According to research by pet insurer More Th>n, five dogs go missing in the UK each day, for various reasons. Some may be stolen, some run away, while others disappear due to unknown reasons.
Around a tenth of owners in Britain have experienced the tragedy of a lost dog at least once in their lives – an estimated 807,000 animals.
The study was conducted with 1,000 pet owners and 20 police forces in order to explore the full extent of missing pets in the UK. The police data revealed that 1,670 dogs were reported lost in 2015, which is the equivalent of five dogs daily, with an estimated total value of £422,805. It should be noted, though, that these were just the cases reported to the police. The actual number could be higher.
The areas most prone to losing dogs were Northamptonshire (22%), Kent (20%), and West Yorkshire (11%). Meanwhile, the ones with the least cases were Cheshire (0.5%), Surrey (0.7%), and Gloucester (1.2%).
The chances of finding a missing dog are increased if the pet was microchipped, with one in eight (13%) of owners with missing dogs able to find their missing pet because the police identified it due to its microchip. But despite microchipping being mandatory, data shows that almost a fifth (18%) of owners don’t have their dogs microchipped. Around 28% of these owners could not be bothered to get their dog microchipped, one in four were unaware of what a microchip is, while another 16% did not see the point of one.
George Lewis, head of pet insurance, MORE TH>N, said: “Dog owners will typically spend around £10,000 on their dogs during the pets’ lifetime. However, many of these people will put off getting their pets microchipped, despite it being an inexpensive and incredibly quick and simple procedure. Not to mention it’s now compulsory and illegal not to have your dog microchipped.
“Microchipping is always an effective way of helping police, vets and animal shelters identify a missing dog that is brought to them. We hope that the findings of our research will help raise awareness of the number of dogs that go missing across the UK and encourage owners yet to microchip their dogs to do so.”