How are Dogs Stolen or Harmed While on a Walk?

There are a number of dangers that you may encounter when on a walk, but many dog owners or walkers don’t see them coming. It’s important to be familiar with the dangers lurking in public places.

Golden Retriever smiling while on a short leash wearing an orange harness.
Being able to recognize and avoid dangerous scenarios will help to keep your dog with you, healthy and happy, for years to come. Photo by: M. Shea

How are dogs stolen or harmed when on a walk? There are a number of dangers that you may encounter when on a walk, but many dog owners or walkers don’t see them coming. It’s important to be familiar with the dangers lurking in public places. Being able to recognize and avoid these scenarios will help to keep your dog with you, healthy and happy, for years to come.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Why can’t I trust people I meet on walks with my dog?

You’re out walking your dog, enjoying each other’s company, when you meet up with another person. They say they love dogs and ask if it’s ok to pet your doggo.  This must mean they are safe, right?  What if they have a dog too? They must be dog people, right? Not necessarily.  It’s unfortunate,  but it’s not the best practice for a dog parent to trust everyone you meet on the street.  For that matter, it’s best not to trust anyone with your pet if you don’t know them well.  

If you’re looking for pet care, or a dog walker, make sure to do a thorough background check and keep an eye on how your pet acts after being out with anyone new. Dognapping has always existed, but it is a crime that is increasing drastically over the last couple of years.

How common is dog theft or intentional harming of dogs?

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Let’s face it, the chances of anyone stealing or doing anything to intentionally harm your dog is slim, but it happens more often than we care to think.  There are stories of dog walkers who steal dogs; groomers, boarding services and even veterinarians who did not provide the type of care you would expect,  or sadly, who have deliberately neglected or physically harmed dogs in their care.  

There are even instances where people pose as dog walkers, come to pick up the dog and they never return with them.  It is critical that you do your research when hiring someone to provide any kind of care for your doggo.  

For more information on hiring a dog walker,  click here:

How can I prevent my dog from being stolen?

Here are some ways to reduce the risk of your dog being stolen.  

  1. Don’t let your dog run loose in public places. Dogs who run loose can be scooped up and taken faster than you can react.  There are professional dognappers out there who are ready to pounce when you least expect it.
  2. Don’t leave your dog alone in a car.  There are many reasons for this, but in this context, breaking a window and grabbing the dog is a very simple maneuver. 
  3. Don’t leave your dog outside alone.  Leaving your outside, day or night, without supervision, makes it easy for thieves to swoop in and take them.
  4. Keep your dog on a leash that is a reasonable length.  When walking with a dog whose leash is very long, people have been known to cut the lead and scoop the dog up quickly.  Between the shock of what is happening and being 12 feet away from your dog, the thief has a significant head start and can easily get away with your pup.
  5. Be vigilant when walking your dog or playing at the dog park.  Don’t ask someone to hold your dog’s leash while you go to the garbage or keep an eye on your dog while you run to the car for a second.  Take your dog with you if you have to walk away for a moment.

How do people harm dogs that are not in their care?

Another way people deliberately harm your dog is to put poisoned food or treats in areas commonly frequented by dogs, like parks, but there are some that even put things on their own lawn to get rid of the dogs.

True story: A neighbour of mine who lives a few blocks down despises dogs.  She watches out of a small window on the side of her house and yells at people with dogs to stay off of her property.   Unfortunately,  she feels that the sidewalk and boulevard which are city owned property are hers as well.  

After harassing many dog walkers in the area, she actually covered an electrical box on city property near her home with garlic so that the dogs would lick it and become sick or die.  

She definitely has some psychological issues that she is dealing with, and I wish her well,  but in the meantime she could have done some serious damage.  

Not all hazards from strangers are intentional. Some are done purely out of kindness, but the person is not aware of the issues that could arise. 

How a kind gesture can result in your dog getting very sick.

One example that often occurs is having people offer your dog treats.  While this might seem harmless, many dogs have food allergies or sensitivities and cannot eat treats made from certain products. Others may be on a very strict diet for serious medical issues like diabetes or kidney problems.

Another innocent example that can cause severe illness for a lot of dogs is public water bowls.  You often see these on people’s lawns on a hot summer day.  This is a sincere and caring thing to do, but sharing water bowls can spread illnesses, such as kennel cough, like wildfire throughout the community. Don’t let your dog drink from the community bowl at the dog park either.  You are better to carry a water bottle to keep your dog hydrated.  

Another concern with shared water bowls is the bacteria that can develop in a dirty dog bowl.  Your dog can develop severe gastrointestinal issues if the bowl is not cleaned regularly. 

For more info about dirty dog food bowls read this:

Nobody wants to think of all the negative things that can happen all of the time, but it is always best to be aware so that you can prevent nasty things from hurting your pup. 

The old saying that, “prevention is the best medicine “, is very accurate.   Keep this in mind when enjoying an outing with your doggo.  It could save you both a lot of grief.

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The Best Dog Toys for Strong Chewers

My dog loves to chew. He loves to find the weakest part of a toy, rip the seam and take all of the stuffing out. I am excited when a toy lasts more than three days. Finding long lasting dog toys for strong chewers is not an easy task.

Dogs love to chew. Some have a very strong chew reflex and will go through a plush toy in no time. Finding long lasting dog toys for strong chewers is not an easy task

My dog loves to chew. He loves to find the weakest part of a toy, rip the seam and take all of the stuffing out.  I am excited when a toy lasts more than three days.  Besides being expensive, this habit can be concerning as he tends to swallow the stuffing.  I am always afraid he will choke or develop some kind of intestinal blockage.  In the two years since I adopted Zorro I have found some of the best dog toys for strong chewers.  Some have even lasted the entire two years!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

I have put together a list of some of the most durable toys that I have found for dogs that love to chew and destroy!

NOTE: Regardless of the durability of any toy, it it always advised to watch your dog when he is playing with any toy.

Kong Classic Dog Toy

As many of you know, the Kong Classic will withstand the strongest of teeth.  It can be used for interactive play such as a rousing game of fetch, a self-entertaining chew toy when left alone, or you can add treat to the center to make a brain exercising puzzle that will keep your pup busy for quite a while.

They come in various sizes so mouths of every age, shape and size can enjoy.  They even have a specific size and texture suitable for senior dogs or teething puppies. Be sure to choose the most size appropriate Kong for your dog.

Extreme Ball

Kong offers a ball that is great for playing or chewing.  Because it is actually round, as opposed to the classic toy, it rolls well and allows your dog to play a more traditional game of fetch. It provides a great opportunity for keeping that busy jaw entertained.  My dog will go through a tennis ball in a matter of minutes, but the Extreme Ball will keep him working for hours and still stand strong!

Puppy Binkie

Got a teething puppy?  Kong has an answer for that as well.  The Puppy Binkie is a helpful training tool as well as a fun way to keep your puppy busy.  A teething puppy can (and will) find anything in your house to chew on.  I am sure many of you have experienced the chewed shoe when you were getting dressed or a few tooth prints on the edge of your coffee table or base boards.  Having this teething toy as a resource will help your puppy an save your home at the same time.  It also has a space for hiding treats so that your puppy can spend time solving puzzles and  stimulating her brain.

Kong Wubba

I actually discovered this toy through one of my clients.  They have two Shetland Sheep dogs.  One is a senior and the other is 3 years old.  Both dogs love to play, and fetch is the game of choice.  I would visit three times daily and play fetch for 30 minutes with these two and their Wubba.  They would race each other, chew it until it squeaked, wrestle to get the toy away from each other and bring it back.  11 months later, when I returned to work for this family for another week, this same Wubba was there, front and center in their toy room.  It was well worn, but still completely intact.  I was impressed.

Kong Goodie Bone

This is a great alternative to giving your dog a bone.  As bones can cause damage to your dog’s teeth or intestinal blockage and tears, choosing a strong chewing alternative is the best option.  The Kong bone is shaped like a regular bone, allowing the dog to manipulate it in the same way she would a natural bone.  The ability to add treats to the centers offers a the flavored bonus of a natural bone as well.

West Paw Zogoflex Hurley Durable Dog Bone

This bone shaped toy is firm and extremely durable.  It provides the opportunity for the same chewing action as a bone, so your dog will apply her natural chewing instincts.  My dog has been chewing on this bone for over a year and there are only a few minor tooth marks in it.  Although I have never used it in this manner, the company claims it floats. Should you be planning a day at the beach it is best to play with a toy that does not hold water.  In a salt water environment this is a great way for your dog to play while avoiding ingesting salt water, which can cause serious illness.

Dog Rope Toy

A strong, thick rope toy with large, firm knots will provide your dog with plenty of chew time.  I always choose the ropes without fringe so that he cannot pull the threads out. You can play fetch, hide and seek, or tug of war with your pup.  This rope is extremely durable.  We have two; one long one and one about 8 inches long. We have had both for almost 2 years.  Zorro loves to play with it.  He flings in in the air and chases it all by himself.  Other times, he just holds it with his front paws and gnaws on it until he uses up all of his chewing energy. 

K9 Tough Guard Elephant

There are a number of K9 Tough Guard Plush Toys available, and I can only conclude that they are all as durable as the elephant. My dog has had his little purple friend for about 14 months now and, although it is quite tattered, this is the first squeaky toy (called a “Squiggen” in our house) that has ever lasted more than a week. He plays with it daily. It is the toy he brings to the door when we return from work.  He squeaks in routinely and often sits quietly chewing on it. It is the most durable plush toy he has ever had.

Finding long lasting dog toys for strong chewers is not an easy task.  The Kong name is well established as one of the best for chew toys, but there are still some surprising little gems to be found out there.  If you have any recommendations for durable dog toys, please add them in the comment section. My doggo would love to try something new!

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