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Recommended Security Measures for Assistance Dogs

Dog Theft is on the increase and assistance dog users should be aware of the risks.

In line with the current UK by laws, all dogs including assistance dogs whether in training or qualified must wear a collar and ID tag. These tags must be legibly printed or engraved with accurate and current contact details and worn at all times when the dog is in a public place.

Ensure that your assistance dog is permanently identified by microchip/tattoo as recommended by the individual assistance dog programme that provided your assistance dog or better still a combination of BOTH methods is recommended. Ask your vet to check your dog’s microchip at every check up. Clean the tattoo with surgical spirit regularly, this will make the tattoo much more legible.

Keep all documentation relating to your assistance dog in a safe place. If possible, include clear photos of the front and side profiles of your dog. Make a note of any unusual markings and or scars etc. Record microchip and tattoo numbers and veterinary records.

Be cautious when choosing someone who will care for your assistance dog while you are away at any time. Seek out personal recommendations from dog owners who have used the services of any intended carer. Be clear about when the dog will be handed over and who will collect it. Plan ahead for all instances i.e. in the event of emergency hospitalisation, plan what will happen to your assistance dog.

All UK assistance dogs are trained to a very high international standard and it is important to maintain these standards at all times, re-inforcing that the dog does not to go out of your immediate area on walks and has a quick response to recall is strongly recommended!

Beware of strangers – don’t give out unnecessary personal details about your assistance dog. Resist allowing strangers to have their photograph taken with your dog.

Be very cautious when inviting strangers into your home. If this is necessary it may be appropriate to have someone with you for the duration of the visit.

Where possible it is advisable to vary your daily walk times and routes.

Know where your dog is at all times.

It is strongly recommended that you never leave your assistance dog or puppy in training unattended in a car

It is strongly recommended that you never tie up an assistance dog or puppy in training outside a shop.

A preventative measure of fitting an alarm/bell to your gate so that you can be aware of visitors/trespassers entering your property is strongly recommended

Ensure your fencing is adequate and check it regularly for wear and tear. It should keep your dog in and trespassers out! Try to maintain contact with your dog when it goes out into the garden.

DTA would like to thank the individuals and organisations who co-operated in making these guidelines.

Dog Theft Action would like to thank Neil Ewart GDBA and Allen Parton for their assistance in compiling these recommendations.


The UK's National Lost Pet Microchip database and Lost Pet & Found Pet Reunification service. We are here to help stem the rising tide of dog theft and rural crime in the Thames Valley area. With thanks to Dogs Trust for their support. The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs. DTA is pleased to support Pet Theft Awareness, a campaign which highlights the danger faced by owners of all pets and horses. Please support them! With thanks to Our Dogs for their support.