DOG thefts have risen by more than half in the UK during lockdown.

With more Brits spending time at home or out walking, the demand for owning a dog has increased.

However the surge in people wanting a four-legged companion has resulted in the theft of dogs increasing across the UK.

There has been a 65 per cent rise during lockdown compared with the same period last year with many breeds targeted for resale at extortionate prices, or breeding.

Yale, home security specialists, are urging pet owners to ensure their furry family members are kept safe from thieves.

Whether it be when they’re in the home or running around in the garden, it’s important to ensure all access points to the home are secure.

To help combat this increasing threat, Yale have come up with a number of ways owners can make sure their homes are secure in the fight against dog theft.

Walking your dog, the same route everyday can make it easier for thieves to track and plan where your dog could be stolen from. Varying your walks will make it difficult.

It’s important to get your dog microchipped. Although it will not prevent your dog from being stolen, but it will help with identification if it’s found.

Check all locks on doors and windows. If any locks are faulty, loose, or worn consider replacing them.

If your external doors are fitted with a nightlatch, which is started to feel lose, you might want to consider upgrading.

Make sure your perimeter fences and walls are all in good shape. Also, check that any gate locks are in working order, if a replacement is required ensure a maximum or high security padlock with high quality waterproof hasp is used for protection all year round.

Check your security lighting is all working correctly, and that sensors are not obscured by plants or trees. A brightly-lit property is not an attractive proposition for burglars, who prefer dark areas in which to work.

Domestic CCTV is known to be a key deterrent for potential burglars.

Thanks to wireless technology, most security CCTV systems are easy to fit and install and offer great value for money.

Gravel pathways are a low-cost and attractive way to deter thieves from entering your home. It’s almost impossible to step quietly on gravel or other loose surfaces, so intruders are less likely to attempt a break-in.

Keep downstairs windows and dog flaps locked at night when possible. If your pet needs a source of fresh air overnight, consider moving their bed to an upstairs room where it’s safe to open the window.

An alarm acts as a strong visual deterrent, as well as warning you immediately when someone enters your home.

Keep any ladders or tools safely under lock and key. If a burglar can grab a ladder from your garden, there’s a chance they could use it to access your home. Consider locking your ladder with a security cable and a maximum security padlock.