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Pet owners urged to check cover against thefts

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Animal owners have been encouraged to check that their pet insurance covers them in the event that their pet is stolen, after a spike in dog thefts.

According to the charity DogLost, there has been a massive 170% jump in dog thefts since lockdown started, while escalating demand has meant that the price of some breeds of puppies has rocketed.

GoCompare said that it has seen huge price increases for the likes of Cocker Spaniels (up by nearly 50% since 2019) and small crossbreed puppies (up by 69% on 2019 prices).

However, while thefts are on the rise, not all pet insurance policies offer sufficient cover in the event that your dog is stolen.

The price comparison site dug into the details of 409 pet insurance policies on the market today, and found that while nearly three quarters (74%) of them offer cover for the theft or loss of a dog as standard, in many cases even a payout would not cover the average cost of a puppy in 2021.

Just a quarter of policies cover for loss or theft of a dog of £1,500 or more, while one in five (21%) provide cover for dogs of a value of between £1,000 and £1,499.

Sally Jaques, head of business development at GoCompare, noted that many people who had been dreaming of owning a dog took the plunge during lockdown, which is why the price of a dog has risen so sharply of late.

She continued: “But, worryingly, that rise seems to have coincided with an increased number of dogs going missing, presumed stolen, so it’s absolutely crucial that pet owners make sure they know what they are covered for on their pet insurance policy, should the worst happen. We know that owning a pet isn’t all about the money, but pet insurance policies can help you offer a reward to find your lost or stolen pet as well as advertise for its safe return.”

Keeping your dog safe

So what can you do to protect your pooch from dog thieves that may be active in your area?

Here is a handful of tips from GoCompare:

  • Get your dog microchipped and keep the details updated. This will mean that you dog can be easily identified ‒ and reunited with you ‒ if it is stolen.
  • Only leave your dog alone in the garden if it is secure and your dog isn’t visible. Fitting a bell to any gates means you’ll be able to hear when it opens or closes.
  • Try to avoid leaving your dog tied up alone outside a shop, or in your car. It’s too easy for thieves to quickly make off with them.
  • Take clear pictures of your dog so that you have something to show the police or use in any posters if your dog is stolen.
  • Make sure your dog has a home address and contact number on a tag on its collar.

A recent study by Which? cast light on the rocketing cost of pet insurance, with some owners forking out more than £1,000 a year to protect their pets.

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