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Dog Theft Awareness Day: How to protect your pet

On this year’s Dog Theft Awareness Day, Go.Compare Pet Insurance is urging dog owners to check their pet insurance policies to ensure that they are financially protected should someone steal their beloved four-legged friend.

Dog Theft Awareness Day takes place on March 14th and is organised by the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (SAMPA). The day aims to raise awareness of the number of dogs that are stolen every year, which, according to a pet theft report from ADT*, are the most frequently stolen pets in the UK, with 4,403 theft cases between 2019 and 2023.

Ceri McMillan, Go.Compare’s pet spokesperson has commented: “We know that dogs are humans' best friend, but they can also be expensive, making them one of our most valuable assets. Dog theft is a crime that unfortunately shows no signs of slowing down as certain dog breeds can command a large amount of money which makes them an attractive target for thieves looking to cash in.

“While nothing can alleviate the emotional stress of losing a pet, there are certain things you can do which may help if your pet goes missing or is stolen. Many people know that pet insurance can help protect your dogs from illnesses and accidents, but do you know that it can also offer protection against theft? If your pet is insured and has gone missing, many** (74%) policies provide cover for loss or theft, and you may be able to claim for a contribution towards the costs of advertising and offering a reward for its safe return. Although a much-loved pet can never be replaced, if your pet is not found, your insurance may cover either the purchase price or market value of your pet.”

Go.Compare has reviewed 537 pet insurance policies** and found that 395 (74%) included loss or theft cover as standard. When it came to advertising and reward cover, a further 68% provided some sort of cover for the cost of advertising if your pet goes missing or is stolen. However, the amount of cover provided does vary significantly across the market – for example, just over a fifth of policies (118) provide less than £300 in advertising and another fifth (117) provide reward cover.

For owners who are unable to recover lost or stolen pets, it may be possible to claim for the pet’s original purchase price, but you must provide proof of purchase - especially if you’ve paid above market value for a certain breed. Claims for loss or reward tend to require policyholders to report their pet as missing to the police and pet-related services such as vets and animal shelters. So, it is important to check your policy’s terms, conditions and financial limits.       


Tips for protecting your dog from theft:

Earlier this year, the government backed proposals to make stealing cats and dogs a specific criminal offence in England and Northern Ireland. Under the legislation, anyone convicted of the offence could face a fine or a maximum of five years in prison.

Ceri added: “Dog theft is often an organised crime, where thieves may have seen you out walking your dog, spotted it through your window or noticed it outside in your garden. They may know where to find your pet and seize any opportunity to grab it. So, it’s important to be vigilant and take every step you can to protect your pet.”

The comparison site has compiled the guidance below to help you keep your pet safe:

  • Microchipping: Make sure your dog is microchipped and that it is up to date with your latest information. You should also ensure their collar contains information such as your mobile number and address, just in case they’re found and you need to be contacted.

If you are not sure which database your pet's chip is registered with, visit and type in the microchip number. If you don't know the number, ask your vet to scan the chip for the number.

  • What’s in a name? While your dog’s collar should have your contact details, make sure you don’t include your dog’s name on here as this could make it easier for thieves to lure them in and convince anyone else that they’re the rightful owner.
  • Vary your walks: Try and walk in different locations at different times. Some thieves may aim to track your dog and may be waiting on a popular route. You should always be aware of your surroundings, and be mindful if someone stops you and starts asking questions about your dog. If you can, train your pet to respond to commands and not to go with strangers, which can be a crucial factor in preventing pet theft.
  • Never leave your dog out of sight: Don’t leave your dog tied up outside of shops, or out of your view when in the garden or alone in the car. If your dog spends a lot of time in the garden or any outdoor space, make sure it’s secure and check for any gaps in the boundaries of your garden, you could also consider fitting a bell to the gate so you can hear it opening and closing.

If your dog is stolen, the first thing you should do is call the police on 999 and report it as a case of theft, not a lost animal, and make sure you get a crime reference number.

Then you can report the theft to the microchip database, which means that if anyone tries to re-register your dog, you will be notified. Also, spread the word that your beloved pooch is lost, the more people know and the faster you act, the better your chances of getting your dog back home.

For more information about insuring your pet go to

Notes to editors


*Source: Defaqto Matrix of 537 pet insurance products in the market on March 5th 2024 -  instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto). Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number. 

For further information please contact:

Lynsey Walden on,  or Kath Chadwick on

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About Go.Compare

Go.Compare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

It does not charge people to use its services and does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. Go.Compare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. It is this approach to comparing products that secured the company an invitation to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) in 2008, and it is still the only comparison site to be a member of this organisation.

Go.Compare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest and works with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

Go.Compare is part of Future Plc and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

More information can be found here or here


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Rubie Barker