Prevent dog theft by following those 7 steps

One-third of all dogs in the United States are reported missing in their lifetimes and more than 80% are never found. For those who disappear because of dognapping, there are ways to avoid it in the first place. 

Dognapping has been on the rise for a decade, but it exploded in 2020 with the high demand of puppies from people bored in the pandemic lockdown. Thieves steal dogs to “flip” them quickly on websites like craigslist or to pocket the reward dog owners end up offering to get their baby back. For this reason, expensive dogs like French bulldogs have been particularly targeted by those criminals. There are several steps a dog parent can take to prevent dog thefts, that we are listing below. We also can’t stress enough the importance of not buying dogs from a shady online seller, which encourages the market of dog trafficking.

Microchip and register

Dogs should be microchipped and you must register to that number. That way you make sure that if the dog is found it will be attached to your phone and name. Veterinarians, shelters and animal control always check for a microchip when a dog is brought to them. Make sure to keep those information updated so they know how to contact you. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Lord et al, July 15, 2009), dogs with microchips are returned to their owners over 52 percent of the time, as opposed to less than 22 percent for dogs without microchips.

Be alert on walks and carry protection

Be aware of your surroundings and don’t be distracted by your phone while being on walks. Mix up your routine: don’t walk at the same time and don’t take the same way every day. Someone could ambush you if they identify what your habits are. Keep it unpredictable. Carry equipment with you that will help you attract attention, distract and disarm. Depending on where you live and your local law, you can carry a whistle, pepper spray, a walking stick, a loud rape alarm or a deterrent. 

Choose the right type of harness and leash

A collar can be opened in seconds by someone trying to steal a dog, so a harness is a better bet as long as it fits the dog properly and can’t slide. You can also choose a harness with an integrated leash, to avoid the risk of someone unhooking it. The leash should also be thick enough that it can’t be easily cut. Finally, some leashes have an extra strap that you can attach to your body, for extra protection. You will want to do your own research to find the product that is the best fit for your needs, with those options in mind.

Delay your social media posting

Celebrities have been doing this for years, and it might be time to apply this technique to dogs. Always delay your social media posting until you have already left the area. You don’t want someone to see your post or story, and decide to come find you because you showed them your location.

Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard

Unfortunately, a fence is not enough to deter thieves, so the safest place to leave your dog when you’re not home is indoors. In 2020, 52% of dog thefts happened in their own backyard. If your dog has to stay outside while you leave home it should be in a yard that is not visible from the street and your gate must be locked. Also, we would advise against signs like “Beware of the dog”, as this could attract thieves. Definitely do not specify what type of breed your dog is, which could make you the perfect target to those looking for this type of dog. Finally, make sure you secure your home with alarms and cameras.

Don’t leave your dog unattended anywhere else

It goes without saying, but tying your dog up to a pole in the street while you are inside a store shopping is a big no-no. Only go to stores you know are dog friendly, go with a friend who can stay outside to watch them, or leave your pup at home. Don’t leave them in your car either, as they could be easily snatched by thieves, or escape if someone breaks into your car to steal your GPS, wallet, or other valuables. 

Stranger danger

Be aware of who is around you when you walk, avoid groups, and be suspicious of the people who show interest in your dog or ask questions about them. Don’t answer and keep walking. Also, don’t let strangers pet your dog, as they could easily unhook the leash while they do so, and take off with your dog. “No” is a totally fine answer, and it is time to use it more.


The full list of the foods dogs should not eat

You have probably heard about avoiding chocolate, onions, and grapes. But did you know that cinnamon and macadamia nuts can be toxic for a dog? We look over all the food they should avoid.


Toxic substances for dogs hide in our everyday food items and danger can come from the most unexpected places. We have listed them in alphabetical order for convenience.


Alcohol should totally be avoided as it has a huge impact on dogs, even in small doses. Dogs can not process alcohol and it can lead not only to intoxication like it would for humans, but also vomiting, panting, increased heart rate, fever, diarrea, nervous system damage and even death.


If they are not toxic to dogs per se, almonds are a choking hazard for dogs. They can block the esophagus or even tear the windpipe if not chewed fully.

Apple seeds

Apples are good for dogs in small quantities as long as the seeds and core are carefully removed.  The casing of apple seeds is toxic to them because they contain a natural chemical, called amygdalin, that releases cyanide when digested.

Avocado, especially the pit

Avocados contain persin, an ingredient that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and heart congestion. If a dog eats a small piece of it, it will probably be okay but it’s safer to keep it closely monitored. On the other hand, the pit of the avocado is the most dangerous part of the fruit, as it can be a choking hazard and is also full of persin, in quantities very toxic to a dog. A vet should be consulted immediately if a dog chews on one.

Bones, cooked

Raw bones are suitable for a dog, as long as you make sure that they are fresh and from a trustworthy source, so they won’t carry Salmonella or E. coli, which can be harmful to both pets and humans. Cooked bones, on the other hand, can easily splinter when chewed by a dog and create terrible damage, from constipation at best to perforation of the gut at worse, which could be fatal.


Caffeine contains substances called methylxanthines, which are very dangerous to a dog’s health. When ingested by dogs, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.


Sugar free candies are to be avoided at all cost as they can contain xylitol, a highly toxic substance for dogs See Xylitol in this list to learn more.

Cat Food

The protein and fat levels in cat food are too high for your dog. Feeding a dog cat food could lead to an upset stomach, obesity, and pancreatitis.Cherries
The flesh part of cherries is okay for dogs to eat but the seed and cherry plan contain cyanide, a substance highly toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, leading in your dog’s blood cells not getting enough oxygen. Cyanide poisoning will result in symptoms like dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums.

Chewing gums

Chewing gums often contain xylitol, a highly toxic substance for dogs. See Xylitol in this list to learn more.


All foods from the onion family are to be avoided. See onions to learn more.


This might be the most known “no-no” in the toxic-for-dog food list. Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, found in the cacao seeds, which are very dangerous to a dog’s health. When ingested by dogs, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. The darker the chocolate, the more methylxanthines it contains.


Cinnamon is not toxic to dogs per se but it can irritate the inside of dogs’ mouths. It can also lower a dog’s blood sugar so much that it leads to diarrhea, vomiting, increased, or decreased heart rate, and even liver disease.


Citric acid is present in the stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants. It can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. In small doses it is fine and should not present problems beyond minor stomach upset.


Coffee contains substances called methylxanthines, which are very dangerous to a dog’s health. When ingested by dogs, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.


Garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. It can create anemia in dogs, causing side effects such as pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness, and collapse. The effects of garlic poisoning can have delayed symptoms so if a dog has eaten some it is necessary to monitor it for a few days.


Recently, veterinarians have discovered that grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs without identifying which substance is responsible for this reaction. Raisins should also be avoided for this reason also.

Macadamia nuts

Those are the most poisonous nuts for dogs. Consuming them can cause vomiting, weakness, depression, increased body temperature (hyperthermia), inability to walk, lethargy and affect the nervous system.


Nuts, including almonds, pecans and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even pancreatitis in dogs. Almonds are a choking hazard (see “Almonds” above) and Macadamia nuts are a huge no-no.

Persimmon, Peach & Plum Pits

Pits and seeds from peaches, plums and persimmon have cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs.


Onions, leeks, and chives are part of a family of plants called Allium that is poisonous to dog, and most pets, and should never been consumed in any formed (cooked, raw, powder…). They can lead to red blood cell damage, making them rupture. In less severe cases a dog can also experience vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea. Signs of illness can appear several days after consumption and dogs should be monitored if you suspect they ate any.


See Grapes.

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener

Xylitol is a type of artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free products, from candy to nut butters. It creates an insulin release in dogs, which can lead to liver failure, blood clotting, seizures and brain damage. Always check the label for anything claiming to be “sugar free” or “no sugar added”, as this is a clue for the possible use of Xylitol in a product.


Yeast will expand in a dogs’ stomach the same way it rises in bread. It can lead to gas, lots of farting, and discomfort. In the worst cases it could rupture their stomach and intestines. Also, yeast can ferment in the dog’s stomach and create alcohol, leading to alcohol poisoning.


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