One In Five Pet Owners Who Have Lost Their Dogs And Cats Suspect Theft

05 December 2011

According to new research from Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance, some 19% of people who have had a pet cat or dog go missing during the past five years suspect their animal was stolen. Pedigree cats and dogs can be worth thousands of pounds and are usually stolen for breeding, with thieves standing to make large financial gains from the resale of the animal itself or its offspring. Just as sinister are those instances where pet owners are held to ransom for the safe return of their pet.

A number of high profile pet theft cases have been reported over the last few years, including Bruce Forsyth, Liz Hurley and Paris Hilton, who either made appeals or offered a reward for the return of their animals.

Overall, 8% of cat and dog owners have lost their pets over the past five years and never saw them again.  In total, at some stage since 2006, 27% of owners lost their pets; some 9% believe that it is ‘very likely’ their pet was stolen and 10% think it is ‘quite likely’ they were taken.

Missing pet cats and dogs over the past five years(1) Percentage of cat and dog owners
Went missing but returned of their own accord  15%
Went missing but I was able to find them  13%
Went missing and they were returned to me by someone else  9%
Went missing and never found them  8%
Went missing but were found dead 8%

Commenting on the findings, Helen Williams, Head of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance, said: “Unfortunately Pets frequently go missing, they may escape the garden boundary or simply be taken when the owner is not looking, making for a very stressful time. There is a lot you can do to increase the chances of finding your lost pet, including making sure that they are micro-chipped, however, our research shows that 37% of cats and dogs are not chipped.”

Type of cat/dog(1) Percentage that are not micro-chipped
Pedigree cat 49%
Pedigree dog 28%
Cross breed cat 52%
Cross breed dog 34%
All cats and dogs 37%
Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance(2) offers £1,000 towards the advertising costs to find lost pet cats and dogs that it insures.  It also offers £250 towards a reward for the pet to be returned and £750 if the animal strays or is stolen.(2)

Sainsbury’s Finance’s offers the following tips for pet owners to keep their pets safe:

• Make sure your pet has a collar, with its name and a contact number attached
• Get your pet micro-chipped – this takes seconds and is virtually painless. Consult your local vet for details
• Keep garden boundaries as secure as possible to prevent your dog from escaping, this will also help deter thieves
• Always supervise your dog, whether in public or out in the garden
• Avoid tying your dog up outside a shop or leaving it unattended
• If you use a dog walker, make sure they are trustworthy
• When walking your dog, vary your routes
• Neutering your pet might help to recover them sooner should they be taken for breeding purposes.
Quality pet insurance does not need to be expensive, good cover at a competitive price can be found by shopping around for the best deal, and its essential to compare policies on a like for like basis – comparing on price alone could be disastrous. Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance offers an extensive range of benefits at a competitive price.  For further information call 0800 056 5758, log on to or pick up a leaflet in a Sainsbury’s supermarket.


For further information, please contact:
Phil Anderson
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7638 9571

Notes to Editors:
(1) ICM interviewed a random sample of 2023 adults aged 18+. The interviews were conducted via an online omnibus survey between 18th – 20th May 2011.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information available Figures include those people who previously owned a cat and dog.
(2) For full terms and conditions of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance policy visit

Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance is underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.





Notes to editors/webmasters Sainsbury’s pet insurance cover: (note, a lower level cover option is also available)

Veterinary Fees Up to £7,500 per condition (includes up to £1,000 per condition for complementary treatments and £250 a year for behavioural problems).
Personal Liability Up to £2,000,000
Emergency Boarding Kennels / Cattery Fees Up to £100 a week  (max £1,000)
Daily Minding Up to £100 a week  (max £1,000)
Advertising Costs
– reward limit Up to £1,000
Theft or Straying Up to £750
Death Caused by Injury Up to £1,500
Death by Illness Up to £1,000
Trip Cancellation or Return Home Up to £3,000
Expenses for referral to another vet Up to £150
Accidental damage  Up to £500
Damage to kennel or basket Up to £100
Personal accident to the owner £5,000
Quarantine costs  Up to £2,000
Loss of Health Certificate  Up to £250
Repeat Tick and worming treatment Reasonable costs
Emergency expenses abroad Up to £500

Sainsbury’s Finance:
To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury’s Finance online media centre

Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Finance provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times.  Our products consistently top Best Buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.
Sainsbury’s Finance recent awards include Best Overall Online Provider, Best Online Pet Insurance Provider, Best Online Personal Loan Provider and Best Direct Home Insurance Provider at the Your Money Awards 2011. It was also named Most Competitive Term Assurance Direct Provider at the Moneyfacts Awards 2011.
Sainsbury’s Finance is a joint venture between J.Sainsbury plc and Lloyds Banking Group.
For further information and general Sainsbury’s Finance enquiries customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit

Notes to editors/webmasters

If using this article on a website, please link using the following hyperlink text at the bottom of the article:
<a href=””>Sainsbury’sPet Insurance</a>

If using this article on a website, please link using the following hyperlink text at the bottom of the article:
<a href=” s”>Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance</a>