June 23rd, 2015Articles
As new research is released that shows that pet owners feel embarrassed when their pet has fleas, this new video by Bayer gives a microscopic view of these parasites and even their eggs as they hatch.
Fleas can be the bane of pet owner’s lives and are not only an issue for our furry friends themselves, but also for us humans.
New research released today by Bayer Animal Health looks at how many pet owners have found these parasites not only on their pets, but in carpets, beds, sofas and on themselves.
Many surveyed also admitted to not being as on top as they should be of taking preventative measures when it comes to fleas.
But if you’ve ever needed a reason to increase your pet’s flea treatments then watch our video for a very close up look at the secret life of fleas, from how they feed, to the hatching of their eggs.
Dog-related good deeds of the past twelve months have been celebrated in London, as the Kennel Club hosted a prize-giving ceremony to honour the winners of the annual Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme (GCDS) Awards.
Now in their 19th year, the GCDS awards recognise the efforts of canine organisations and local authorities nationwide which have invested their time and energy into helping to train dogs and educate their owners on the importance of responsible dog ownership.
The awards were judged by members of the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Working Party and senior Kennel Club representatives, who were impressed by both the quality of entries and dedication of the dog training clubs and local authorities.
The Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme was set up in 1992 to promote socially acceptable dogs by way of creating responsible dog owners. It provides a quality standard of training for dog and owner and incorporates many domestic obedience exercises.
Now the largest dog training scheme in the UK, it has issued over 525,000 certificates of achievement to owners and their dogs who have successfully passed the scheme’s tests since its inception. There are currently around 1,800 dog training clubs and other organisations around the country which actively run the scheme.
Supporters of the GCDS, Royal Canin, also presented an award for outstanding achievement. This was presented to Dana Stafford whose heartfelt story of determination through adversity has seen her overcome many barriers in confidence and self-belief. Dana was initially nominated by her local dog training club and won through an online vote.
A special award was also presented to John McNeil who was a member of the GCDS Working Party from 1999-2007, set up the first GCDS Listed Status club and who helped to implement many of the scheme’s initiatives.
Speaking at the ceremony, Kennel Club GCDS Working Party Chairman, Maurice Cooke said: “These awards are an opportunity for us to credit the actions taken by training groups, local authorities, groups and individuals. We really do feel that these and many others have all done fantastic work in promoting responsible dog ownership in local communities and all deserve a huge vote of thanks.
“Their enthusiasm and dedication help organisations like the Kennel Club to promote responsible dog ownership and canine welfare, and we extend our appreciation for helping us make a positive difference for dogs and their owners.”
The categories for the GCDS awards and winners are as follows:
KC Registered Training Club
1st Leven and District Training Club – Leven, Scotland
2nd Whittlesey Dog Training Society – Cambridgeshire
3rd Aylesford & District Dog Training Society – Kent
KC Listed Status Clubs
1st The K9 Academy – Tyne & Wear
2nd Little Orchard Dog Training Academy – Somerset
3rd Happy Dogs Training School Enfield – Middlesex /London
KC Registered Breed Club & KC Registered Ringcraft Club
1st Southern Finnish Lapphund Society – National
2nd Trent Bridge Ringcraft Club – Nottinghamshire
Local Council Category – Most Effective Campaign
1st Aberdeenshire Council – Aberdeen, Scotland
2nd East Riding of Yorkshire Council – East Yorkshire
The K9 Academy – Tyne & Wear
Royal Canin Outstanding Achievement Award Award
Winner – Dana Stafford
Runners up – Joe Nutkins, Gillian Clow, Sue Sears
More information on the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/Tags: KC Press Release
A coalition of animal welfare charities and the police have launched a hard hitting national campaign, warning people of the devastating consequences of leaving dogs in hot cars and urging people to dial 999 if they see an animal in distress.
The organisations include RSPCA, The British Veterinary Association (BVA), National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, The Mayhew Animal Home, PDSA, Wood Green The Animals Charity and the National Animal Welfare Trust.
For the campaign, the organisations have recreated a harrowing real life incident, where a couple who had been shopping returned to find their dog had died from the heat.
“Nobody ever thinks it’s going to happen to them or their much loved dog, yet every year many people still gamble with dog’s lives and every summer dogs die in hot cars,” says RSPCA campaigner Violet Owens.
“Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they are parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still a very dangerous situation for the dog.
“While not every dog who is put in this position will die, they are likely at the very least to experience distress, discomfort and anxiety.
“Just put yourself in their position and ask yourself how you’d feel about being trapped in a hot car, how unpleasant and frightening it would be.”
Recent British Veterinary Association research has shown nearly half of vets (48%) questioned treated animals for conditions related to hot weather during Summer 2014 – the vast majority of which were dogs.
Each year the RSPCA and the police receive thousands of calls concerning dogs trapped inside cars on a warm day. This poses a serious risk to dog welfare and many dogs still die each year.
It can become unbearably hot inside a car on a sunny day. When it’s just 22 degrees outside, a car can reach a staggering 47 degrees in an hour. Dogs can’t cool down in the same way humans can so leaving a window open or parking in the shade will not keep the car cool enough and dogs may still suffer.
Under the Animal Welfare Act owners have a duty of care towards their animals to protect their welfare needs and prevent suffering which includes not exposing them to extremes of temperature. If a dog is left in a car on a warm day and suffers the owners could be at risk of prosecution.
The coalition also believe that retailers, venues and car parks have a duty to ensure that when animals are on their premises, their welfare is being protected and if not, action is taken. It is important to have clear procedures in place and clear information for their visitors reminding them of the risks of leaving any animal in a car.
“Since so many incidents occur in car parks, we’re harnessing the power of the consumer to help prevent dog deaths. Supermarkets have a duty to ensure that when animals are on their premises, their welfare is being protected and if not, that action is taken.
The NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) have thrown their weight behind the campaign.
“NPCC wholeheartedly support this campaign. Causing unnecessary suffering to an animal is an offence and the police take this issue very seriously,” says temporary Chief Constable Gareth Wilson – who is the NPCC’s national lead for police dogs.Tags: RSPCA Press Release
Thinking of adopting a new (or another) canine family member? Sainsbury’s Money Matters blog has produced a fun, illustrative guide to choosing and preparing for the new addition. It’s filled with tips on what to expect when adopting a new dog and how to prepare for its arrival.
You can check it out here.
June 18th, 2015Articles
A dog lover from Felixstowe who has shown an outstanding commitment to man’s best friend has won the ROYAL CANIN® Outstanding Achievement Award, as part of the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme (GCDS) Awards 2015.
Dana Stafford was nominated along with three other inspirational dog lovers from across the UK for the national award, now in its second year, which rewards an individual who has made an outstanding contribution and commitment to responsible dog ownership through the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme. This could be through exceptional work on a project, a dog training initiative or an individual dog.
The winner was decided by public vote, with Dana receiving 37 per cent of the vote, securing her victory.
Dana was nominated for the award because of her dedication to training her Old English Sheepdog, Riley, at the Dog Training for Essex and Suffolk Club. Riley was extremely boisterous and Dana initially lacked the confidence to train her. This could have resulted in Riley becoming out of control if Dana had not committed so much of her time to attending training classes with her; finally managing to achieve the Bronze and Silver GCDS awards with her.
Sadly, after achieving the awards, Riley was diagnosed with chest cancer. Dana kept her happy and occupied throughout her illness by continuing training towards her Gold GCDS award until she died in September 2014. Dana has since continued her commitment to dogs by training her six month Old English Sheepdog, Piper, and has gained enough confidence to take part in demonstrations at dog events.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Dana has shown a remarkable commitment to her dogs and responsible dog ownership and is truly deserving of the award. We are glad that Dana has received the recognition she deserves for everything she has done and continues to do for her dogs.
The winner of the award was announced at the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme Awards ceremony at the Kennel Club’s head office in London.
Gary Gray, National Sales Manager for Cat & Dog Professionals at ROYAL CANIN®, said: ““Dana is a great example of someone who has gone above and beyond for dogs.
“We are thrilled to be able to honour those who have done such great things for the world of dogs through their commitment to responsible dog ownership.”Tags: KC Press Release
June 11th, 2015Articles
The largest dog welfare organisation in the country, the Kennel Club, has launched the UK’s first ever educational resource for primary schools, to teach safe interaction between children and dogs to help reduce dog bite incidents involving children.
The launch of the Safe and Sound Quality Kitemark Teaching Resource, funded by the Kennel Club Educational Trust, coincides with National Dog Bite Prevention Week (7-14 June) and the release of statistics that show that 0-9 year olds are the most likely age group to be admitted to hospital due to dog bites and strikes.
The new teaching resource is supported by Michael and Shirley Anderson, the parents of fourteen year-old Jade Anderson, who was tragically killed by dogs in Atherton, near Wigan, in 2013, and they have expressed the importance of education to improve child safety around dogs and reduce dog bite incidents.
Robin Hood Primary School in Kingston, London, is the first school in the UK to successfully teach the resource, and has today (Thursday 11 June) been accredited officially as a ‘Safe and Sound School’ by the Kennel Club.
The resource is free for schools to use and is the first of its kind to be written to fit the national curriculum, so schools can write the resource into their lessons and use it to educate children on how to interact safely with dogs.
It teaches children about safety around dogs and includes elements such as understanding ‘dog language’, recognising signs that a dog’s behaviour may result in a dog showing aggression; why dogs may bite; what to do and what not to do around dogs; how to approach dogs; and what to do if a dog shows signs of aggression.
Schools which sign up to receive the resource will be provided with an interactive computer-based tool for the pupils to use for learning, which includes a number of visual elements to engage them in the classroom.
Children aged eight are at the developmental level most suited to absorbing, understanding and remembering information being taught to them, so the resource has been designed for this age group (Year 4) but can be adapted and taught in Year 5 and Year 6, depending on the ability of the children and their current learning.
The resource can be taught across four lessons, with the final lesson consisting of an assessment to determine the pupils’ learning. It is designed to be flexible and schools can teach it as a standalone module or can build aspects of it in to other lessons to cover the numeracy and literacy aspects which fit in to the national curriculum, such as English and maths.
With the UK’s dog population currently at a high of around 8.5 million, and around 25 per cent of households owning a dog, children will inevitably come across dogs in their day-to-day lives. Recent figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that between March 2014 and February 2015, there were 1,159 hospital admissions caused by dog related incidents (bites and strikes) affecting children up to the age of 9. This makes them the group most highly affected by dog bites, showing the need for a structured educational tool to educate children, as well as parents for continued home learning, on how to behave around dogs.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Kennel Club has launched this resource for two simple reasons – to help ensure that children know how to safely interact with dogs and to help reduce dog bite incidents involving children.
“As both the dog and human population in the UK continue to grow, we need a structured education programme in place to help ensure that both can live together safely. The vast majority of dog bite incidents are avoidable and we believe that by schools using the Safe and Sound resource we will start seeing real change in the way children interact with dogs.
“Most incidents involving dogs happen within the home and we are delivering an education tool that will teach children lessons in the classroom that they can then apply to their day-to-day lives at home or when in a public place.”
In a joint statement expressing support for the resource, Michael and Shirley Anderson, said: “We are firm believers that education plays a key role in helping to reduce the number of dog bite incidents in this country.
“The Kennel Club’s Safe and Sound teaching resource is the first educational tool that will help to teach kids how to interact safely with dogs on an ongoing basis, and it will prepare them for caring for a dog in the right way. In the past there’s been nothing available for schools to use to write this kind of thing into their lessons, so we are excited to be able to support something that is so important to us and close to our hearts.”
For more information on the Safe and Sound Quality Kitemark Teaching Resource, and for primary schools to sign up to teach the resource, visit www.safetyarounddogs.org.uk.Tags: KC Press Release
June 2nd, 2015Articles
As forecasters predict a heatwave in the first week in June, vets are warning that pets can struggle as the temperature rises.
The warning follows findings from the British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey that show nearly half of vets (48%) questioned treated animals for conditions related to hot weather during Summer 2014.
More than one in three small/mixed practice vets (36%) had seen cases of heat stroke last summer, while a similar proportion (31%) had seen animals with other conditions relating to hot weather, including:
- Respiratory problems and worsening of conditions affecting the heart or lungs (seen by 11% of small animal/mixed practice vets)
- Skin conditions (7%)
- Fly strike (7%)
- Heat stress/ heat exhaustion/ collapse/ lethargy (4%)
Overwhelmingly, vets who had seen heat-related conditions treated dogs, with 9% mentioning small mammals (such as rabbits and guinea pigs), 8% mentioning cats and 4% other animals.
Dog owners should take extra care to keep their pets healthy and happy in the sunshine and contact their veterinary practice immediately if they are concerned
Dogs, and other pet animals, may struggle in high temperatures as they are unable to cool down quickly through sweating, rendering them vulnerable to overheating. Despite publicity campaigns in recent years, dogs still die in hot cars every summer or succumb to heatstroke as a result of over-exertion on walks and daytrips – this can be a particular problem inshort nosed dogs and older animals.
BVA and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) are highlighting seven simple steps to help keep dogs safe as the temperature rises:
- Don’t leave dogs in vehicles or conservatories.
- Make sure they always have water to drink.
- Provide ventilation at all times to prevent the temperature rising.
- Avoid exercising dogs in the heat of the day.
- Provide shade from the sun in the hottest part of the day.
- Watch out for early signs of heatstroke, such as heavy panting and profuse salivation.
- Contact a vet immediately if the animal does not respond to efforts to cool it down.
Vet John Blackwell, President of the BVA, has some advice for owners as the weather gets warmer. He said:
“As it gets hotter this summer, all owners need to think about taking simple steps to ensure their pets are happy and healthy during the warm weather.
“Most people know that dogs should never be left in cars by themselves, even when the day is warm as opposed to hot, but it can be tempting to ignore advice if you think you won’t be gone for long.
“Leaving the car windows open and a bowl of water is not enough. As a dog can only cool down through its tongue and paw pads, it cannot react quickly enough to cope with the rapidly rising heat inside a car.
“Dogs are also vulnerable to heatstroke while out with their owners. I see animals in my practice every summer that have overheated while out walking or exercising. A dog won’t stop enjoying itself because it is hot, so it’s up to the owner to stop the animal before it suffers.
“Older dogs and those with respiratory problems are particularly susceptible but it’s sensible to keep a close eye on any dog on warmer days. If your pet is affected by the heat the quicker you get help the better the animal’s chances of survival.”
Detecting overheating early and treating it promptly is essential to dogs and other pets recovering successfully. Signs that animals are overheating can include faster and heavier panting, and restlessness, which may include lack of coordination. They might produce more saliva than normal and have darker coloured gums than normal. Eventually their eyes may become glassy and they may start to become unresponsive and may slip into unconsciousness.
Pet owners should immediately get advice from a vet if they are concerned their pet is suffering from a heat-related condition. In addition, if heatstroke is suspected, pets should be taken to a cool, well-ventilated place and given water to drink. Dogs can also be cooled down with a fan or by covering them with a wet towel. However, pet owners should always contact a vet for advice rather than trying to treat on their own an animal who could be suffering from a heat-related condition.Tags: BVA Press Release
April 30th, 2015Articles
The 2015 General Election is now just one week away, and the outcome looks as uncertain as ever. It has never been more important for the British people to use their votes to support the issues that matter to them.
For us here at Dogs In The News, the important issues are, well, those which affect dogs! From puppy farming to pet passports, dog control orders to compulsory microchipping; we’ve reported on them all since we launched our service shortly after the coalition formed in 2010. So we thought we’d help you decide who to vote for on May 7th by outlining all the parties’ key canine policies.
As ever, DITN aims to remain neutral – we’re not endorsing any one party, but rather aiming to provide a summary of the election promises which they have made. (We also wanted to tell you what sort of dog each of the party leaders favoured, but unfortunately all of them are non-dog owners; a sad commentary on the state of UK politics, if you ask us!)
The Tories have pledged to hold a free vote to repeal the ban on hunting with dogs, and will protect traditional country pursuits such as shooting. They have stated that they will “encourage other countries to follow the EU’s lead in banning animal testing for cosmetics”. They said they will “protect animal welfare”, but were not specific about how.
The Lib Dems would also seek to minimise the use of animals (including Beagles) in scientific experiments. They have pledged to “review the rules surrounding the sale of pets to ensure they promote responsible breeding”.
Labour has specifically produced a mini-manifesto on animal welfare issues. In it they have promised to uphold the hunting ban of 2004, and to work to prevent non-target animals (including dogs) becoming trapped in hunting snares. They have pledged to “improve the protection of dogs” by reviewing legislation concerning the breeding and selling of puppies, and by tackling illegal puppy trafficking from Ireland and the rest of Europe.
The Green party, not surprisingly, has by far the most comprehensive set of proposals affecting dogs. They have dedicated 2 pages of their manifesto to measures aimed at protecting welfare, which includes a pledge to ban the use of electric shock collars and to take action on dog fighting. They want to regulate the pet trade and to see a reform of breeding practices (including controls on breeding which creates “exaggerated characteristics likely to cause suffering”). They have pledged to end the use of dogs in non-medical experiments and military training, and undertake a formal review of the Greyhound racing industry. They would also extend the hunting ban to cover all hunting of animals for sport.
UK Independence Party
UKIP are against the influx of European breeds, including French Bulldogs, Hungarian Vizslas and German Shepherds, which are pushing our native British breeds out of fashion… Just kidding!
UKIP is another party which is for the reduction in animal vivisection, and it has said that it would introduce tougher jail sentences for people convicted of animal cruelty.
This party’s only comments about animals are that they will “support the introduction of a European-level Animal Welfare Commissioner” and “support adoption at all government levels of the new and comprehensive Animal Welfare law to end animal cruelty”.
Responsibility for animal welfare in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
If animal welfare is really your hot button issue, you can always vote for the Animal Welfare Party – they have four candidates in the running. The website Votes for Animals should also have some useful information as to how your current MP has voted on animal issues in the past.
Or, if you live in South Thanet, you can vote for Al Murray’s Free United Kingdom Party, which unveiled just 5 policies on it’s fag-packet manifesto, one of which was “Free dogs for all!”
If you’re still undecided as to who to vote for, try a site such as Vote for Policies, which asks you a series of questions to determine which party best matches your political ideologies.
However you chose to vote on Thursday, we hope you have found this article informative. We’d love to know which canine issues matter most to you – please leave a comment below.Tags: Articles
0March 24th, 2015Articles
The Kennel Club and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have joined forces to make countryside dog walks safer and more stress free for both pet dogs and farm animals, by creating new footpath signs which encourage responsible dog ownership, particularly when around livestock.
The signs were launched at the world’s biggest dog event, Crufts, and they mark a new partnership between the Kennel Club and NFU that aims to help dog owners to enjoy the UK’s landscapes while avoiding causing unintentional injury or distress to farm animals such as sheep and cattle.
The signs reinforce the year-round need to keep dogs on leads around livestock and emphasise that it is safer to release a dog if threatened by inquisitive cattle, so that walkers and dogs can get to safety separately.
In light of recent research carried out by the University of Central Lancashire, which found that many otherwise responsible dog owners do not realise the need to pick up dog waste in the countryside or that they can put bagged dog waste in any public waste bin, the signs also help walkers understand that leaving dog waste where animals graze can cause cattle to abort their calves and lead to brain damage or death in sheep.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Government figures show that dogs are taken on half of all countryside visits, and in the vast majority of cases these walks are problem free for dog owners and farmers alike.
“It is important for dog owners to be aware of the need to put their dog on a lead at certain times and to always pick up their dog’s waste on farmland, to make sure that everyone can continue enjoying the countryside safely.
“We are proud to be working with the NFU on this new partnership, which will help walkers in the countryside make good choices about what they can do with their mdogs and we are looking forward to the new signage being well used.”
NFU livestock board chairman, Charles Sercombe, a sheep farmer from Leicestershire, said: “The NFU is delighted to partner with the Kennel Club for the first time to encourage responsible dog walking in the countryside. These signs are designed to provide guidance and inform the public of the risks and dangers of walking their pets across farmland.
“Now spring is here we tend to see an increase in the number of people out walking their dogs. But it’s important to remember that farms are working environments so please be aware of your surroundings.
“The advice is, if you have a dog with you keep it close by your side and under control. Where there are cows and sheep put it on a short lead. Remember, cows are inquisitive and may come to investigate, if you feel threatened walk calmly towards the field boundary and let your dog go to allow it to run to safety.”Tags: KC Press Release
March 14th, 2015Articles
It’s Pet Theft Awareness Week 2015. The thought of having your pet stolen probably ranks high on the list of any dog owner’s worst nightmares. And, while it’s true that pet theft is on the rise, and also true that pet theft could affect anyone, there are many steps you can take to safeguard your dogs.
1) Get your dog microchipped
If you are in the 40% of dog owners who have not already taken this precaution, we cannot stress this point enough. Microchipping will be compulsory from April 2016 in England anyway, so what’s stopping you?
If it’s the cost, check this out- you can get your dog chipped for free at Dogs Trust centres across the UK. They’re usually done alongside puppy vaccinations (many vet surgeries offer a package deal price), but a chip can be inserted at any point in a dog’s lifetime.
In the three years which we have been reporting canine news, we have yet to come across a ‘dog reunited’ story which did NOT feature a microchip. If you want to greatly increase your chances of finding your dog if it is lost or stolen, a microchip is your best bet.
Aside from this aspect, a microchip can also be an identification tool if there is a dispute. A microchip has never been proof of ownership and is unlikely to be considered so in the future, but at least you’ll be able to know for certain if the found dog who looks like yours really is.
Finally, tell the world that your dog is microchipped – this can deter potential thieves and it gives anyone who finds him a reminder to scan the chip for your details. By law all dogs must wear a collar and ID tag when in a public place. Include your surname, telephone number, address and full postcode on the tag; and the message “I am microchipped”. (Do not put your dog’s name on their tag. This can help thieves lure your dog away from you and gives them something to work with if they are trying to demonstrate that they know the dog.)
If you have your pet microchipped, ask your vet to check your dog’s chip every time you visit. This will ensure that it hasn’t moved, and will remind you to follow step two.
For more details of how technology can help prevent pet theft, click here.
2) Keep your microchip details up to date
This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t update the microchip information when they move or change phones.
110,000 stray dogs are picked up by police, local authorities and animal welfare charities each year. Over half of these stray dogs cannot be returned because their owner could not be identified. If approximately 60% of all dogs in the UK are chipped, that means that 22,000 dogs whose owners were untraceable would have been in possession of a chip with incorrect or out of date information. Don’t let your dog be one of them.
3) Make your home and garden secure
It’s estimated that 52% of stolen dogs were taken from their owner’s gardens, while a further 19% were taken from their homes during break ins.
Do not leave your dog unattended in your garden if it’s not 100% secure, and make sure that any gates, dog runs, kennels etc are firmly locked when your dogs are using them. Ensure your fencing is adequate and check it regularly for wear and tear. It should keep your dog in and trespassers out. Dogs who have escaped and/or wandered off are easy for thieves to snatch. Most thefts are opportunistic, so don’t give the criminals a chance.
With regards to burglaries, you need to adopt a common sense approach and take whatever precautions are necessary for your type of accommodation. Install motion sensor lights around any kennel buildings if your dogs stay in them at night. If your dog sleeps in a different part of the house to yourselves, consider a baby monitor so that you can hear if there are any disturbances.
Try not to advertise too much that you have dogs living at your property, especially if they are pedigrees, which studies have shown are the key targets for gangs out to make money from selling dogs on or using them for breeding. Those “A spoilt rotten Pug lives here” signs are cute, but possibly not worth the risk.
4) Be wary on walks – and refine your recall!
16% of stolen dogs were taken while they were out on their walks. Either they would have strayed out of their owners sight and been stolen then, or the owners may have been distracted, either on purpose or by something like their phone. There have also been rare incidences of violent thieves snatching a dog in plain sight of the owner, so be aware of your surroundings and where your dog is.
Do not let him get out of your sight, and practice your recall so you can instantly bring him back to you if you suspect it may be in danger. Put your dog on a leash when you stop to talk to strangers, no matter how friendly they are.
Try to vary your routes and routines, as criminals may follow your behaviour to identify a pattern before making their move.
Finally, try not to brag about your dog to strangers, or to divulge too many personal details, as they may be scouting out if your dog is worth stealing or not. This is again especially true if you have a purebred dog.
5) Have your dog neutered
Dogs are often stolen for breeding purposes, so neutering your dog is one way to make them less of a target. This is especially applicable to purebreds and short coated male dogs (where the difference is often visually apparent). If your dog is neutered or spayed, put this information on their dog tag, as a thief may decide to let your dog go once he learns this information.
6) NEVER leave your dog tied up outside of a shop
Ever. While only 7% of stolen dogs were taken from outside shops, this is probably because this practice is already becoming less widespread than it used to be, presenting less opportunities to would-be thieves.
We know it can be tough if your town is not particularly dog friendly, or if you don’t want to leave your dog in the car (see below), but consider whether you’d leave your mobile lying around on a coffee shop table while you nipped to the loo, or if you’d leave your laptop charging in the middle of a shopping centre unattended. You never see mothers leave their child outside while they run into a supermarket to buy milk – it’s just not worth the risk!
7) Make sure your car is secure
It is thought that 5% of stolen dogs were taken from their owner’s cars. While it is usually safe to leave your dog in a locked car for a short period of time (in cool weather), do consider whether he is visible to people walking past and whether he would be considered a target if so.
It may be safer to leave your dog at home while you go on your outing than to leave him waiting in the car. If you do have to leave him in the car make sure he is out of direct line of sight, and that all the doors and windows are secure. Try to park where you can see your car, so you can return to your vehicle if you suspect someone is trying to break in.
8 ) Read the news – and pay attention to your environment
You can, of course, keep up to date with the daily doggie news via our Twitter feed, but keep an eye on your local news sources as well. Pet thefts often happen in batches, so be aware if there have been headlines about stolen dogs, or an increase in missing pet posters in your area. Keep your eyes and ears open to any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood. If you suspect anything, tell your local authority or other relevant body.
There have been many articles about thieves ‘tagging’ houses – a white chalk circle means a small dog, a triangle means the owner works 9-5 etc. Most of these turn out to be hearsay or urban myth, but do be vigilant. If you see something, report it.
The Pet Theft Awareness Campaign has a blog with plenty more useful advice and statistics. Don’t make yourself a target!
Tags: Pet Theft Awareness Week
Want advice about what to do if your pet is stolen? Click here.