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Home Journal Dog Owner Guide | What to do if your dog is lost or stolen

Unfortunately, dogs can sometimes be stolen from their owners. Some thieves have even been known to take dogs from their owner’s own gardens. If you think your pet may have been stolen or lost, we have put together the below helpful steps;


  • If your dog is lost or suspected stolen, it is important to act quickly
  • If you believe your pet has been stolen, report it to the police and insist it is recorded as a theft and not a lost animal. Ask for a crime reference number.
  • Report the loss to the local council’s dog warden office for the area the dog was stolen from and those in all other neighbouring local authorities. To check which authority you should report your missing dog to, you can put your postcode into the government’s website here. Dog wardens are responsible for missing dogs while the police are responsible for stolen dogs, but it’s still worth alerting the dog warden as your dog may end up in their care.
  • Report the loss/theft to the microchip database, this will ensure that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number, you will be informed. Give them the crime reference number you’ve got from the police. This means that if your pet is found and scanned, the person scanning will be alerted straight away that your pet is stolen and they can inform the police. If you don’t know which database your pet’s microchip is registered to, you can find out by putting the chip number into the Check a Chip website.
  • Contact local vets and make them aware in case your dog has been taken in for treatment.
  • Register your pet with DogLost. It’s free to register, and DogLost will send an alert to people in your area to let them know your pet has been stolen and ask them to join the search.
  • Social media can be a great tool in helping to find a lost dog. Post an image of your dog including all the relevant information and ask friends and family and even dog influencers to repost.
  • Make posters and display them in areas local to your home and also in relevant places such as vets, local parks etc. The poster should include a clear photograph and details of the circumstances.
  • Contact local animal shelters and rescue charities and send them posters to display

By taking precautions to make your dog less attractive to thieves, you will be all help to protect them from being stolen.


  • Don’t leave your pet in places where they are easily accessible for thieves. Tying a dog up outside a shop or leaving them alone in the car or even in your own garden with poor fencing means it is easier for opportunist thieves to quickly snatch your pet while you’re not there. 
  • Lock your doors and secure your windows when you go out and your pet is home alone to deter burglars
  • Keep a close eye on your dog when out on your walks. If you’re in a crowded area it might not be best to allow your dog of the lead, if you are unable to see them at all times. Its important that your dog has your full attention when out on a walk, even if they are on the lead. Your beeping phone can wait until you are home!
  • Never let your dog leave the house without making sure they are wearing a collar and ID tag with all your relevant information on.
  • Microchipping your dog won’t prevent them from being stolen, but it will mean you can be reunited quickly should your stolen dog be found. When stolen pets are discovered but no microchip information can be found when they are scanned, it is very difficult for the authority or charity who has your pet in their care to reunite you with them. This is also true if your dog’s microchip details are not up to date as you cannot be contacted. 

By law, your dog should always wear a collar and tag with your name and address on when out in public. It will also be compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped.
If your dog is wearing a tag and is microchipped, this will hugely increase your chances of being reunited with them if they go missing.

Main Artwork by Noel McKenna from his Tied up dogs Rose Bay series

Dog Owner Guide | What to do if your dog is lost or stolen