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Some tips from the Blue Cross on keeping your dog safe.


  • Think twice before leaving your dog tied up outside a shop. You will make them a vulnerable and tempting target for opportunist thieves.


  • Don’t leave your dog alone in the car, even for a few minutes. Thieves can easily break into your car to steal your precious pet.


  • Make sure your dog is microchipped and that you keep your contact details up-to-date, especially if you move house or change your telephone number.


  • Your dog should always wear a collar and ID tag with your name and address on it. This is a legal requirement when your dog is in a public place. Avoid putting your dog’s name on the disc.


  • Take clear photographs of your dog from various angles, and update them regularly. Make a note of any distinguishing features.


  • Have lots of photographs of yourself with your dog, to help you to prove ownership if needed. Train your dog to come back when called, and never let him off the lead if you are not sure he will come back to you. If in doubt, use an extending lead, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area where your dog may get lost more easily.


  • Take care when choosing someone to care for your dog if you are going away from home or need a dog walker whilst you go to work. Use a reputable company or boarding kennels andcheck references for people who provide dog or house-sitting services.


  • Beware of strangers asking you questions about your dog.


  • Vary your times of walks and routes; some dogs are actually targeted and snatched during walks.


  • At home, make sure your garden is secure and fit a bell to the gate so you hear if anyone opens it.


  • Keep your dog in view in the garden, don’t just leave him outside unsupervised.


  • If you breed puppies for sale, take great care when inviting people in to view; ideally have someone else present and limit the numbers of people you allow in at a time. Show the puppiesin one secure area.


  • Decide who owns the dog in your household. Discuss who would own the dog in the event of bereavement or break up and draw up documentation to this effect. This may seem unnecessary, but pets can become the centre of ownership disputes in these circumstances.


  • If your dog is lost or suspected stolen, it is important to act quickly.


  • Report the loss to your local council’s Dog Warden and those in all other neighbouring local authorities.


  • Visit places where dog walkers go such as local parks and public places and talk to people, asking them to keep an eye open for your dog.


  • If you believe your pet has been stolen, report it to the police and insist it is recorded as a theft and not a lost animal.


  • Report the loss/theft to the microchip database, this will ensure that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number, you will be informed.


  • Make posters and display them in areas local to your home and also in relevant places such as vets, local parks etc. The poster should include a clear photograph and details of the circumstances.


  • Make sure local vets are aware in case someone takes your dog in for treatment.


  • Report the loss on as many as possible of the missing animals websites – there is no single national missing animals database, so you will have to place the same information on all of them to ensure a widespread appeal.


  • Contact local animal shelters and rescue charities and send themposters to display.


Some general tips on pet theft from


DON’T leave companion animals unattended in your yard. It only takes a minute for someone to steal your pet. 


DON’T allow your pet to be visible from the street. 

DON’T leave your dog tied up outside restaurants or stores. 


DON’T leave any animal unattended in your car, even if it is “just for a minute.” 

DON’T use “free to good home” ads to place companion animals. These ads are often answered by Class “B” dealers. Contact a rescue group for assistance in conducting your own adoption.


DO spay and neuter your companion animals. This reduces your animal’s desire to stray and reduces the risk of your companion animal being stolen for breeding purposes. 

DO provide your companion animals with collars, ID tags, and licenses. Speak with your veterinarian about backup forms of identifications, including tattooing and microchipping. 

DO keep recent photos and written descriptions of your companion animals on hand at all times. 

DO keep dogs and cats indoors, especially when you’re not home. 

DO know where your animals are at all times. Treat your companion animals as you would a small child. 

DO educate family, friends, and neighbors about pet theft

Properly Identifying Your Pet

A good dog collar with an ID tag is the first line of defense against pet theft; however, a collar can break or be pulled off. In addition to a collar, dogs should have permanent identification. Microchipping and/or tattooing your pet are excellent ways to ensure their safety. Additionally, if your pet ends up at a research or medical facility, the researchers are required by law to look for any tattoos, and, if one is found, they must trace the pet back to the owner.



A microchip is a permanent radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip implanted under the animal’s skin and read by a chip scanner or wand. Implantation is done with an injector that places the chip under the loose skin over the animal’s shoulder.
The advantages are obvious -- the process is quick and no more painful than a vaccination, the number is unique and the owners name and address are available on regional or national data bases so a dog can be returned quickly and safely.

The chip identification number is stored in a tiny transponder that can be read through the animal's skin by a scanner emitting low-frequency radio waves. The frequency is picked up by a tiny antenna in the transponder, and the number is retrieved, decoded and displayed in the scanner readout window. 

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