Dognapping probably isn’t high on your list of worries, but experts say it should be! According to The American Kennel Club, dog theft is up 70%. In fact, stealing dogs has become so profitable, that police in Britain suspect organized crime rings are targeting specific dogs in order to fill online shopping orders! The breeds that are most likely to be stolen are Terriers, Pomeranians, and Labs because they can fetch prices as high as $1,000.

If you own a Pit Bull, your dog’s also a target – but for scarier reasons. A lot of them are being stolen to participate in illegal dogfights. And even if you own a mutt, you can’t afford to breathe a sign of relief. Because a lot of mixed breed dogs are being stolen, and sold as research animals. So, how can you keep your pet safe?

  • Never leave your dog alone unless they’re in a secure place. And experts say a fenced yard is not secure. That’s because dognappers have started casing neighborhoods, and stealing several animals at a time. Whether you leave your dogs outside all day, or inside with a doggy door, you’d be smart to invest in audible alarms on your house and the gates to your backyard.

  • Never leave your dog in a car, or tied up outside a coffee shop while you get a latte to go. Most dogs that are tied up outside stores are fairly friendly, and will often obey commands from perfect strangers. And experts say it takes less than 20 seconds to smash a car window and disappear with your dog.

  • Make sure you microchip your dog. If the worst happens, the chip number can be placed on The National Crime Information Center’s “Stolen Article” list. Of course, that’s no guarantee – but it greatly increases the chances you’ll get your best friend back.