An estimated 2 million pets are stolen each year. And only about 10% of those stolen pets are actually returned home. Find out more about pet theft.

Frightening Facts About Pet Theft (& How To Keep Your Dog Safe)

I recently scrolled through social media and stumbled across an eye-catching video by Dr. Karen Becker and Mercola Pets. The title: “7 Steps to Keep Your Dog Safe From Thieves”. 

Pet thieves? Okay … you’ve got my attention.

Looking closer at the caption, the post was shared in honor of Pet Theft Awareness Day — a day created by Last Chance For Animals (LCA) to raise awareness about pet theft. On this day, officials educate the public on how to keep their furry companions safe and call attention to the importance of proper pet identification.

Pet Theft: By The Numbers

Learning about Pet Theft Awareness Day (which falls on Feb 14th) made me want to look even further into the topic.

Get this: An estimated 2 million pets are stolen each year. According to Petfinder, only about 10% of those stolen pets are returned home.

Top 10 Targeted Breeds

While all dog guardians should be aware of the possibility of pet theft, some breeds are said to be bigger targets. They include:

  1. Pit Bull
  2. French Bulldog
  3. Yorkshire Terrier
  4. Chihuahua
  5. Pomeranian
  6. Maltese
  7. Shih Tzu
  8. Labradoodle
  9. Labrador
  10. German Shepherd

In general, purebreds are reportedly the most common victims of theft, as they can be sold for a lot of $$$. Pets that aren’t spayed or neutered are also considered high up on a criminal’s wanted list. Plus, little dogs are common targets since they’re easy to grab. 

Why Are Dogs Stolen?

I started to touch on this in the last section, but there are really two main motives behind dog-napping: money and breeding (which comes back to money). It’s commonly referred to as dog flipping, a term used to describe when a dog is stolen from his/her family and then sold for a profit. Typically, stolen dogs are resold to unsuspecting new owners, puppy mills, or backyard breeders (so they can keep pumping out puppies and reeling in the cash)

Some thieves also steal dogs  — like Dobermans and German Shepards — and use them in illegal dog fighting rings. Plus, some are sold to laboratories and used for medical research and experiments. 

How To Protect Your Pooch

Remember that video I told you about? It was filled with some really good tips! Check it out:

A Full List Of Protection Tips

  • Keep your dog indoors, especially when you’re not home.
  • Don’t leave your pets unattended in your backyard.
  • If you let your dog roam free in your backyard, make sure the fence is closed and locked.
  • Don’t let your pooch roam free around your neighborhood.  
  • Have your pooch microchipped and keep your microchip up to date. Find out more about microchips HERE!
  • Your pet should wear an ID tag at all times. 
  • Keep your pet on a leash whenever you go out for walks. 
  • Don’t tie your dog to a pole outside a store while you shop. 
  • Don’t leave your pooch in an unattended car. 
  • Keep recent photos and a written description of your dog on hand.
  • If you see unusual activity in your community, report it!