Social Media & Pet Theft
A Pomeranian dog called Jiff has almost 21 million followers on TikTok, while Nala the cat started out on Instagram with 4.3 million followers. With audiences like that, these beloved pets (and their dedicated owners) can make serious money from advertising sponsorship. Perhaps it's no surprise that the search term “how to make your dog TikTok famous” gets tens of thousands of hits on Google every month.
But even if they're not looking for fame, the everyday pet owner loves to post photos of their furry friends on social media. Unfortunately, ruthless thieves can use your innocent posts to target you. In this article we'll consider how posting on social media can put your pet at risk and look at some simple steps you can take to keep them safe. For example, one quick action you can take is to attach our Safer Pet GPS pet tracker to your pet's collar so you know exactly where they are at all times.
The Rise in Pet Theft
Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, the demand for cats and dogs has skyrocketed. With that increased demand came a steep rise in the cost of puppies and kittens and the subsequent greater incidences of pet theft as criminals try to cash in.
The stats are in, and the numbers are alarming. By 2020, theft of cats had risen by 194% over five years, while dog theft increased by 20% in just one year.
Thieves know that they can sell your beloved pet to someone else, and they know exactly how much they can get for him. For example, a pedigree Shiba Inu puppy that would have cost £1,500 in 2019 is now selling for more than three times that amount, and some French Bulldogs and Pugs are now worth £5K—£10K. There are plenty of people who maybe can't afford those prices but will still pay good money for a dog without any papers at all, even if it comes from a dubious source.
Many thefts might be spontaneous, but it's also true that certain breeds are stolen more often than others, so they are clearly being targeted.
How Thieves Use Social Media to Target Your Pet
You might think that you're reasonably anonymous on social media and that you can post your cute dog photos and cat videos safely. But did you know that when you upload from your phone to social media, it's geotagged with the location the photo was taken? Thieves can use this information to locate where you go with your pet and, potentially, to follow you home.
Not only that, but anyone can read the information on your pet's tag and track down where you live that way. Tags usually also reveal your dog's or cat's name, so a thief can easily trick them into thinking he's a friend they can trust.
With more than a billion people looking at the TikTok hashtag #dog, chances are there will be someone seeing your post that you wouldn't want knowing where you live.
Police and pet charities agree that it's safer not to post your dog or cat on social media, but it seems we just can't resist. Luckily there are some actions you can take to help keep you and your pet out of harm's way.
How to Keep Your Pet Safe on Social Media
If you want to keep your Instagram record of cute dog photos and videos, or even if you're aiming to seize the social media crown from Nala the cat on TikTok, take these sensible precautions to keep you and your pet safe from would-be thieves.
- Keep your social media account set to private and only accept followers who appear as legitimate as possible.
- If you must tag the location of your posts, then schedule them for a different day from your visit there.
- Keep your pet's ID tag hidden from view so that no one can read your address from images or videos.
- Vary your dog walking routine so that thieves can't predict where you will be or when your house is likely to be empty.
- Never, ever talk about how much your pet cost or how valuable they are—either on social media or elsewhere.
- Get a cost-effective Safer Pet pet GPS tracker for your dog or cat so that you know exactly where they are when you're out walking. That way, if they’re nabbed, you'll be able to track their movements to locate them quickly and easily.
These simple precautions will also help keep your pets safe when they're at home without you. If thieves can't identify where you live, then they won't know where to come looking for your pets. You can even keep tabs on your beloved pets while you're out by using the Safer Pet cat GPS tracker. You can safely leave your pets home alone knowing that wherever they are, you can easily follow their movements at any time.