HOW TO Pick up and hold a dog
How to Pick up a Dog Properly
There may be times when you need to pick up your dog. You might need to get him in a car or place him on a table at the vet's office. If your dog is injured, you may even need to lift him to get him to the veterinary hospital. Learn how to safely pick up your dog. This will keep everyone safe and relaxed.
Preparing to Pick Up Your Dog
Get help if your dog is heavy.Most people should avoid lifting a dog of 40 pounds or greater by themselves. Every person will have his own weight limit for lifting, so please think of the safety of your pet and yourself when deciding to pick up your dog.
- Animals will struggle more if they feel like they may fall because they are not supported properly or you are fumbling to hold body parts.
Pick up small dogs properly.Even if your dog weighs less than 20 pounds, it's important to pick him up carefully. Locate your dog's chest right behind the dog’s front legs. Support the dog here when you start to lift. Use your right hand to hold on to the dog’s collar or leash. This keeps him from running away and lets you control his head. Bring your left arm over the top of your dog’s back and lift him from under the chest.
- Bring the dog under your left arm or “wing.” Hold him to your body to minimize wiggling.
Lift heavier dogs with care.If your dog weighs more than 20 pounds, pick him up with one hand under his neck and the other scooped under his rump. At the same time, lift like you're lifting a board.For dogs over 40 pounds, get another person to help. One person will be at the head of the dog with one arm under the neck and the other under the chest. The other person gets a hand under the belly and their other hand scoops under the rump. Lift at the same time.
- The person at the head of the dog will “call the shots” and give directions when to lift at the same time. For instance, you can count to “three” and lift the dog together on “3.”
Learn how to lift a dog in a special circumstance.For a dog in advanced pregnancy, one that has an obviously distended abdomen, avoid the belly area. Lift from under her neck/chest and under the rump. Or, if you suspect your dog has an injured back, lift the dog keeping its back completely level and straight from under the neck and the rump.
- Definitely get another person to help. This will keep everyone safe.
Picking Up Your Dog
Keep your body in the correct position when lifting.Don’t forget to bend at the knees and lift with your legs. Don't bend over the dog to protect your back from injury. Place your arms around your pet to securely lift the dog.
- Bending your knees will bring you closer to the dog’s level. This means you won't be leaning over the dog which most dogs find frightening.
Pick up your dog when he's relaxed.Try to avoid picking up your dog when he's jumping all around and wiggly. You may have to work on training your dog to be calm.
- Establish a routine and begin short training sessions. Begin by keeping your dog in a seated position for several minutes. Gradually teach him to lay down. Practice having these calm periods of time.
Use a towel or short leash.If you have to pick up a wiggler, use a short leash to keep a hold your dog. Or you could place a towel over his head and use it to hold his limbs.
- If your dog is actually injured, protect yourself by muzzling the dog (with an actual muzzle for dogs or use a leash to wrap around the snout). At least use a towel over the dog’s head before you pick up the dog.
QuestionMy 70 lb dog has injured his back and has been told to rest and not use stairs. How can I carry him?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerLifting a 70 lb dog is definitely a two person job. Your aim is to support his back and keep it parallel to the ground. Have one person lift the rear end and one the front end. Both scoop one arm under his belly (one towards his elbows the other towards his hips) and at the same time support his head/rear end. Then on a count of three both straighten your knees and stand. You will need to block off the stairs so the dog can't go up and down by himself. If the dog usually sleeps upstairs, then consider moving his bed downstairs, and if necessary sleeping beside him.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I properly pick up a spayed dog?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAfter the stitched are removed, you can pick her up the same as any other dog. With the stitches in, avoid picking your dog up. If you have to pick your dog up, hold her under her chest, supporting her full weight with your forearm.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I make him trust me when I am trying to carry my dog?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCalmly talk to him with a gentle and soft tone and nice words.Thanks!
QuestionIs it okay to pick up a small dog up by the neck like a cat?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, nor is it okay to pick up a cat by the neck, unless it is a kitten. By the time a cat or dog has grown to adult size, its body is too large and heavy to be safely supported by the scruff.Thanks!
QuestionMy small dog runs away when I try to pick her up. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should probably get her used to being touched around her body by just leaving your hand on her. Using positive reinforcement is a great way to do this! Once she's comfortable, try lifting her for a second, then put her back down and if she is calm, reward her with a treat or praise. Keep doing this until she is comfortable with you lifting her.Thanks!
QuestionI have a toy Pom Pom and she's so adorable but she's so delicate, I don't know how to pick her up, what can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should hold her chest and support her bottom with both arms like in the picture for small dogs. Make sure she feels comfortable and relaxed before picking her up.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my dog is trying to bite me and she is old?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can use a muzzle on her and be as delicate as possible, using a normal technique to pick her up.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I remove my dog out of its cage?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGrab the dog with one arm under the rib cage just behind the front legs and with the other arm over the back and side.Thanks!
QuestionShould I lift my large dog on my own or get two people to help?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's best to have a helper if your dog is large. You may injure yourself or him if you attempt to lift him alone.Thanks!
QuestionCan a dog be injured if it is picked up by its head and it is a small dog?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. I am a veterinarian. Never pick up a dog by the head, even If it's a small dog. When lifting, remember to bend at the knees when lifting and support the dog's bottom.Thanks!
How do I pick up my Pekingese?
How do I pick up my old dog properly?
Why does my dog not come when called, he will start then stop before he heels?
What is the proper way to pick up a small dog?
What if my dog is sensitive to being picked up?
- Avoid touching the injured area. Consider using a blanket or towel as a stretcher. One person at the front of the dog holds the ends of the blanket or towel. The person on the other end holds the opposite ends. Instead of trying to hold the towel/blanket out flat, use it more as a taco and keep the sides up high. This discourages the dog from trying to get out of the stretcher.
- You may even be able to place the dog in a laundry basket or large plastic storage bin lined with towels. This will prevent extra injury while getting your dog to the veterinarian.
- Protect your face. Some dogs might flail their head when picked up. Keep your face out of the way so it does not get hit accidentally by the dog’s skull or teeth. Use the dog’s collar to manage the neck when picking up smaller dogs.
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