Keeping your dog safe
As if the last year hasn't been challenging enough, one of the biggest worries for dog owners at the moment is ensuring your dog stays safe. Dog theft is at an all-time high with dognappers selling dogs online, creating scams and even posing as animal welfare officers to steal dogs. It's no wonder owners are feeling anxious about leaving their pets and even scared to go for their daily walk.
Here are a few points to consider to help keep you and your dog as safe as possible
- Ensure your dog is microchipped and the details are up to date
- NEVER leave your dog unattended. Don't leave them tied up outside shops or alone in the car (even when locked) even for just a few moments. Always supervise them when in your garden too.
- Make sure you have up-to-date photos of your dog from all angles, highlighting any unique features or markings. Also ensure you have up-to-date photos of you and your dog in case you need to prove ownership
- Be careful when sharing details of your dog and your location on social media and open forums
- Ensure your boundaries are secure with no gaps in fences and gates locked. Remember to recheck boundaries and gate security regularly and invest in garden lighting.
- Remove any signs that highlight a dog is on the premises, e.g Beware of, A ...... lives here etc.
- Invest in a modern Ring doorbell or basic CCTV around your property
- Ask your neighbours to be on the look-out for any suspicious activity
- Don’t take your dog to the door with you, pop them in a separate room or behind a stair gate.
- Stay in well populated, well-lit areas for your walk.
- Try and walk with a friend or fellow dog owner - safety in numbers!
- Vary the time of day and your route when walking
- Put your phone away – if you are distracted you are less likely to be aware of changes to your environment and notice people approaching
- Stay vigilant - Be very wary of strangers who approach you and ask information about your dog, watch for cars hanging around.
- Carry a whistle (not a dog one!) or air horn so you can make noise to alert people if you need help.
- Know how to quickly access your phone – either to take photos of the napper or to access the keypad to dial 999
- Report any unusual or suspicious activity to 101 - try to take down car number plates, take photos or a description of any suspicious characters
- Prepare yourself - learn some basic self defence so you can protect yourself if needed. Teach your dog some skills that you can use in an emergency - ‘away’, ‘go behind’ and a good recall.