The idea has come from the missing children milk carton campaign which featured in 1980s USA

The numbers of dogs stolen and missing has escalated in the past few years.  Thieves have been particularly targeting working dogs which are known to be well socialised and good natured. The price of puppies has risen incredibly, making working dogs more valuable than ever. (Read our advice on keeping your gundogs safe from theft.)

Stolen and missing dog help

To help with the issue, The Farmer’s Dog has joined forces with DogLost, a voluntary organisation that helps stolen and missing dog owners,

The Farmer’s Dog UK is fixing stickers with the profiles of six missing dogs produced by DogLost onto their mail order boxes of raw dog food.

How it works

Customers wanting to help take a photograph of the sticker and share on their social media channels to help the search for the missing dogs. The stickers will be changed at the end of each month, so in a year The Farmer’s Dog will have highlighted seventy-two stolen and long-term missing dogs.

Dog theft video: How to make sure yours aren’t next

Why more dogs are being stolen

Since the beginning of the pandemic the demand for dogs has risen extraordinarily as workers and families spend more time at home.  In the first six months of lockdown, it was estimated that 2m dogs were purchased within the UK. (Read here on how to avoid buying a stolen dog.)

DogLost

DogLost is run by volunteers and has reported hundreds of cries for help from owners reporting their dogs lost or stolen.  Penalties for dog-theft are low. Dogs have been stolen from locked kennels and country gardens.

Prevent your dog being stolen

DogLost advises these five tips to safeguard your dog.

· Microchip your dog – microchipping is now required by law. This ensures that your dog can easily be identified and returned to you if they get lost or stolen.

· Social media settings – consider making your social media accounts private as thieves can easily identify targets through these channels.

· Stay alert – beware of strangers and do not let your dog off the lead unless you are sure that they will return.

· Security – make sure your garden is secure and that any gates are locked or have an alarm. Do not leave your dog outside alone for any length of time.

· Insure your dog – and consider policies that include ‘missing pet cover’

Brian Balston, The Farmer’s Dog commented: “The Farmer’s Dog are excited to launch our “missing” campaign with DogLost, a voluntary organisation which does incredible work in returning dogs to their owners. We have a nationwide customer base of dedicated dog owners; we are excited to be working with DogLost and we hope that our collaboration helps dogs returned to their rightful owners.”

Justine Quirk of DogLost said: “With dog ownership in the UK at an all-time high, unfortunately so is dog theft. Last year we had 465 reported thefts and to date in 2021 we have had 254 reported stolen.”

We are delighted that The Farmer’s Dog came to us with their “missing” campaign concept which, with the benefit of social media, can only help us in our mission to reunite stolen dogs with their owners.”