It’s reported a terrifying 300,000 pets are stolen, go missing or become strays every year in the UK.
Pet Theft Awareness Week is a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the steps we can take to keep our pets safe: here are our top tips:
Get your pet microchipped
We microchip pets and it’s free of charge if you belong to our Pet Health Club. Microchipping is a legal requirement in dogs (once 8 weeks old+) but don’t forget we can also microchip many other species...cats, rabbits, ferrets, tortoises...
Keep your pet’s microchip details up to date
The pet’s microchip has a unique number which allows organisations like vets and rescue centres to login to a database and see your contact details; if these are not up to date, no one can trace you and you won’t be reunited with your pet. Keeping your details up to date is a legal requirement for dogs’ microchips. If your dog is over 8 weeks old and has no microchip or the contact details are not correct, you can be fined up to £500.
Make sure your pet’s chip is working
Very occasionally microchips stop working. We can check this when we see your pet for vaccinations and health checks...it’s just a quick scan with the chip-reader, costs nothing and takes seconds. Make sure your pet’s chip is checked at their next routine appointment.
Harder for free-roaming cats but dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises etc can be kept from straying by being in a secure environment. If they’re secure they’re less likely to be picked-up by thieves...so check your fences regularly and secure your gates.
Have a clear ID tag and/or collar
This is not possible in all species but a very good idea in those that will wear one, and remains compulsory for dogs. The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it, or engraved on a tag. You don’t need to include the dog’s details...some say not to put the pet’s name as it may help thieves, but this is personal choice.
Keep dogs under control on walks
A loose dog exploring away from it’s owner is easy-pickings for an opportunistic thief.
Avoid leaving your pet in the car
This is a popular place for thieves to target. It’s common for people to leave windows open when pets are in the vehicle which makes access even easier...but don’t close the windows for security and risk your pet overheating.
Never leave your dog unattended outside a shop
This is extremely risky as thieves can just act like the dog is their own and not even arouse suspicion.
There are many benefits to neutering and one is that a neutered pet is less desirable to thieves as they cannot be used to make money from breeding. It is hard to tell if a female is spayed but it is more obvious if a male is castrated . Neutered cats are less likely to stray from home when neutered so are less likely to get lost or stolen. We see all pets for full health checks before neutering; if you wish to discuss neutering further, give us a call.
We hope this advice is helpful. As always be aware but continue to enjoy your pets and balance safety with fun, allowing your pets the best quality of life.