Missing or stolen dogs
This page provides useful guidance on what to do if your dog goes missing or is stolen, together with information about how to prevent dog theft.
Quick tip: Keep the phone numbers of your local dog warden, microchip company and Dog Lost (01633 673859) on your mobile phone and/or easy to find.
Click below to go to the information you need
Firstly, work out whether your dog has been stolen or has got lost.
If your dog has disappeared from your garden, it won't usually wander very far. Check with your immediate neighbours and ask them to check their gardens and garages. Search the neighbourhood.
If you still can't find your dog, call:
- the dog warden who may have picked them up.
- the microchip company and let them know it is missing.
- your local vets and rescue centres so they are aware.
If you are out on a walk and your dog disappears, it is worth being aware that dogs usually circle back by scent if they have got disorientated.
- Leave your coat or an item of clothing nearby so they can find your scent and then walk back to your car/home, it is not uncommon for a dog to make its way back to your car or home.
- Show a photo of your dog (keep a recent one on your phone) to everyone you pass and ask if they have seen your dog on its own or with someone else. Tell them you have left your coat/clothing and ask them not to remove it.
- Call warmly to your dog so it knows it is not in trouble. If it is not at your car or at home, return to your left item of clothing.
If your dog is still nowhere in sight:
- Call the dog warden to inform them it is missing.
- inform Dog Lost – ASAP. They will put your dog’s details and pictures out on Social Media. Call 01633 673859. Web site https://www.doglost.co.uk/contact-us.php email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call your local radio station and ask if they will put a shout out for you.
- Call your microchip company to tell them.
- If you have social media, post a photo of your dog and ask family and friends to help you search and share your post.
If someone physically takes your dog from you/you see them put your dog into a vehicle:
- Shout loudly that the dog is being stolen to attract attention
- Take photos or video of the theft if you can
- Call 999 and report it to police, provide information about where you are, a description of the person involved, make, model, colour and registration of the vehicle and their direction of travel. If you have photos or video, also ask for a crime number.
- Take the contact details of any witnesses and find out if they recorded the incident too.
- Call your microchip company and report the dog stolen.
- Report to missing animal websites such as those listed below:
Spreading the word:
Use as many social media platforms as possible. Use a good clear photo of your dog, give a detailed description of exactly what happened and where. Ensure you make your post public and ask it is shared.
Sites such as Dog Lost will produce a missing poster for you. Ask people to print off the poster and display it in shop windows and public houses (with owners’ permission).
Inform your local paper/radio station and ask they put out an appeal for any information from the public.
If you put up a reward for information, beware of meeting people who could be trying to scam you. Give them your crime number and ask that they email the information to the Police.
Check sites that sell dogs and puppies to see if your dog has been put up for sale. Dogs of all breeds and ages are selling very fast at the moment so it is important to check these sites regularly.
A few of the most popular are:-
Also consider checking marketplaces websites such as Gumtree and Facebook.
- Ensure your garden is secure. Try and break into your own back garden, can you? Gates needs to be bolted top and bottom and with a bolt and padlock at centre height on the inside. Ensure sheds are locked securely so the tools inside cannot be used to break the padlock off your gates.
- Check fencing regularly, especially after bad weather. Regularly check the boundaries for holes have been made. Keep an eye on your dog when you let it out into the garden.
Ideally, have security lighting and CCTV outside your property and a burglar alarm inside. If you cannot afford CCTV, then you can still display signs warning that you do.
Do not leave your dog outside overnight or if you leave the property during the day.
Be careful of bogus caller. Display a No Cold Callers sticker (available for free at most front desks of Police Stations) on your front door.
Do not use the type of sign outside your property that displays your dogs breed, for example, ‘Beware my Poodle lives here’.
If you move house or change phone number, update your details with the microchip company.
If you leave your dog with a sitter, do your research. Do not simply use the cheapest person/service. If possible, use a trusted family member or friend or ask for recommendations. Double check reviews if necessary.
Check for any chalk marks on the pavement or wall outside your house. Email the photos to the police on email@example.com
Out and about
- Never leave your dog in your car. Only leave your dog tied up outside shops if someone can wait with it. If this is not possible, leave your dog at home.
- When out walking, vary your route. If you walk the same route most days, walk the opposite way on occasion. Walk with friends if possible. Avoid walking in the dark by yourself if possible.
- Do not let your dog off the lead unless you have 100% recall. Invest in a long flexi style lead if necessary. If your dog does have perfect recall, then still keep it in sight at all times.
- If your dog approaches people, call it back. Some people are scared of dogs so will appreciate this. If people are encouraging your dog over to them, then call it back straight away, especially if they are near a vehicle.
- Beware of talking to strangers too much about your dog. Do not give its name or give them a false one that sounds very different to your actual dog’s name if you do not want to appear rude.
- Ensure your mobile is charged and check the mobile phone signal especially if walking in a remote area.
- Do not display your dog’s name or your address on its ID tag. A current phone number or numbers will suffice.
- Check your social media privacy settings, Only accept friends that you know and trust. View your profile as public so you can see what anyone can see who may be looking at your page and ensure there are no photos on view of your dog/s. Ensure location is turned off when posting any photos to your private page.
- If you have a local Facebook group for your village/town then consider joining it. Dog walkers will often warn other dog walkers on these sites if they see suspicious behaviour.
- Take photos of your dog from every angle, showing coat patterns and any distinguishing features or marks. If your dog is a breed that is very hard to distinguish from other dogs, then take a close-up photo of its teeth. Make sure to include any broken tooth or gaps from missing teeth.