Pet Flipping: How To Prevent Pet Theft

How to protect your beloved pooch from this crime trend that’s on the rise.

Have you ever heard of Pet Flipping? It’s also known as pet theft or dog napping, and it’s on the rise across the nation. Hoping to make a quick profit off of your pooch, these despicable thieves steal for several reasons: to sell your dog on Craigslist; to collect the reward money; to use in dog fighting rings; or to use as breeding dogs in puppy mills. It makes my stomach turn to know that there are people out there who can be capable of doing such horrible things to animals, and it’s up to pet parents to protect our pets from these urban poachers.

Here are a few things you can do to prevent pet flipping and keep your dog safe and sound in your loving home:

Keep Pets Indoors

The safest place for your dog when you can’t be watching him is indoors. We’re not trying to say that you can’t let him out in the backyard to run around and do his business. With pet flippers keeping an eye out for unattended dogs in backyards, you’ll need to stay with him as he gets his fresh air. Thieves will often watch a particular neighborhood to see what homes have dogs, who leaves them out for long periods of time and which backyards are easily accessible. If the kids are outside playing with your pooch, be sure to explain how important it is to watch the dog at all times.

Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended in Public Places

When I’m just going in for a coffee/pick up a couple of things/deposit this check, I see dogs tied up outside storefronts every day or left in the car by themselves, and I cringe to see them on their own. What was once an ordinary practice has become an easy mark for pet flippers. All these thieves need is a few moments before untying your dog or opening a car door, and walking off with him…and without anyone the wiser. If you have to get a coffee or run an errand, do it without the dog. Take him for a walk, leave him at home, and then go get your cup of joe.

Keep Proof of Ownership

Whether it’s from an adoption agency or breeder, keep your proof of ownership in a safe spot. These can also include registration (with a club or city), microchipping, and vet bills. If someone does steal your dog and is appended or tries to sell your dog to an unsuspecting new family, you’ll be able to prove ownership when reunited. You’ll also need these papers (with your name on them) if a break or relationship goes bad and your former partner/roommate takes your pet. Microchipping is vital for getting your dog back home—this little rice-sized chip, inserted under your dog’s skin, keeps all his vitals with him, no matter where he is and can be traced back to you.

Keep It to Yourself

If someone comes up to admire your pup while on a walk and starts asking questions, be careful what information you tell them. Don’t be rude or suspicious of everyone who asks—in most cases, it’s harmless. However, when they start asking about how much your dog cost or ask details about where you live, it’s time to continue on your way with a “sorry, we’ve got to get back to our walk!”

Spay/Neuter Your Dog

It’s not just for your dog’s health—if you’ve got a pure breed pooch, spaying or neutering your dog will help make your best friend less desirable of a target to thieves. If your dog can’t produce puppies, these people won’t be able to make a profit off of him/her.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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