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Do Dogs Like To Be Picked Up? 5 Must-Read Facts (2023)

Do Dogs Like To Be Picked Up

Some Fidos look like they want you to pick them up. 

Meanwhile, others beg you to let them down. 

As much as you want to hold your pooch like a baby…

Find out if your dog likes it first.

And don’t worry. 

You’re looking at the right place for answers.

Keep reading to learn:

  • 7 signs that your pup likes being carried. 
  • 5 must-read facts about picking up your dogs. 
  • 9 proven ways to check if Fido likes being carried around.
  • Essential reasons why you shouldn’t pick up your dog (check #1 and #3).
  • And many, many more…

Do dogs like to be picked up?

Dogs don’t like to be picked up. Truthfully, most of them only tolerate the act. Though, some dogs might enjoy being carried. However, that depends on many factors. Specifically, a dog’s size, temperament, and health should be considered. These factors influence a canine’s reaction to being held.

Do dogs like to be carried around?

Dogs don’t like to be carried around, especially if they’re a big breed. But on the contrary, small pups might enjoy the feeling. 

I mean, my dog Lissa basically begs me to carry her here and there from time to time… Mostly when she gets tired after a long walk. 

She comes in front of me. Then she stands on her hind legs. After which she presses her front paws on my knees. And she’s looking in my eyes with a persistent expecting gaze.

Well, Lissa is a mixed breed of a long-haired Chihuahua and a Mini Spitz, after all. So, I can imagine she’s quite comfortable while being carried. A true lap dog. 🙂 

That said, take a look at this size chart for dogs: 

Your dog’s sizeTheir average weight
Small dogs or toy breeds12 to 24 lbs (5.4 to 10 kg)
Medium24 to 59 lbs (10 to 26 kg)
Large or giants59 lbs to 100 lbs (26 to 45 kg)

With this, you can tell exactly how big your pooch is. 

Now, most small or toy breeds tend to enjoy being carried around. 

Thanks to their tiny size, it’s easier to pick them up. And you can hold them comfortably in your arms. 

That’s why you can carry small Fidos around for long periods. Or, long enough… I can carry Lissa for about 5 minutes at a time because then it becomes too heavy for me to handle.

Meanwhile, medium dogs might be okay with carrying as well. Though, they might get tired of it after a few minutes. 

That’s why these pups tend to escape from your arms. 

Now, as for large or giant dogs…

Some of them might not enjoy being carried around. 

But remember…

Every pooch is different

According to science:

Big dogs tend to be nicer than small ones.” 

Meaning, that they could tolerate you trying to pick them up. But realistically speaking, it won’t be easy for you and it might not be the comfiest thing for them either.

Then, on to the next question: 

“How would I know if my dog likes to be carried?” 

Here’s how you can tell whether your dog likes being carried (or at least tolerates it): 

  • Their breathing is normal.
  • Your pooch doesn’t whine. 
  • Your pup has a relaxed posture.
  • Fido doesn’t bite or snap at you.
  • They don’t make any weird noises. 
  • Your dog doesn’t try to wiggle away or escape.
  • Fido isn’t kicking your arms to break free from you.

Why you shouldn’t pick up your dog

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t pick up your dog. 

To give you a few examples, let me list them below: 

#1: Their age 

You Shouldn't Pick Up Your Dog Because Of Their Age

No matter the size of your pooch… 

You shouldn’t pick them up too much if they’re already old. Of course, unless you really need to. 

But why, you asked? 

You see, when Fidos reach their senior years…

Their bones aren’t as strong as before. And their bodies are getting weaker too. 

It’s just like how we humans age. 

So if you pick up a senior pooch, you might hurt them. Even though it’s not your intention. 

“At what age do dogs become seniors?” 

Well, that depends on Fido’s size. As per research, it seems that bigger pups age faster than smaller ones. 

That’s why vets say large dogs are already seniors around 5 to 6 years of age.

And to make everything easier for you, just use the table below: 

Dog sizeAverage lifespanSenior age
Small dogs 13 to 18 years10 to 12 years old
Medium dogs10 to 13 years7 years and above
Large to giants8 to 12 years5 years and above

Note: This table is based on AKC’s guide about a dog’s life expectancy. 

#2: It’s uncomfortable for your pup

When you pick up your pooch… 

Do you grab them the same way as a hooman child? 

Well, that might hurt a pup. 

You see, their body isn’t as flexible as a human’s. So, you have to be extra gentle. 

In that case, here’s what you should do: 

Step 1: Squat down in front of your pup 

Also, dogs prefer it when you approach them from the side.

Note: On the contrary, if you approach them from the front, it’d appear very intrusive. And you might see your dog licking their lips, as to show they don’t want conflict (even though they’re uncomfortable).

Step 2: Slide your hand between their front legs and chest 

With this, you can support Fido’s upper body with ease.

Step 3: Support their behind with your other free hand

Now, you should also hold their rear properly. This helps protect your dog’s back.

Step 4: Hold your pooch tight

Ensure that you’re using enough strength to lift them up.

Step 5: Gently lift them up as you stand

Remember, don’t rush. This might make your furry pal panic. 

So, just raise them up slowly as you get back up on your feet.

Now, with these 5 easy steps, you can pick up Fido the right way.

And if you need a visual guide for picking up big dogs… 

Check out this helpful video:

#3: They might have an injury or illness

Some dogs want to rest alone if they feel unwell. 

So, if you think that your pup just wants a hug… 

Check first in case they might be sick or injured. 

You can do this by paying attention to their body language.

For example, a sick pup would do the following: 

Note: If you suspect illness in your dog, it’s best to contact the clinic for help. Plus, in such a case, you shouldn’t pick your pooch up. As that might worsen their condition. 

But of course, if you have to take Fido to the vet…

Just be careful when you have to carry them. 

And if you need some help with how to do that, go back to what I explained in reason #2.

#4: It’s unnatural for dogs 

Momma dogs scruff their puppies. That’s when the parent bites the pup on the back of the neck. 

Though, they do it gently enough to not hurt the puppy. Plus, momma dogs do this to safely move her babies. 

But it doesn’t mean that you can try it on your dog. 

I mean, have you seen a grown pooch scruff another Fido? 

Even if they do, it could be a sign of aggression instead.

That’s why many dogs find it unnatural to be picked up. Especially when they’re grown up.

Now, if you scruff a puppy… 

You might end up hurting your dog too. So don’t ever pick them up this way.

#5: It can cause them stress

Even if you know the right way to carry a dog… 

It doesn’t mean Fido will like it. 

And if you recall what I said in the intro: 

Most dogs just tolerate it when you pick them up.

So if you keep doing it, you might cause them stress in the long run. 

Now, if you want to know if Fido feels that way… 

There are many clear signs of stress in dogs, such as:

Note: If you notice 1 or more of these 9 signs, let your pooch down to relax. But if they still keep acting weird, you should contact a vet.

You might also like: 17 Crystal Clear Signs Your Dog Doesn’t Like You

When it’s OK to pick up your dog

It’s okay to pick up your dog during some situations, such as when:

  • Your dog is healthy.
  • They’re small enough. 
  • Fido has no physical injuries.
  • You won’t carry them for a long time. 
  • Your pooch isn’t pregnant or a senior.
  • Fido’s not showing any signs of stress.
  • You know the right way to pick up dogs.
  • You’re not forcing your dog to cooperate.
  • They seem to enjoy or at least tolerate being picked up by you.

Even if your pup’s happy with you carrying them around, just don’t overdo it. 

Give Fido a break too and they’ll appreciate it. 

Does it hurt my dog when I pick him up?

It doesn’t hurt your dog when you pick them up. But only as long as you don’t leave their legs or bum hanging. Also, avoid pulling them by the legs when picking them up to prevent injury.

And of course, you still need to be gentle with them. 

Plus, if you go back to what I said earlier:

There’s a right way to pick up dogs. Especially bigger ones. 

So if you suddenly carry them, you might end up hurting your pup. And the same thing applies when you try to scruff a puppy.

Lastly, it will also hurt if you hold your dog for too long. 

In that case, let your pooch down after carrying them for 5 to 10 minutes.