To the millions of dog owners in the United States, the thought of their beloved pet getting stolen is a nightmare. Unfortunately, pet theft is on the rise, and owners need to be vigilant about protecting Fido. To help keep your dogs safe, the American Kennel Club offers dos and don'ts for protecting your pet from theft. Among them:
• DON'T let your dog off-leash. Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood he will wander off and catch the unwanted attention of thieves.
• DON'T leave your dog unattended in your yard. Leaving your dog outside for a long period of time makes him an easy target, especially if your fenced-in yard is visible from the street.
• DO be cautious with information. If strangers approach you to admire your dog during walks, be careful with how much information you give. Keep how much your dog cost and any other specific details to yourself.
• DON'T ever leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it's locked. Not only does leaving your dog in the car alone pose obvious health risks to him, it's also an invitation for thieves, even if you are gone for only a moment.
• DO protect your dog with microchip identification. Collars and tags can be removed, so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your microchip recovery service provider so you can always be found should your dog be recovered. For more information, enroll your pet in a 24-hour recovery service and signup at www.akc car.org.
• DO have fliers with a recent photo ready to go if your dog goes missing. Keep several current photos (profile and headshot) of your dog in your wallet or on an easily accessible Web account so that you can distribute immediately if your pet goes missing. Every second counts.