Learn How To Pick Up A Dog Properly

Whether your dog is small or large, old or young, you really should learn how to pick up a dog without hurting it in any way. Most people pick their dogs up in the same way they would carry a baby; they just put their hands under the dog’s front legs and lift. But that can cause pain to the dog because you’re stretching their back in a really uncomfortable way. So, what is the correct way? Keep reading and find out one of the most common correct ways of picking up a dog.

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How do you know you’re doing it wrong?

Are you pulling its legs… literally?

The limbs of pets are very sensitive and that is especially true for dogs. You simply can’t use them to support their entire weight. As silly as this sounds, this mistake is still very common. Have you ever seen a kid trying to pick up their dog by lifting their front legs? Well, this is exactly what I’m talking about. If you see this, you should immediately bring it to the attention of their parents.

However, it isn’t just common for kids to pick up dogs wrong. Adults do this too, as we have already mentioned! That’s right, picking up your dog like you’d pick a baby up is very dangerous and painful for your pet.

Are you pulling its nape?

As rare as this is, there are still people who have small or young dogs who pick them up by pulling on their nape! Sure, perhaps it was normal for them to be carried this way by their mother when they were puppies, but this is no longer the case. This was only done in a very early period of their life, and grown dogs really aren’t comfortable when they are carried this way. Since you don’t want to cause your dog pain, try carrying your dog some of the ways mentioned below!

Don’t you think it hurts them?

At this point you might start arguing, saying that all the information we just mentioned is false because you do all of that but your dog doesn’t seem hurt. Well, most inexperienced pet owners think if their dog doesn’t yelp or bark, it doesn’t hurt them at all! Again, this isn’t really true. The thing is that some dogs are more dramatic than others and try to fight back immediately. But some dogs will tolerate you and keep up with the stressful situation, even to the point of pain. Thankfully, you can see if your pet is in distress by some of the common signs of anxiety.

Do you pull on their collar?

Another thing that seems really stupid, but is still practiced by certain owners of small-sized dogs: they pull their dog up by their collar while lifting. Again, this is very rare but people should still be aware not to do this. People tend to pull on the collar as a way to distribute weight while lifting the actual dog up, but this is very bad and painful for the dog since you’re literally choking them. Doing this could cause serious damage to their neck and great distress and anxiety.

The proper way to pick up a dog

Find the right points

It is rather simple once you learn how to pick up your dog, and by then your dog will know what to expect in the situation too. The steps you need to take to ensure that you’re safely picking up your dog are the following:

  1. Crouch down near the dog
  2. Put your main hand behind the dog’s back legs
  3. Put your other hand on its chest
  4. Start slowly lifting the dog up
  5. As you do, push its body against your chest

This way the dog won’t experience any pain and neither will your lower back. However, you can also use a dog carrier for smaller dogs, like the Alfie – Chico Reversible Pet Sling Carrier.

Alfie Pet - Chico Reversible Pet Sling Carrier

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Picking up your dog properly makes it feel comfortable

Give it a verbal sign

Another great way to ensure a stress-free experience is to give your dog a verbal sign that you’re going to pick it up. For some dogs, especially small ones, getting lifted can be an unexpected experience that causes them anxiety.

However, through enough repetition and experience, you can teach them when to expect to become airborne! Just choose a word to say before you start to lift so they know what is coming.

Lifting up a large dog

The steps previously listed were for dogs less than 40 pounds. For anything above that weight, we seriously recommend you to get someone’s help. Simply doing it alone won’t do the trick! So, don’t feel overconfident and reckless, get a friend to lift your dog’s abdomen and back end while you lift the dog’s chest. Note that the bigger they are, the more likely they are going to struggle against you, so keep an eye out and don’t risk dropping your dog.

Lifting an injured dog

Having to go through the pain of seeing your dog injured might be one of the cruelest experiences you can go through, especially if your dog broke a bone or something similar. But there is still hope; you just need to move it to a safe place. What you’re supposed to do is get a large towel or any large fabric item, and push your dog safely bit by bit towards it. When done, fold the edges of the fabric over your friend and pull it up. Please take care to ensure that it’s a flat angle so you don’t put pressure on its upper or bottom part.


Now, that you have learnt how to pick up a dog, please carry your dog safely and take care of it. Pets do not always express pain, but they still feel it the same way we do. So, now love your pup and handle it with utmost care and compassion.


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