Many people have welcomed new four-legged friends into their homes over the last couple of years but this has also led to an increase in dogs being stolen.
Data collected by Direct Line Pet Insurance found that around 2,760 dogs were stolen last year – 321 more than in 2020, a 16 per cent rise since 2015, and the equivalent of nearly eight dogs every day.
The most targeted breeds are French Bulldogs, Jack Russell Terriers, Chihuahuas and Pugs, with dognappers most commonly taking pups from gardens, parks and cars.
Due to this threat to our furry friends, experts at PuppyHero.com have collated a list of the top tips to prevent dog theft.
Here’s what you can do when you’re out walking to protect your precious pup.
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1. Training is key
Practice recall and/or use an extended lead. In case there is an emergency or threat to your dog, it’s vital to ensure they’ll respond to your calls. Try using tasty treats for your dog as this will greatly assist in recall. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
2. Mix up your walks
Avoid routine and the same time and places of walks - this makes it harder for dog kidnapping gangs to track you and work out when to intercept and steal your dog. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
3. Safety in numbers
Walk with a friend. Where possible, opt for safety in numbers, a friend will provide an extra witness and backup should you encounter a dognapper. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
4. Keep their name to yourself where possible
Do not give out your dog's name - putting your dog’s name on their collar, harness or ID may make it easier for strangers to lure them over. Photo: Canva/Getty Images