These are some precautions you can take to minimise the risk of your pet being taken.
We're a nation of dog lovers, and with so many of us working from home, demand for our four-legged friends – and the price of them – has soared during the pandemic.
But anything of value is at risk of being stolen, and dog theft has risen too.
The increase is thought to be linked to the rise in the cost of puppies as people look for companionship during lockdown.
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It is a legal requirement for a dog to have an ID tag with your name and address on it. The RSPCA also recommends including your mobile phone number on any ID tag as this can help reunite you with your pet quickly should they ever get lost or stolen.
"With the lockdown and more people working from home more people have become dog owners and demand has gone up – sometimes resulting in criminals taking advantage by stealing dogs to sell them on," a spokesman for Lancashire Police said.
"Dogs are often part of the family and we appreciate the heartache and distress that having a pet stolen can cause."
"We would urge owners to report all thefts to us but there are also precautions you can take to deter thieves and minimise the risk of your pet being taken."
Here are Lancashire Police's tips for keeping your dog safe:
Lock gates and ensure there are no places where dogs or other animals can escape or be pulled through, if they are left in a back garden for example.
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As well as checking your garden to make sure it's secure, it's also suggested to fit a bell to the gate so you hear if anyone opens it.
Thieves can take advantage of an unsupervised dog left out in the garden, so be sure to keep an eye on them at all times.
Microchip your pet and keep the details up to date so that if your pet does go missing or is stolen then there is a higher chance they can be reunited. It is a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped in England and Wales
Don’t be tempted to leave your dog tied outside of a shop or other public spaces, this creates an ideal opportunity for thieves. If you have errands to run, leave your dog at home so that they’re not left outside or take someone with you.
Keep recent photographs of your pet and make a note of any distinguishing features.
If you suspect your dog has been stolen, it’s important to act quickly.
Immediately report the theft to the police, your local council’s warden, neighbouring local authorities, your vet and your dog’s microchip company. You can also spread the word on social media, create posters and flyers and report the theft on as many missing animal websites as you can. Anyone with information about a stolen dog, or suspicious behaviour, can report it to police on 101 or online at www.lancashire.police.uk.