How To Pick Up a Dog

You may need to pick up your dog for a number of reasons. Whether your dog is small or big, an adult or a puppy, you need to pick them up in a way that is comfortable to them and does not cause them pain. Here are steps to follow when picking up your dog.

1. Crouch down next to your dog when you are ready to pick them up. Leaning or looming over them can be frightening for some dogs. A frightened or nervous dog will wiggle, making lifting them difficult.

2. Have a verbal command and hand signal that tells the dog you’re going to lift them. This cue will put them at ease because they will know what to expect. A simple command like “up” should work if you use it every time you lift the dog. They will learn to associate that word with being lifted.

3. While crouched, you will be at the same level as your dog and you can easily place one hand behind the dog’s hind legs and the other hand on the chest area in front of your dog’s forelegs. From this position, you can slowly lift your dog.

4. If your dog is wiggling or displaying signs of nervousness, talk to him to calm him down before you lift him.

5. As you lift the dog, bring him close to your chest so that his body is lying against your chest area.

6. To prevent bites or nipping, especially if your dog is anxious, you can hold his scruff or attach a muzzle with a short lead. This will let you control his head movement.  

Lifting a Large Dog

Be careful lifting large dogs, as they are heavy and can more easily cause injuries to yourself or to the dog. It is recommended that you get help lifting a large dog with one person supporting the hind legs and abdomen area, while the other lifts up the chest area.

Lifting an Injured Dog

Lifting an injured dog should be done carefully to avoid aggravating their injury or causing them more pain. In this case, it is best to use a fabric such as a large towel or sheet to carefully lift the dog. In this case, if possible, get help so that you can lift the dog as carefully as possible, without jostling him too much.

To lift the dog using a piece of fabric, push him gently onto the fabric. Once he is lying on the fabric, pick up the edges and bring them together then slowly lift, ensuring you are lifting both ends at the same time at a flat angle to keep the dog as level as possible.

How To Lift a Pregnant Dog

Only pick up your pregnant dog if it’s absolutely necessary. Avoid putting your hand on her abdomen and instead lift with one hand on the hind legs and the other on her chest area in front of her forelegs.

What Not to Do When Picking Up Your Dog

1. Do not pick a dog up by their scruff.

Mother dogs pick up their puppies by the scruff and this may lead you to think that it is ok to pick up your dog this way. It isn’t. Picking up your dog by the scruff is uncomfortable and painful for dogs since you are putting all the weight of the dog on one pressure point. Only days’ old puppies can be picked up this way since they weigh very little.

2. Do not pick up a dog by their collar.

Trying to lift your dog by the collar is akin to choking the dog and may cause damage to the trachea.

3. Do not pick up your dog using their legs

Using the front or back legs to lift your dog is extremely painful for them since their weight is not supported properly. It is also risky to lift a dog this way because you can easily drop them if they start to wiggle. Lifting by the tail should also never be done for the same reasons.




Hello, I'm Shelly! I write about all things dogs. I'm a proud mother of 3. So I guess my official title is fulltime mother, part-time dog blogger. Look around and if you have any questions reach out to me