience and credibility.
You should ask for references or pet parents they’ve worked with before and call them to see how their experience was and if they can recommend them.
If you are uncertain of getting credible dog sitters online, you can ask your vet to recommend professional pet sitters that they know or that they’ve used before.
Better yet, if you belong to a local community of pet owners, you can request them to give you recommendations of pet professionals they have worked with before.
6. Beware of overly curious strangers
I have frequently encountered complete strangers come to me and ask some really personal information about my dog. While some strangers may mean well, others could be trying to get important information about your dog to determine if it’s a worthy target.
Some of the common questions that potential dog burglars may ask include the worth of your dog, whether it’s a pure breed, its level of intelligence, whether it's neutered/spayed, etc.
Giving too much information about your dog may increase the risk of the dog going missing. Deflect questions from strangers if you suspect they are up to no good.
7. Maintain proof of ownership document
If your dog goes missing and is later recovered, the animal shelter or vet clinic may require you to provide key identification documents that prove that you are the actual owner of the pet.
If you can’t provide any receipts, adoption documents or pictures, you will have a hard time proving that you are the actual owner.
So, always maintain a paper trail of key documents such as pet adoption documents, dog grooming receipts, veterinary clinic bills, recent photos, and other documents that show that you are the real dog owner.
If the pet gets into a dispute case between a couple, the police might forego the ownership tussle. However, if you can provide documents and receipts that show you are the actual owner and primary caregiver, then it's possible to prove that the case is an actual pet theft and not just a dispute.