Stolen Hearts

February is a month to remind us of how precious those around us are. Because of this, February 14 also celebrates Pet Theft Awareness day, created to help remind us to keep our four-legged friends safe and out of harm’s way.

Because our dogs can often hold a financial value to others who would put a price on a priceless companion, theft is a problem when it comes to keeping our companions safe. We can start by simply becoming aware that our dogs could be a target when it comes to being stolen away.

A few precautions to take

Keep your dog secure in your yard or home. Be sure to avoid situations in which you leave your dog unattended in the yard, especially for long periods of time. Don’t think that just because they’ve been fine up until now that nothing will happen. Also be sure to avoid letting them out unattended at any particularly scheduled times, though it can be difficult since dogs need to potty at specific times of the day. Just make sure you keep a close watch on them. This is because thieves will often watch for habits and schedules, and will be inclined to steal if they know when, where, and what they can get away with. By keeping a close watch on your dog, you avoid any light fingers that might consider your dog a perfect match for someone else.

You may also consider spaying or neutering your dog. In truth, spaying or neutering your pet helps to reduce the desire for your pets to roam, such as digging under the fence or wandering too far in the neighborhood in search of other activities. Of course, neutering also reduces the likelihood that a thief would want to steal them. Technically, it reduces the financial value of your dog, but won’t affect the priceless gem that you love and adore.

Tags can be taken off

Because tags aren’t always a dependable source for relocating your dog, (still they are important in case they’ve merely escaped) it is important to keep an up-to-date photo of your dog along with pet insurance. If you’ve recently had them groomed, particularly for long haired dogs in warm climates, make sure you take a new photo. Luckily, it’s easy with all the smart phones and their accessories.

Unfortunately, photos of your dog aren’t always enough. Sometimes we have to get a little more technological. Consider getting your dog a chip. Not a snack, but a tracking device that will allow you to find your dog in case they escape, run away, or even get stolen. It doesn’t cost much and can save a priceless friendship.

Puppy-sitters

If you’re going to be gone for long periods of time (this happened to someone who worked two weeks on and a week off) have someone you trust puppy-sit for you. Don’t leave your dogs at home or in the yard, even if they have adequate provisions. If you can’t be there to check on them periodically, and actually spend some time with them, you need to find someone or someplace that can ensure their safety. This may also apply to those going out of town on a business trip. Our pups can’t always join us, and you may just be gone for a day or two, but rather than leave them at home alone, ask a friend you trust to take care of them.

Raising awareness

One of the best things you can do to help reduce pet theft is to raise awareness about it. Few owners actually know about or understand how often it happens until it happens to them. So, if we all spread the word around, more of our canine friends can be kept safe and sound in the hands of those who truly love them.

Start with your friends and community. Really, with all the technological advances of the modern day, you could even put your social media to work as well. Create some links about Pet Theft Awareness and post them on Facebook, or tweet them on Twitter. It’s simple, and reaches a lot of people, especially a fellow pet owner.

You could even hold your own party dedicated to raising pet theft awareness. Have everyone get together and discuss safe practices for your pets. It’s a great reason to get fellow pet owners together and share some information that could save their pet one day. You could even plan times that you might need a puppy sitter or play-dates for your canine companions so that they aren’t left alone too often. It’s a great way to raise awareness and make arrangements that will help keep your pup safe.

While it’s important to focus on pet theft awareness this February, you should always practice safe habits to ensure your canine companion enjoys a safe lifestyle with the people they love. Be safe, and keep your priceless friend from being stolen away from heart and home.

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