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Every day we take precautions to protect ourselves from becoming victims of theft. We lock our cars and alarm our homes when we leave them. We secure valuable documents and jewelry in safes or safety deposit boxes.
Despite these precautions, many people don’t realize that protecting their canine family members from theft is equally as important. Millions of pets are stolen every year.
February 14th is Pet Theft Awareness Day. This is an excellent time to give some useful tips on how you can prevent your dog from becoming a statistic.
Microchip your pet
Make sure your dog is microchipped and keep all information in the microchip database current. Not only is this crucial to the safe return of a lost pet, but an up-to-date microchip also provides proof of ownership.
Keep your Pet Indoors when Unattended
Do not leave your dog outdoors when you are not at home. Even if you have a fenced in yard, it takes just a minute for a thief to steal your beloved dog.
Never let your dog roam free in the neighborhood.
Keep an up-to-date License and Registration on your Pet
In addition to microchipping, keep a collar and identification tag on your pet.
Your pet should also have a current registration tag.
Do not Leave your Pet Tied up in Public
Never leave your dog tied up outside a shop, restaurant, or other public location even if you intend to run in for a minute. A minute is all it takes for a thief to grab your dog.
Play it safe and stick to dog-friendly shops. If that’s not possible, bring a friend who can wait with your dog while you run inside to do an errand.
Be Aware of Strangers in your Neighborhood
Report unusual activity in your neighborhood to police. If there are missing pets, alert your local police and animal control officer immediately.
Spay and Neuter your Pets
Spaying and neutering your pets not only helps with the severe pet overpopulation problem, but it also helps keep your pets closer to home.
Pets who have been spayed or neutered may be less likely to wander.
Make Sure your Fence is Secure
If your dog spends time in your yard, even with you watching him, make sure that your fence is securely locked. It is just one extra deterrent to a would-be dog thief.
Do not Leave a Pet Alone in the Car
You may think you have done all the right things. It’s not too hot or too cold outside. You crack the windows, lock the car, and stop for a quick errand on the ride home from the dog park.
However, the short time you leave your dog unattended is enough time for a determined dog thief to break into your car and snatch your furry friend.
Keep Recent Photos of your Pets
Keep recent photographs and written descriptions of your pets in a place where you can easily access them.
Make sure to take clear photos from different angles. Note any unusual or distinguishing markings.
Keep several photos of you with your dog. All of these can be used to show proof that you are the pet’s owner. They can also come in handy if you ever have to make lost or missing dog signs.
Keep your Dog Leashed
Keep your dog on a leash when you are outside your yard. If your yard is not fenced in, keep your dog leashed whenever you are outside. Vary the times and routes of your walks. Potential dognappers will be less likely to learn your schedule.
Unfortunately, even the most vigilant of dog owners can become victims of pet theft. If you suspect that your dog has been stolen, act immediately.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.