Many dog owners like to pick up and carry their dogs around often and often. But that can have negative consequences. Here you can read why you should not carry your dog all the time and in which situations it can be useful.
Small dogs in particular are often picked up and carried around by their people, no matter where. But if dogs are carried around too often instead of walking themselves, it can be harmful to them.
When is carrying the dog necessary?
Carrying dogs isn’t a bad thing across the board. Only the constant carrying of the dog – no matter what the situation and where – is harmful to the animals. In some situations, however, it is helpful or even important to hold the dog, e.g. to:
- putting a dog in the car
- carrying the dog up a steep flight of stairs
- taking a sick dog to the vet
- to protect the dog in a stressful situation
One of the tasks of dog owners is to protect their dogs and give them security. This strengthens the dog’s trust and the bond with humans. If the dog owner does not fulfill this task, the dog’s trust can 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 afar on a walk and you notice that this dog may not be well socialized or that your dog already seems stressed, there is nothing wrong with solving this situation for him, to pick him up and put him down in a “safe” place. It is important that you can assess the situation correctly and react quickly 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 arms and do not put it in a backpack, bag or similar.
5 reasons why you shouldn’t carry your dog all the time
If you carry your dog all the time, even if it is not actually necessary, this can have negative consequences for the dog:
The dog has less contact with its environment
If a dog is constantly being carried around, it has less contact with its surroundings: it can neither sniff the ground, lay its own tracks, nor come into contact with other people or dogs. But all these things are essential for dogs. This is the only way they can live out their natural behavior properly.
It is particularly important for puppies to learn how to deal with other dogs and to gain experience. Otherwise, they may later develop behavioral problems or fears because they have not properly learned how to deal with other dogs. But contact with other dogs is also important for adult dogs.
The dog has less self-confidence
Picking the dog to resolve a stressful situation for him is perfectly fine and important too. But if a dog is constantly carried around, it is counterproductive. Because if the dog hardly ever has to walk by itself and experiences few situations “on its own feet” as a result, it can lose self-confidence – simply because it hardly has to do anything itself anymore and therefore has less confidence in itself.
The dog gets too little exercise
A dog that is constantly being carried by its owner hardly moves itself! But exercise is not only fun for dogs, it is also important for health and a long dog life! Therefore, make sure that your dog gets enough exercise.
Many dogs don’t want to be carried around at all
Owners think they’re doing their dogs a favor by carrying them, but that’s often not the case: Dogs often don’t want to be picked up and carried around. They much prefer to explore their surroundings on their own legs and with their snouts. A dog should only be picked up if it really helps it in a situation. As a dog owner, you have to learn to assess this: when does my dog need my help and when not? Pay close attention to the dog’s body language.
It is also important that you do not simply pull your dog up. Unannounced, sudden picking up can be extremely uncomfortable for dogs. Practice lifting and pick up your dog announced and gently.
Health consequences of wearing
If a dog is constantly carried around, this can also have physical consequences in the long run. If the dog is carried incorrectly, this can have an impact on the spine, for example. A lack of exercise also impairs the dog’s musculoskeletal system.
Lifting dogs – that’s how it works
Depending on your size, weight and special circumstances, you should pay attention to different things when lifting. The best way to lift a larger dog (over 40 pounds) is to wrap one arm around the front legs and one arm around the back legs from the side. On the other hand, a smaller dog (less than 40 lbs) is better carried if you put your hand on his chest and then carefully lift him up. With a (heavily) pregnant female you should avoid the abdomen, with an injured dog pay particular attention to the respective injury.