Small dogs in particular are often picked up and carried around by their people, no matter where. However, if dogs are carried around too often instead of walking themselves, it can be harmful to them.
Carrying dogs is not generally bad. Only constantly carrying the dog around – no matter what the situation or where – is harmful to the animals. In some situations, however, it is helpful or even important to hold the dog in your arms, e.g. to:
One of the tasks of dog owners is to protect their dogs and give them security. This strengthens the dogs’ trust and the bond with humans. If the dog owner does not fulfill this task, the trust of the dog can also be diminished in return. Therefore, dog owners need to resolve stressful (or dangerous) situations for their dogs.
Such a situation can occur, especially with small dogs, in large crowds, in hectic traffic or when meeting other dogs.
If, for example, you see a dog running towards you and your dog from a distance while walking and you already notice that this dog may not be so well socialized or your dog already seems stressed, nothing speaks against solving this situation for him, to pick him up and put him down in a “safe” place. It is important that you are able to assess the situation correctly and react early and calmly.
But lifting alone is not coping therapy. If your dog has problems with other dogs or people, or has severe anxiety, you should seek professional help.
But then only carry your dog in your arm and do not put it in a backpack, bag or the like.
In some situations it can be important to briefly pick up the dog and carry it. © yolya_ilyasova-stock.adobe.com
Carrying your dog continuously, even when it is not actually necessary, can have negative consequences for the dog:
If a dog is carried around all the time, it has less contact with its surroundings: it can neither sniff the ground, nor make its own tracks, nor come into contact with other people or dogs. But all of these things are essential for dogs. This is the only way they can live out their natural behavior properly.
It is especially important for puppies to learn how to deal with other dogs and to gain experience. Otherwise, they may develop behavioral problems or fears later because they have not learned how to deal with other dogs properly. But contact with other dogs is also important for adult dogs.
Pissing the dog in order to resolve a stressful situation for him is perfectly fine and important too. But if a dog is carried around all the time, it is counterproductive. Because if the dog hardly has to walk anymore and experiences few situations “on his own two feet”, he can lose self-confidence – simply because he hardly has to do anything himself and therefore has less confidence in himself.
A dog that is constantly carried by its owner hardly moves by itself! But exercise is not only fun for dogs, it is also important for health and a long dog’s life! So make sure that your dog gets enough exercise.
The owners think that they are doing their dogs a favor by carrying them, but that is often not the case: dogs often do not want to be picked up and carried around at all. They much prefer to explore their surroundings on their own two feet and with their snout. A dog should only be picked up if it really helps in a situation. As a dog owner, you have to learn to assess: When does my dog need my help and when does not? Pay close attention to the dog’s body language.
It is also important that you do not just pull your dog up. Unannounced, sudden lifting can be extremely uncomfortable for dogs. Practice lifting and lifting your dog, announced and carefully.
Dogs usually prefer to explore their surroundings on their own two feet. © Daniel Teetor-stock.adobe.com
If a dog is carried around all the time, this can also have physical consequences in the long run. Carrying the dog incorrectly can affect the spine, for example. Lack of movement also affects the dog’s musculoskeletal system.
Depending on your size, weight and special circumstances, there are several things you should pay attention to when lifting. The best way to lift a larger dog (more than 18 kg) is to put one arm around the front legs and one around the back legs from the side. A smaller dog (less than 18 kg), however, is better carried if you put your hand on its chest and then carefully lift it up. In the case of a (highly) pregnant female, you should avoid the abdomen, and in the case of an injured dog pay particular attention to the injury.