Since the COVID19 Pandemic, dog theft is on the rise. But you don't have to be a victim, there are steps you can take to keep your dog safe. Follow these tips on how to prevent dog theft and avoid the heartache of losing your precious dog.

According to the AKC (American Kennel Club) pet theft statistics show that around 2 million pets are stolen each year in the U.S. Petfinder reports that only about 10% of stolen dogs are ever returned home. These are alarming statistics, the threat of dog theft is real! Take these steps to prevent dog theft.

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How To Prevent Dog Theft

How To Prevent Dog Theft

A Very High Profile Dog Napping

Not long ago, dog parents were reeling after the brazen theft of Lady Gaga's French Bulldogs, Koji and Gustav. Her dog walker was walking the dogs at night when dognappers jumped out of a vehicle and grabbed 2 of her 3 French Bulldogs (the Most stolen breed of dog!). A struggle ensued and the dog walker was shot by the dog thieves as he attempted to stop them. Thankfully he's made a good recovery and both dogs were returned unharmed. It's important to be aware that sometimes dognappers get violent!

UPDATE 5/2021: The thieves who stole Gaga's dogs were apprehended. 5 people were arrested and charged; the 3 people who committed the dognapping and shooting, and 2 who were accessories to the crime after the fact. The "good samaritan" who "found" the dogs and returned them to police was no good samaritan! She is a 50 year old woman involved in a relationship with the father of one of the 3 thieves. She is one of five people criminally charged. Apparently, the thieves didn't know they were Lady Gaga's dogs, they just saw 3 high value dogs and wanted to profit by stealing them! The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, had recovered from the shooting, but needed to be hospitalized again due to a collapsed lung related to the shooting. ABC News provided more details on this story.

The information below can help you keep your dog safe and help prevent your precious dog from being stolen.


Dogs are stolen for many reasons. Some of the reasons for dog theft are extremely unsavory, but many dognappers steal dogs purely for profit.  Dog thieves steal dogs and sell them to someone else to make money. This is known as "dog flipping". The thieves do so without a care as to the anguish it causes the family who has lost their precious dog, or to the pain it causes a dog that has been ripped away from his loving home.

Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and small dogs such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies are some of the most commonly stolen dogs. But purebreds aren't the only dogs being stolen. Mixed breed dogs and cats are also being targeted by pet thieves. The opportunity to steal dogs easily and quickly provides an irresistible lure for dognappers.

Since the Pandemic, pet theft has been increasing. People are spending much more time at home, resulting in an increased demand for dogs, cats and other companion animals.  People not only have more time to spend with a dog since they're home so much more, but they are also looking for relief from the stress, loneliness, boredom and isolation that is a by-product of widespread work from home situations.

The increase in demand has also increased the price of certain dog breeds, which can also lead to the increase in the theft of dogs.

Dog thieves are very aware of this trend and have been taking advantage of the increased demand for dogs and other pets to make money by stealing them. They see an easy opportunity to profit from dog theft in a difficult economy.


🦴 As an 8 year animal shelter volunteer I can't stress this enough! Microchip your dog and be sure to keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.  Pretty much every shelter or rescue will scan dogs for a microchip upon intake. Veterinarians are likely to scan for a chip as well when someone brings in a newly adopted or purchased dog.

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Dog Theft Is On The Rise. These Tips Can Prevent Dog Theft 

My friend Kevin found his adorable puppy, Pepper in a parking lot. He was about 12 weeks old and didn't have a collar or microchip and the owner couldn't be located. That story had a happy ending for Pepper and for my friend, but I'm sure there was an owner somewhere that was missing Pepper.  If he'd had a microchip his owner could have been found right away.  A microchip helps positively identify your dog as belonging to you and help get him back home. 

🦴 Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with identification tags. But collars can break off, slip off, or be removed, which is why a microchip is so essential. You may also want to consider Tattooing your dog or using a GPS collar. However GPS collars can easily be removed by a dog thief.

🦴 Be wary of strangers who seem to have an unusually keen interest in your dog. If they ask questions like how much you paid for your dog, if your dog is spayed, where you live, and other invasive questions, be suspicious and disengage with them immediately.


Duffle bag, Weekend bag, Overnight Bag, Accessories with dog design
This adorable Duffle Bag is perfect for travel!

🦴 Spay and Neuter your dog.  A dog that isn't spayed or neutered can bring a dog thief even more money because that dog can be sold as breeding stock. Spaying and neutering certainly isn't a guarantee your dog won't be targeted for theft, but it can be a deterrent for thieves looking for dogs that can be bred as they'll be worth more to the thief.

An unattended Dog Is A Recipe For Disaster

🦴 Never leave your dog in the front or back yard if you're not out there with her, it only takes a moment to steal a dog from the yard. Dog thieves may try to lure your dog to the fence or gate with food or a treat. If possible, make sure your dog isn't visible from the street when in the yard, tempting a dog thief, and keep gates locked if your dog will be outdoors.

🦴 Always keep your dog secured on a leash unless in a fenced in secure dog park. Never let your dog run loose in the neighborhood! 

🦴 Vary your dog walk routes and times of day. Even slight changes can make a big difference if a dog thief is lurking around, stalking your dog and trying to predict your routine.

🦴 Never leave your dog tied up outside a store or other establishment. It takes seconds for a dog thief to unhook your dog's leash and make off with him.  

When I was first training my Husky Icy, part of the training was to put our dog in a Sit/Wait and go inside Starbucks while our dog waited for us outside. After hearing about dog thefts in our city and how easy it is to steal an unattended dog I immediately stopped doing that! 


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How To Prevent Dog Theft

I never, ever leave my dogs anywhere unattended. Either me or my husband are always close by.

🦴 Many people use them but I am not a fan of dog doors. A neighbor of ours had a dog door for her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. While she was out one day thieves robbed the house, gaining access through the dog door.  

The thieves were teens and enlisted a younger brother to wiggle in through the dog door and unlock the back door so the rest of them could get inside. Thank goodness she had taken her dog out with her that day!

🦴 Never ask strangers to watch your dog while you step away. They may seem nice, but you don't really know who they are or if they can be trusted with your precious dog. I've seen people leave their dog at Starbucks on outdoor patios, asking a total stranger to watch the dog while they run inside - Don't do it!

🦴 Always remain alert at the dog park and keep your eye on your dog. Don’t stand around chatting it up with other dog owners to the point where you lose focus on your dog. Be especially alert if your dog gets close to the dog park gate. It only takes seconds for someone to grab your dog at the gate and make off with her, so pay attention to your dog at all times at the dog park!

Travelers and Dog Theft

🦴 If you take a road trip with your dog, don’t leave him alone in the car while you stop for food, gas, or a bathroom break.  My husband and I never leave the dogs alone in the car, we take turns using rest stops. We either bring food with us in the car or stop at drive-through restaurants along the way on road trips. 

🦴Try not to leave your dog alone in hotel rooms if possible, a dog thief may be waiting for you to leave your dog alone in the room.  Research dog friendly parks, beaches, restaurants and attractions so you can bring the dog with you wherever you are going.

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Prevent Dog Theft While Traveling

🦴 Be sure your dog has a very strong Recall response. If someone is stealing your dog, a solid recall command might prompt her to wiggle out of a dog thief’s grip enough to run back to you.

I know how unpleasant it is to think of someone stealing your dog, but it's important to be aware and take safety precautions to prevent dog theft. Don't be a victim! Please follow these dog safety tips on how to stop dog theft from happening to you and your precious pooch.  Be well and stay safe my friends! 


What To Do If Your Dog Gets Lost 

A Solid
Emergency Recall Could Save Your Dog From Being Stolen

Could dog doors make dog theft easier? Are Dog Doors Dangerous 



Impurrfectlife said...

I was shocked to learn dog theft is growing, especially in these times living in a pandemic. You'd think people would really think about living better lives and taking actions to help others versus hurt others and tear families apart stealing dogs for profit. SMH. I'll never understand it. I'm happy you shared these simple tips to keep dogs safe and help prevent theft. Pinning your post! Love the duffle bag by the way!

PreciousPawsTn said...

These are great tips and very informative. I walk dogs during all hours and have been on high extra alert lately due to all the theft. There was a man and a women stealing dogs being walked in my small town about 6 months ago (thankfully they were caught and the pets were returned) they were cutting the leashes and snatching the dogs. All these dogs were being walked with retractable leashes. I carry my pepper spray with me everytime now.

Jana Rade said...

People will steal anything, won't they? Of course, the smaller the dog, the more vulnerable they are, aren't they? Good pointers on how to prevent it.

Unknown said...

This is one of my biggest fears. At our old house, people wouldn't see me and I would watch them park next door and just watch our dogs. When I came out of their blind spot they would compliment the dogs and try to ask personal questions. I was so paranoid. My neighbor would keep an eye out from his side too. We never left the dogs out by themselves!

Britt K said...

There are SO many risks associated with allowing a dog to run loose. I am honestly shocked by how many people still think that it's okay... Motor vehicle accidents, dog theft, fights with unfriendly/aggressive dogs... Far more risk than I am willing to take with my pups, that's for sure! Thank you for helping to spread the word about this important topic.

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