Missing dog poster

What to do if your dog is stolen

If your dog is stolen, Gardaí are appealing to people to report the dog theft as soon as possible.  

In the last few weeks, there has been a massive increase in the number of dogs being stolen. Now more than ever our social media feeds are filled with images of missing dogs. There's nothing more heartbreaking for a dog owner than to have their dog taken away from them!  The rise in dog theft has been put down to money. An RTÉ report claims that prices for pets on line "has gone through the roof".  Dogs are selling online in the region €600 upwards. 

That's why it's so important that anybody who owns a dog is taking extra precautions right now.  As a community, we must stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity and keep our pets extra safe. 

How you can protect your dog


If you haven't microchipped your dog yet, you definitely should.  First of all it is a legal requirement and responsible pet parenting. Secondly, it is the most effective way of dog and owner being reunited. This is the process where a tiny chip is inserted under your dogs skin. If somebody finds a lost dog then they can bring them to the local vets, where they can be scanned for the chip. It allows your dog to be traced back to you if they ever go missing or are stolen. 

Another form of tracking your dog would be to use the Spotted Dog Tag, which connects to an app on your phone. Even if the thief removes your dogs collar, you will at least be able to see their last location.

Don't leave your dog unattended in public

Whatever you do, don't leave your dog tied up on a leash outside the shop. Even if you're just going in for a minute, it's not worth the risk! The same goes for leaving your dog in the car. This is not only a dangerous risk to your dogs health (especially in hot weather), but also tempts any thieves that are around to break in and take them. 

Always keep your dog on a lead

No matter what, always keep your dog on a lead. Thieves will find it much easier to snatch up a dog that's not on a lead. It's better to be vigilant and keep them at your side at all times. 

Be wary of strangers

Be cautious of strangers who are asking too many questions, such as where you live or what breed your dog is. 

Vary your walking patterns

Don't allow thieves to track your walking route and plan around it - make sure you switch up your walking routine.

Report any suspicious activity to your local authority

Make sure to report any suspicious activity in your area immediately to your local community watch alert or local authorities. 

Get somebody to pet-sit

If you work every day and are worried about your dog, get a neighbour or a friend to keep an eye on them. They could either mind them for the day at their house or call over to check on them regularly. If you live in an isolated area and don't have anybody close by to mind, check to see if there is a pet sitter in your area. 

What to do if your dog is stolen

  • Report the theft immediately to the Gardai.
  • Bring it to social media - Post photos on social media and into pages and groups, encouraging people to share your posts.
  • Report it on as many missing animal pages and websites as possible.
  • Inform your vet and your dogs microchipping company.
  • Check selling pages and social media regularly.
  • Print out flyers and posters that you can distribute.

Why are dogs stolen?

There are a few different reasons why dogs are stolen. Here are the main reported reasons:

  1. Resale: Many thieves target pure bred dogs in order to sell them again. That's why it's so important to do a thorough background check when buying a dog from somebody. Make sure to ask the seller to see the dogs family members like the parents, grandparents and siblings. If the seller is trying to rush the sale, don't buy the puppy. If the seller isn't interested in your life or how you will take care of the dog, this is also a bad sign. Ask as many questions as you can to be sure that the seller is trustworthy.
  2. Breeding: Some dogs are stolen and taken to puppy farms, where they will be kept simply to breed.  In these circumstances the dogs are often neglected and left in very poor living conditions.  If you are buying from a breeder, ask to see the puppies parents, and other family members.  A reputable breeder will be able and willing to show you.  Visit the place the dog is coming from.  Do not arrange to meet in a car park and purchase in hast.  This is one of the worst outcomes for a dog and why it's so important to adopt, not shop.

Our advice here from Petworld would be simply to adopt, don't shop. We can all make an active stand to reduce this current level of criminal activity, and that is to encourage people to not buy dogs online.   

There is only one way to end these terrible puppy farms and that's to rescue the dogs that need our help! 

We have used the Garda Síochána website as a reference and have followed they recommendations to help protect our family dogs.

As always, if you have any questions our pet experts are always available in our Petworld Stores