If you are a dog owner, you may have heard of a new app called Meet My Dog Challenge, which helps you find and set up playdates for your dog based on their profile, preferences, and location. The app is developed by Momo Project, a pet wellness platform that aims to help dog owners raise healthy and happy pets. However, before you download the app and start sharing your dog’s details with strangers, you may want to consider the potential risks involved.
What is Meet My Dog Challenge?
Meet My Dog Challenge is a social-media-inspired app that allows you to create a profile for your dog, where you can enter information such as their weight, age, and style of play. Then, you can browse other dogs’ profiles in your area and see if they are compatible with your pup. You can also use the app’s ‘Playdates’ feature to host or join a private or public playdate event to chat with other participants and coordinate the details. Additionally, you can create or join groups based on your interests or needs, such as breed, activity level, or location.
The app is free to download and use and is available for iOS and Android devices. The app claims to be a fun and convenient way to help your dog socialize and exercise, which can improve their physical and mental health. You can also meet new people who share your love for dogs and make new friends. Moreover, you can learn from other dog owners and get advice on caring for your pet.
What are the risks?
While Meet My Dog Challenge may sound like a great idea, it also has some potential dangers you should know. One of them is the risk of dog theft. According to a dog lover who claims to be a former police officer, posting a photo and information about your dog on social media could make it much easier for thieves to target their next victim. You are essentially advertising your dog’s breed, size, age, location, and personality to anyone looking for a specific type of dog to steal.
Dog theft has significantly increased across the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pet thefts have spiked, and the price of puppies soared during the lockdown, according to recent research by the non-profit organization DogLost UK. Reports of stolen dogs are 65% higher in some areas of the UK compared to previous years. It’s believed some pedigree dogs are being specifically targeted due to this increased demand and price. The rise in pet ownership during lockdown has increased demand, making dog theft an evermore lucrative crime.
Another risk of using social pages or apps like Meet My Dog Challenge is encountering irresponsible or malicious dog owners who may not have your dog’s best interest at heart. For example, some people may use the app to lure unsuspecting dog owners into unsafe or secluded areas where they can harm or rob them. Some people may also use online pages and app to expose their dogs to other dogs that are aggressive, sick, or unvaccinated, which could result in injuries or diseases for your dog.
How to keep your pet safe?
If you decide to use Meet My Dog Challenge or any similar app or platform, you should take precautions to protect yourself and your pet from potential threats. Here are some tips from the RSPCA on how to keep your pet safe from thieves:
Get your dog microchipped as the best way to be reunited with your dog if it becomes lost or stolen. It’s now a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped. Still, the key thing is that you must keep your contact details up to date on the database so that if you move home or change your phone number, you can still be contacted if your dog is found.
Don’t leave your dog unattended in public places like outside shops or cars.
Be careful when choosing a dog walker or sitter. Check their references and credentials before entrusting them with your pet.
Be wary of strangers who approach you or show interest in your dog. Don’t give out too much information about your dog or yourself.
Vary your walking routine and avoid walking in isolated areas.
Secure your garden and home with locks, gates, fences, and CCTV cameras.
Report any suspicious activity or incidents to the police.
When using Meet My Dog Challenge or similar apps:
Don’t share too much personal information about yourself or your dog on your profile. Avoid revealing details such as your full name, address, phone number, email address, workplace, etc.
Use a secure password for your account, and don’t share it with anyone.
Check the reviews and ratings of other users before contacting them or agreeing to meet them.
Only meet other users in public and well-lit places familiar to you and your dog.
Bring a friend or family member when meeting other users for the first time.
Don’t leave your dog alone with strangers or let them take it for a walk without you.
Trust your instincts and be alert for any red flags or warning signs. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, end the meeting and leave immediately.
Meet My Dog Challenge is a fun app that can help you find and set up playdates for your dog based on their profile, preferences, and location. However, it also comes with risks you should know about, such as dog theft and irresponsible or malicious dog owners. Following simple tips and precautions, you can keep yourself and your pet safe from threats and enjoy the app’s benefits. Always put your dog’s welfare first, and be careful who you trust online. #KeepYourDogsSafe.