Lost and hound: Five dogs go missing in UK every day

RSA Group

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Research by MORE TH>N shows five dogs go missing in the UK every day

  • Research reveals that one in 10 dog owners have experienced their dog going missing—either stolen, run away or missing without explanation;
  • Official police data shows 1,670 dogs were reported missing last yearthe equivalent of at least five dogs every day; and
  • One in five dogs are not microchipped despite it being compulsory by law and an effective way of finding a missing dog.

According to new research1 released today by pet insurers MORE TH>N, five dogs go missing in the UK every single day. Some are stolen, some run away, others simply vanish without an explanation.

Whatever the cause it’s something that 10% of dog owners in Britain have sadly experienced in their lives—an estimated 807,000 dogs2.

The research, conducted with 1,000 dog owners and freedom of information (FOI) requests to 20 police forces3, sought to catalogue in detail the full extent of missing pets in Great Britain. According to official police data, throughout 2015 there were 1,670 dogs reported missing. That’s the equivalent of five dogs every day, and an estimated total value of £422,8054.

The true figure could be much, much higher

However, these are only the missing dogs brought to the attention of authorities. The true figure could be much, much higher.

The FOI research points to Northamptonshire (22%), Kent (20%) and West Yorkshire (11%) as having the biggest problem with missing dogs. Conversely, the regions with the smallest number of reported missing dogs were Cheshire (0.5%), Surrey (0.7%) and Gloucester (1.2%).

The heartache of a missing dog could be avoided to some extent by ensuring the animal is microchipped. Indeed, despite the microchipping of dogs now compulsory by UK law, almost one in five (18%) dog owners surveyed by MORE TH>N have failed to get their dog microchipped. 

What’s more, 28% of these dog 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.

Microchips proven effective in reuniting missing dogs with their owners

This is despite the research by MORE TH>N that proves microchipping can help return missing pets to their homes. One in eight (13%) dog owners who reported their dogs missing were reunited with their beloved pet because the police were able to directly identify it through its microchip. 

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.”

—ENDS—

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Notes to Editors

  1. Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MORE TH>N. 1,000 dog owners were polled.
  2. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association there are an estimated 8.5 million dogs in the UK. 9.5% of 8.5 million is approximately 807,500.
  3. Results collated from 20 freedom of information requests with the following Police forces: Dover, Cheshire, Surrey, Gloucester, Teeside, Durham, Dyfed Powes, North Yorkshire, Suffolk, Warwickshire, British Transport Police, Lancashire, Essex, Bristol, Thames Valley, Devon & Cornwall, South Wales, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Kent, Northamptonshire
  4. According to the research conducted by MORE TH>N with 1,000 dog owners, the average amount they paid for their dog was £297.75. Of these, 15% did not pay for their dog. 85% of 1,670 is 1,420. 1,420 multiplied by £297.75 is £422,805.