Picking up your dog may not seem like a complicated task, but a lot of pet parents surprisingly do it wrong. Find out how to pick up your pup the right way.

How To Properly Pick Up A Dog (+ What NOT To Do)


Picking up and carrying your dog may not seem like a complicated task, but a lot of pet parents surprisingly do it wrong. To avoid injury or stress to your pup, check out the following video by MercolaHealthyPets. In this short 27-second video, you’ll see the proper way to pick up small, large, and pregnant dogs. Plus, keep reading below for some tips on what not to do!


 Tips To Properly Pick Up Your Pooch

Verbal Cue

Before I pick up my dogs, I give them a verbal command, alerting them that they’re about to be lifted off the ground. I mean, imagine if someone just walked over to you, scooped you up in their arms, and took you away from wherever you were standing … without any notice. You wouldn’t like that very much, would you? For that reason, I personally taught my dogs the command, “Up.” Choose whatever verbal cue works best for you and teach your dog that whenever you say that word, he’s going to be picked up. The key with verbal cues is consistency. So once you choose a word – stick with it!

Tiny Dogs

If you have little guys like me (I have a 5lb Chihuahua and Toy Poodle), you can get away with a one arm lift. Start by simply sliding your dominant arm underneath your dog’s chest — between his front legs. Then, as you lift him up, tuck his tooshie between your arm and body to keep him fully supported. 

Medium Dogs

Put your dominant arm behind his back legs and wrap your other arm around the front of his chest. Hold your dog closely against your chest as you rise up.

Large Dogs

Depending on the size of your dog, you may be able to follow the same instructions as a medium-size dog. However, if you have an extremely large dog, you may need to enlist some help from a family member or friend when lifting up your colossal canine!


What NOT To Do

1) Don’t Lift Your Dog From Their Scruff

A lot of people assume that it’s totally fine to pick dogs up by the scruff of their neck because mother dogs do it to their young. However, this is extremely uncomfortable and may even be painful for your pooch. A puppy is only picked up by their scruff when they are very, very young. Once a puppy becomes a bit more mature, this action doesn’t continue. 

2) Don’t Pick Your Dog Up By Their Collar

Not only does lifting a dog from his collar temporarily cut off his air supply, but it can do permanent damage to their trachea. 

3) Don’t Pick Your Dog Up By Their Tail

Tails are not handles and pulling on your pup’s tail can cause serious damage to the nerves and muscles. Serious injury to a dog’s tail could result in your pup losing control of movement. Plus, experts say a tail injury could affect a dog’s ability to go to the bathroom. 

4) Don’t Pick Your Dog Up By Their Legs Or Underarms

There are a few things wrong with this type of lifting. First of all, it can be painful and put a strain on your dog’s muscles and ligaments. Plus, there’s a high risk of dropping your dog.