Most people won’t like this answer, but no, you cannot carry your dog cradled like a baby. On their back like that, your dog will be very frightened, and they are likely to wiggle or even bite you to get away. This could cause you to drop them and your dog could get hurt.
That said, there are proper ways to pick up and hold a dog and while they might not like it, most small dogs will learn to tolerate it, at least from you. If you want to carry a small dog, a bag is a much safer choice, and many dogs actually DO love this option.
In this article, we’re going to answer the most commonly asked questions about carrying your dog. We’ll address questions such as whether or not you should carry your dog for potty breaks until they’ve gotten vaccinated and how to properly pick a dog up without hurting them.
Read on for the answers to these questions and more – the answers are waiting for you below!
Table of Contents
- Do dogs like being carried like babies?
- Is it bad to carry your dog?
- Can I pick my dog up like a baby?
- Does it hurt to hold a dog like a baby?
- Can you hurt a puppy by picking it up?
- Can I carry my puppy on a walk if they aren’t vaccinated?
- Should I pick my dog up if another dog approaches?
- Is it okay to carry a puppy in a bag?
- How do you carry a puppy in a backpack?
- How do you pick up and hold a puppy?
Do dogs like being carried like babies?
No, unfortunately, they usually do not! Dogs get scared when you pick them up and hold them like babies, especially if you hold them on their backs. While some dogs will learn to tolerate this, usually they will feel unsafe.
You can help minimize this by holding them upright, with their lower legs supported. This will help to feel more secure. Also, it is better if other people or animals are not around, as a held dog can get excited or nervous unless they have learned to be still from lots of training practice.
Is it bad to carry your dog?
Carrying your dog can stress their spine, specifically in the lumbar regions. Sometimes you have to carry them, however, and in such cases, you want to ensure that their back legs are supported so that they are upright or lying on their bellies – not their backs!
Over time, your dog will learn to trust you more, and might even like being carried, but most simply tolerate this at best.
Can I pick my dog up like a baby?
No, you cannot pick your dog up the same way that you would a human baby. Their anatomy is quite different, after all, so picking them up under the arms is a good way to end up straining their ligaments!
If you must pick them up, support their back legs and belly so that they feel secure and so that the force is centered on the feet of their strong back legs. This will help them to feel much safer and should not overly strain them.
Does it hurt to hold a dog like a baby?
Whether or not your dog is strained when you are holding them will depend on your technique. As long as their back legs are supported, they are generally fine, but you shouldn’t hold them on their backs or underneath their arms.
Children are notoriously fond of the ‘underarm grab’ so if you have kids, you’ll want to supervise all visits with the dog and educate them on either simply playing with the dog and NOT holding them or with older children, how the dog should properly be picked up and held when it is necessary.
Can you hurt a puppy by picking it up?
Yes, you can easily hurt a puppy by picking it up incorrectly. If you pick them up by the front legs, you’re putting all of the pup’s weight there, and that can definitely hurt your pup. Don’t pick them up by the scruff of the neck, either.
While their mother does this, it is out of necessity – you can pick them up by supporting the back of their legs so that the weight is focused there and thus not as much of a strain on your puppy.
Can I carry my puppy on a walk if they aren’t vaccinated?
One exception when it comes to the ‘you shouldn’t carry your pup’ rule is for potty breaks before your dog is fully vaccinated. At the earliest, 16 weeks is when a puppy can be fully vaccinated, and until this time you need to keep them away from other dogs, dog droppings, and puddles of water that might get them sick.
During this time, if you need to carry your pup for a potty break, then you can do so. Just be sure to support their back legs and then to find a secluded spot so that they can potty, and then walk or carry them safely home.
Should I pick my dog up if another dog approaches?
No, you shouldn’t pick up your dog if another dog approaches. While your initial instinct screams otherwise, stooping down to scoop up a small dog might prompt the other dog to immediately attack.
Instead, if you have an umbrella then you can try opening it to scare the other dog, or you could quickly turn around so that you are in the way and lead your dog safely into another direction.
Is it okay to carry a puppy in a bag?
While it’s not generally a good idea in the summer (for the heat, more than anything), carrying your dog in a bag in the winter or spring months is just fine, provided that your dog seems to like it.
Carrying a dog in your arms doesn’t always give them proper support, but a bag certainly does and a lot of small dogs seem to love it.
Just be sure to spend a lot of time teaching them to stay in the bag before you take them out and bring a harness and leash with you, just in case they need to potty or decide that the bag is too stressful while you’re out with them.
How do you carry a puppy in a backpack?
If you want to carry your dog in a backpack, so that they can ride there when they get tired for hiking or other nature fun, then you can certainly do this. Just put them in the bag first with nothing else present so that they can get used to it, for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
Once they get used to this, you can slowly extend the time, and your dog should quickly adjust to riding in the backpack.
How do you pick up and hold a puppy?
To properly pick up and hold a puppy, you want to put one hand between their front legs, while putting the other between their back legs from behind, so that you can lift them up quickly with their body ‘level’.
Once up, place your arm underneath the back legs to support them so that your pup can stand straight or lay on their belly while you are safely supporting them.