Vet Reviewed

By The Farmer's Dog | January 5, 2021

If you’re moving around with your dog, ideally they’re walking by your side. Nothing beats the walk for exercise, bonding, and mental stimulation as your dog gets a chance to sniff some of the things the world has to offer.

But occasionally, you may find it necessary to pick up your pup. It seems pretty straightforward! But there are some techniques you can use to lift them in the safest, most comfortable way.

First, give your dog a cue that you’re going to lift them. It’s not pleasant for anyone to be going about their business and suddenly finding themselves airborne.

For the lift:

Small dogs: Put your dominant arm underneath your dog’s chest with your hand between their front legs. Then, as you lift them up, use your other hand to tuck their legs or backside into your body so they’re fully supported.

Another option: Put one arm under their front legs like a forklift and lift up, while supporting their back feet with the other hand, and holding them against your body.

Bigger dogs: Bend at the knees! Place one arm around the front of their chest (under the neck) and one arm around their back legs underneath the rump. Lift up with your legs.

What  not to do:

Don’t pick up a dog by the scruff of the neck.

Don’t pick them up by the front legs (or “underarms”) like a baby—it can strain their ligaments.

Watch the video below for a quick demo of some vet-approved techniques for picking up your dog. Read more here about best practices for the pick-up.