For a dog owner there is nothing more distressing that finding that their pet has gone missing, particularly if they suspect that they may have been stolen.

And while this is thankfully a rare occurrence, pet theft does seem to be on the increase, so it is essential that dog owners do everything they can to keep their pooches safe and prevent this from happening.

This is why Dog Union and VioVet have launched the first ever Pet Theft Awareness Week, which will run from March 14th - 20th to raise awareness of the problem of animals being stolen.

The campaign will be conducted via the internet and social media, and through the distribution of a number of hard-hitting posters and a wealth of information on the theme of pet theft.

It will also provide owners with advice to help ensure that they never have to experience canine theft, including making sure your garden is secure, practising your recall with your pooch regularly using premium dog food treats and being aware of what's going on around you when you're out and about with your pup.

"We would always suggest making sure that a pet is microchipped, and that details are kept up to date with a microchip database, such as Petlog," said Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko. "This will help to ensure that the pet is reunited with its owner more quickly should it go missing."

Microchipping is a simple and virtually painless procedure that should be carried out as soon as possible after you bring your new dog home, and it can prove to be incredibly important should your pet be lost or stolen.

Ms Kisko added: "Owners of all pets should be vigilant when out and about, and dog owners can visit the Kennel Club's Open for Dogs website, in association with Dog Friendly, to find places across the UK that welcome dogs, so they can avoid having to leave them tied up outside businesses."

Written by: Hannah