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The best ways to pick up your dog

Poodle cross being carried by their owner

Poodle cross being carried by their owner.

Most of the time, dogs appreciate walking by themselves, using their legs. But, there are occasions when they either want to be picked up, or need to be due to age or injury, or even to help them over a hazard. So, should you find yourself in a position where your pup needs a hand, here are the best ways to pick up your dog.

Preparing your dog to be picked up

Suddenly being picked up can take dogs by surprise, so it’s wise to give them a warning before doing so. This might be a verbal cue such as “pick up”, which you can also pair with giving them a tasty treat. Your dog will soon associate this cue, and behavior of being picked up, with something positive.

Keep an eye on your dog’s body language during this time as well. If they appear tense or growl, this is a sure sign that your pup isn’t comfortable with being handled, or the way you’re doing so.

How to pick up a puppy

Before your puppy gets their full set of vaccinations, they won’t be able to go for a walk on the ground. This shouldn’t stop you from socializing them though, and there are plenty of opportunities you can provide your puppy with to see the world from the height of your arms or a dog carrier.

The best way to pick up your puppy is by placing a hand (or both hands, depending on the pup's size) on their chest, behind their front legs. As you bring the puppy up towards your chest, immediately move one hand back to support their rear and keep your other hand behind their front legs, supporting their chest. Support your puppy's body by cradling them with both arms.

How to pick up an older dog

Caring for an older dog often means that they’re a lot slower than they once were and could experience joint problems such as arthritis. They may need help getting upstairs or being supported into the car, so there will usually come a time when they need picking up.

If your dog isn’t too heavy and you’re able to pick them up on your own, support their hind legs with one arm and with the other arm support your dog underneath their chest or neck.

How to pick up a heavy dog

Large and giant dog breeds such as the Newfoundland or Great Dane weigh a lot! But, this doesn’t mean there won’t come a time when they could need picking up. If your dog is too heavy to be picked up by one person, get someone to help. Support the front of your dog underneath their neck or chest and then get a friend to support your dog’s back end behind their hind legs. Avoid holding your dog for very long, as you might begin to put pressure on their back. Only lift your dog if they need lifting such as into the back of a car, for example.

How to pick up a dog with back problems

Only pick up a dog with back problems if it is absolutely necessary if you have been advised by your veterinarian. Place one arm between your dog’s front legs and the other between their back legs, making sure that you support the full length of their body to avoid putting strain on their back.

How to pick up a dog with hip dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia is more common amongst certain dog breeds than others. These include German shepherds and rottweilers to name two examples. Although weight management and pain relief is the best way to keep this condition under control, dogs with hip dysplasia may need to be picked up more frequently. This being said, you’ll need to approach this carefully to avoid flaring up the condition any more.

Try not to put any pressure on your dog’s back legs. Use one arm to support your dog’s rear under their belly, and use your other arm to support their chest.

How to pick up a pregnant dog

Try and avoid picking your dog up if she is pregnant. If you have to, avoid supporting her belly. Support her hind legs with one arm, and with the other arm support her chest in front of her front legs.

Omlet and your dog

At Omlet, we understand that no dog is the same. Supporting the specific needs of one dog doesn’t mean it’ll be the same for another. But what we do know, is that dogs all enjoy the comfort of a super soft spot to rest their legs such as the Omlet Topology dog bed. Paired with a snuggly dog blanket in a cozy dog crate, your pup will be on their way to living a life of luxury.

Customer Images


Alison, 22 March 2021

You should never pick up any puppy or dog by their skin! Their body weight should always be supported.

Monique, 30 June 2019

What breed is that dog? because he looks like my mixed breed puppy :)