Many dog owners combine dog walking with grocery runs: if you’re out with your puppy for the evening walk, why not pop into the store to grab some bread while you’re at it? But while this might be convenient and time-saving, it’s highly unsafe for your dog. Dog theft cases have been on the rise lately, and thieves have been taking advantage of this innocent habit.
It only takes an experienced thief 45 seconds to steal a dog, so here’s how you can prevent your four-legged friend from becoming a sitting target.
Don’t leave your dog unattended in the car.
If you’re driving with your dog, don’t leave them inside the car while you run errands. This is good advice in general because dogs can suffer heatstroke and even die if left unattended in a closed space for a long time, but even more so these days, when thieves are using every opportunity they can to steal dogs. Thieves don’t see your dog as a soul; they see them as an expensive object. So, for them, a dog left unattended inside the car is the same as a laptop, phone, or jewellery item.
Don’t leave them tied up outside a shop.
Even if you live in a safe neighbourhood, don’t leave your dog tied up outside while you go inside the shop to buy something. You can’t supervise them from inside the shop, and thieves only need a few seconds to untie them. So, unless the shop has a pet-friendly policy and they let you in with the dog, it’s best to take the dog home first and come back later for groceries.
Yes, it will take longer, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Refuse help from strangers
What happens if someone offers to look after your dog while you’re shopping? Well, unless you know them well and you’re certain they’re trustworthy, don’t accept. It doesn’t matter if they look friendly or they tell you that they have the exact same dog breed at home.
Find out which local stores are dog friendly.
Having a list of all nearby pet-friendly stores comes in handy. If you ever need to buy something while you’re walking your dog, you already know how to plan your route, and you can go shopping without worrying about someone wanting to take advantage of your absence. Keep in mind, however, that most stores only allow dogs if they’re secured with a lead and muzzle, so always carry those with you.
Make sure you share these safety tips with everyone in the family. If children or elderly relatives walk the dog too, it’s best to be on the same page and warn them of the potential dangers of leaving your puppy unattended in front of the store.
Last but not least, don’t forget about the general rules of safe dog walking: microchip your dog so they can be easily identified when found, write your name and address on the dog’s collar, and be wary of strangers who get too friendly around your dog.
If you have no option but to take the dog shopping consider taking another member of the family with you