How To Protect Against Dog Theft


How To Protect Against Dog Theft

As a dog owner myself, I understand the deep bond that exists between you and your canine friend. Dogs provide us with unwavering loyalty, love, and companionship, making them a huge part of our lives. Sadly, dog theft figures are rising, and the thought of losing your furry friend to such a crime can be truly concerning.

The sad truth is that there are people out there who see these wonderful creatures as commodities for their own gain.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through a comprehensive set of strategies and precautions to minimize the risk of dog theft.

So, join me on this journey to ensure that your loyal and loving companion remains by your side, where they belong.

First we need to understand the reasons why dogs are stolen and some of these incentives may surprise you. It isn’t just the high value pedigree dogs that are stolen, and the reasons are deeply disturbing.

prevent dog theft

Why Are Dogs Stolen?

  1. Resale Value: Purebred or desirable dog breeds can have a high resale value. Thieves may steal dogs with the intention of selling them to unsuspecting buyers, often through online platforms.
  2. Dog Fighting: Some stolen dogs are used in illegal dog fighting rings, where they are forced to fight against other dogs.
  3. Breeding: Stolen dogs, particularly purebred or well-bred ones, are sometimes used for breeding purposes. This allows thieves to profit from the sale of puppies.
  4. Ransom: In certain cases, thieves will steal a dog and then demand a ransom from the distraught owners, hoping to exploit their emotional attachment.
  5. Opportunistic Theft: Dogs left unattended in yards, cars, or tied up outside stores can become easy targets for opportunistic thieves, who see a chance to take a dog with minimal effort.
  6. Stolen To Order – Dog thieves carry lists of requested breeds that they know they can sell on very quickly.
  7. To Stock Puppy Farms – An unneutered,  pedigree female dog can make multiple thousands of pounds in a puppy farm.

Before Buying A Dog….Take These Facts Into Consideration:

When dogs are stolen the last thing the dognapper is concerned about is the wellbeing of the dog. These days, with social media, a loving owner will quickly spread the word that their dog is missing, so a stolen dog becomes ‘too hot to handle’

Often someone will spot a dog being advertised online at a cheap price and think they have found a bargain. However, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Dog thieves are clever. They use respectable looking people in well kept homes to sell on their dogs, so appearances don’t count when you are buying a dog.

Consider adopting from reputable animal shelters or rescue organizations, as they carefully vet their animals to ensure they are not stolen.

When purchasing a puppy from a breeder, do thorough research and ask for references to verify their credibility. Always ask to see at least one parent of a puppy.

Request documentation that proves the dog’s legitimacy, such as vaccination records, registration papers, and a bill of sale.

Be cautious when buying dogs from online classified ads or marketplaces, and meet the seller in person in a safe, public location.

Ensure the dog has proper identification, such as a microchip, which can help confirm its ownership status.

By following these precautions and being vigilant, you can play your part in preventing the purchase of stolen dogs and support ethical pet ownership.

prevent dog theft

Here are some tips to help protect your dog from theft:

  1. Microchip Your Dog: Microchipping is an effective way to identify your dog if it gets lost or stolen. Make sure the microchip is registered with your up-to-date contact information.
  2. Use a Collar and ID Tag: Put a collar with an ID tag on your dog at all times. Include your phone number and address. This can help anyone who finds your dog easily return it to you.
  3. Secure Fencing: Ensure your yard or outdoor space is securely fenced to prevent opportunistic theft. Use a lock on your gate if possible.
  4. Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended: Never leave your dog unattended in public areas. If you need to run errands, leave your dog at home.
  5. Never Tie Your Your Dog Up Outside: Tying your dog outside a store  can make it an easy target for thieves.
  6. Vary Your Walk Routine: Don’t follow a predictable walking schedule. Changing your route and routine can make it more challenging for potential thieves to plan a theft.
  7. Be Cautious on Social Media: Be careful about sharing too much information about your dog on social media. Posting pictures with location tags can make your dog an easy target.
  8. Spay or Neuter Your Dog: Neutered or spayed dogs are less attractive to thieves who might intend to use them for breeding.
  9. Beware of Strangers: Be cautious when approached by strangers who seem overly interested in your dog. Don’t divulge personal information or details about your dog’s breed, value, or temperament to people you don’t know.
  10. Secure Your Home: Ensure that your home is secure, with doors and windows locked, to prevent break-ins.
  11. Take Pictures: Keep recent pictures of your dog that clearly show its unique features, such as markings and any distinctive characteristics.
  12. Report Suspicious Activity: If you notice anything suspicious or see someone acting strangely around your dog or in your neighborhood, report it to the local authorities.
  13. Consider a GPS Tracker: Invest in a GPS tracker for your dog’s collar. This can help you locate your pet if it goes missing or is stolen.
  14. Insurance: Consider pet insurance that covers the cost of advertising and rewards in case of pet theft.

Databases For Lost And Found Dogs

Here in the UK there are Dog lost or stolen databases where you can register your dog if it is missing.

You will need to provide a recent photo, distinguishing features, health issues and micro chip details.

This database is run by a dedicated team of volunteers with contacts nationwide, including police liason.


They will provide posters and send out emails and social media posts to  supporters in your area.

Found dogs can also be registered on the database.

For United States and Canada


prevent dog theft

 If your dog is stolen, taking immediate action is crucial. Here’s a list of steps you should consider:

  1. Contact the Police: File a police report as soon as you realize your dog is missing. Be sure to provide them with as many details as possible, including the dog’s description, microchip information, and any identifying features.
  2. Notify Animal Control: Reach out to your local animal control agency or animal shelter to report your dog as missing or stolen. They might have information on found dogs that match your dog’s description.
  3. Use Social Media: Post a clear picture and description of your dog on social media platforms, local lost-and-found pet groups, and websites dedicated to lost pets. Include relevant details such as where and when your dog was last seen.
  4. Alert Local Veterinary Clinics: Contact local vet clinics, animal hospitals, and pet groomers in your area to inform them about your missing dog. Some people may bring a found dog to these places for examination or care.
  5. Utilize Lost Dog Websites: There are websites and apps specifically designed to help locate lost pets.
  6. Flyers and Posters: Create eye-catching flyers and posters with a clear picture of your dog, a brief description, and your contact information. Distribute these in your neighborhood, at local parks, and near where your dog was last seen.
  7. Contact Local Media: Reach out to local newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations to run a story about your missing dog. Media coverage can significantly increase the chances of getting your pet back.
  8. Offer a Reward: Consider offering a reward for your dog’s safe return. This can motivate people to help and share information about your missing pet.
  9. Check Online Marketplaces: Thieves may try to sell stolen dogs online. Regularly search popular online marketplaces and classified ads for your dog.
  10. Monitor Social Media for Leads: Keep an eye on social media and lost-and-found pet groups for any leads or information about your dog’s whereabouts.
  11. Check Shelters and Rescues: Visit local animal shelters and rescue organizations in person to look for your dog. Don’t rely solely on phone calls; a personal visit can be more effective.
  12. Notify Microchip Company: If your dog is microchipped, inform the microchip company that your dog is missing. Ensure that your contact information is up to date with them.
  13. Stay Persistent: Continue your search and outreach efforts consistently. Don’t lose hope, as it may take time to find your dog.
  14. Stay Safe: If you receive a lead on your dog’s location, exercise caution. Meet in a public place and bring a friend or family member with you. Be wary of potential scams.

Remember that the sooner you take action, the better your chances of reuniting with your beloved pet. Keep a positive attitude, and don’t give up the search. Many dogs have been successfully reunited with their owners after being stolen.

dog theft

What Type Of Dogs Are Targeted?

  • Small Breeds – Chihuahuas and Pomeranians are easy to pick up and  hide under a large coat.
  • Popular Breeds -French Bulldogs and Dachshunds are ‘on trend’ and can demand high prices.
  • Sociable Dogs – Friendly dogs like Golden Retrievers and Labradors can be coaxed away easily.
  • Bulldogs – Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be taken to use in dog fighting.
  • Security Dogs – German Shepherds and Rottweilers can be used by dog snatchers to keep outside areas free from trespassing or burglary.

Law Enforcement In UK

  1. Laws and Penalties: In the UK, dog theft is a criminal offense, and penalties can include fines and imprisonment. The maximum penalty for dog theft is seven years in prison. While these laws exist, enforcement can be challenging due to the difficulty of tracing stolen dogs and identifying culprits.
  2. Microchipping: Microchipping is compulsory for dogs in the UK. This helps identify and verify the ownership of stolen dogs when they are found.
  3. Pet ID: Identification, either inscribed on the collar, or engraved on a dog tag, is required by law when a dog is in a public place. A fine of up to £5000 can be issued for non compliance.

Law Enforcement In USA

  1. Legal Variability: Dog theft laws in the USA vary by state, and penalties for thieves can differ significantly. In many states, dog theft is treated as a property crime, leading to relatively mild penalties compared to the emotional toll it takes on pet owners.
  2. Microchipping: Microchipping is widely encouraged in the USA but not federally mandated.
  3. Local Enforcement: Law enforcement agencies handle dog theft cases at the local level, and the response can vary. Some police departments take these cases seriously, while others may not prioritize them due to limited resources.
  4. Advocacy and Legislation: In recent years, there has been increased advocacy for stronger pet theft legislation in the USA, aiming to make penalties more severe for those convicted of dog theft.
  5. Pet ID :In some areas, it is a legal requirement to have a pet ID tag on your animal at all times.

dog theft prevention


Remember, our furry friends rely on us to keep them safe, so let’s be the best pet parents we can be. By following these tips, we can ensure that our canine companions stay right where they belong—by our side, spreading love and joy every day. So, stay vigilant, stay informed, and let’s create a world where dog theft becomes a thing of the past. Your furry family member deserves nothing less!

Additional Reading

How To Safely Stop A Dog Fight

12 Ways To Spot A Puppy Farm








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