February 14th is best known for being Valentine’s Day, but it also marks an important occasion for pet parents: National Pet Theft Awareness Day. Every year, an estimated 2 million domestic animals are stolen in the United States, so it’s vital to know how to prevent your furry family members from becoming a statistic.
In this post, we’ll explain more about National Pet Theft Awareness Day and share 7 tips to help you keep your animals safe. By the end, you’ll have a practical action plan to protect your pets against theft.
What Is National Pet Theft Awareness Day?
National Pet Theft Awareness Day dates back to 1988. It was created by the Last Chance for Animals organization to help raise awareness about the dangers of pet theft and provide information on how to prevent it.
Today, the day serves as a reminder that pet theft is a real and pressing issue. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of your pet being stolen.
7 Tips for Preventing Pet Theft
From microchipping your pet to securing your yard, there are several important and effective measures you can take to protect your companion animals.
1. Microchip Your Pet
Microchipping your pet is one of the most important steps you can take to protect them from theft. A microchip is an electronic device that is inserted just beneath an animal’s skin. If your pet ever becomes lost or stolen, this chip will make it easier for them to be identified and safely returned to you.
After microchipping your pet, make sure to register the microchip with the appropriate registry and keep your contact information up to date. This means updating your address and phone number whenever you move or change numbers.
2. Take Photos of Your Pet in Case They Ever Go Missing
Having current photos of your pet can be incredibly helpful if they ever go missing. You can use these photos to create flyers and posters, as well as post them on social media or websites like Petco Love Lost.
Make sure to take photos from several different angles, including close-ups of your pet’s face and any identifying marks. Keep these safely stored on a hard drive or in the cloud so they’re readily accessible if you ever need them.
3. Ensure Your Yard or Outdoor Space Is Secure
If your pet spends time outdoors, it’s essential to make sure your property is secure. Install a fence or other barriers around the perimeter of your yard and close off any gaps that could allow pets to escape. Keep the gates locked whenever possible and consider investing in security cameras for extra protection.
Of course, it’s best to supervise your pet at all times when they’re outside and never leave them unattended. Even if you’re at home, unscrupulous thieves have been known to snatch animals right from the backyard.
4. Keep Your Pet on a Leash in Public
When walking your pet in public, be sure to keep them on a secure leash. This is especially important in areas with high foot traffic, like parks or busy roads. Not only does this help prevent your pet from running off, it also makes it more difficult for someone to grab them without you noticing.
Thieves often target pets that are off-leash and unsupervised, so it’s best to keep your companion close. If you haven’t already, spend some time leash training your pet so they’re comfortable and obedient when out in public.
5. Be Aware of Your Surroundings When You’re Out with Your Pet
It only takes a few seconds for a thief to snatch an animal, so it’s important to be aware of what’s going on around you when you’re out with your pet. Keep your eyes on your furry friend at all times, and avoid distractions like texting or talking on the phone.
It’s also wise to avoid letting strangers approach or touch your pet. While most people are friendly and harmless, some may have ill intentions. If someone is insisting on petting your animal against your wishes, it’s best to walk away and find a different spot.
6. Never Leave Your Pet Unattended in Public Places
While it can be tempting to leave your pet tied up outside a store while you run in, this puts them at risk of being stolen. Instead, visit pet-friendly establishments and keep your pet with you at all times, or leave them safely at home.
In addition, never leave an animal alone in a parked car – even for just a few minutes. Not only is pet theft a very real threat, but rapid changes in temperature during summer and winter can cause serious health issues and even death for pets.
7. Don’t Post Personal Information on Social Media
Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it’s important not to post too much personal information. Avoid sharing the exact location of your home or the area where you take your pet on walks.
Location tags and check-ins can help thieves pinpoint your exact whereabouts and make it easier for them to target your pet. It’s best to limit the information you share on social media when it comes to your furry friend.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Pet
Keeping your pet safe and protected against theft is an important part of being a responsible pet parent. Remember, thieves love easy targets, so anything you can do to make your pet less vulnerable will help deter potential criminals. Follow the tips in this post to keep your companion safe, secure, and out of the hands of thieves.
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