If you pick up your dog without planning what you're doing, think again. There's a science to how your lift your dog and, if you have a large breed, odds are you don't pick him up much at all. But if he's injured and needs to be moved, learn the best way to safely lift and transport him.
Small dogs are very portable, and picking them up is probably part of your daily routine. If your dog is less than 20 pounds, lifting him isn't difficult, but it's important to do it correctly. If your dog squirms, slip a finger under his collar with one hand to hold him still, and wrap your other arm gently under his waist. Lift, continuing to hold the collar so the dog can't jump from your arms.
Puppies can be lifted comfortably by wrapping one arm around their chest and the other under the tail around the hindquarters. Let all four legs dangle as you lift. Be careful not to place your arm around the dog's neck when you lift, which can impede his breathing. Your arm should wrap around the front of his chest.
If you're picking up a larger dog or one who is injured, provide support with a large towel. Wrap the towel under the dog's waist to support the rear legs or further forward for overall support if the dog needs help climbing stairs, walking or balancing. You can also pick up a small injured dog carefully, using the same technique as you would for a healthy dog, but holding the injured area away from your body.
Fashion a stretcher for an injured dog by spreading out a large towel or sheet, depending on the dog's size. Roll the dog carefully onto the sheet. Bundle the ends and lift the dog in the sheet or towel. The dog can be placed this way in a vehicle for transporting to a vet. Lift the dog in the sheet to remove him, or place one hand under his waist and one under her chest to remove him from the car.
If you have an assistant and an ironing board, you can use the board as a stretcher. Roll your dog onto it and tie him in place with a belt so he can't fall off.
The Wrong Way
Don't lift your dog by the scruff of the neck. This method puts pressure on the dog's chest and leaves no support for the back legs. A restless dog can easily wiggle away from the handler when lifted this way.
Avoid lifting dogs or puppies by putting your hand under the soft part of their stomach. This method compresses internal organs and is uncomfortable for the dog.
Never pick up a long-backed breed such as a Dachshund by its front legs. Support their underbelly at all times with your forearm.