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  • Writer's pictureThe Dogzbody

Why not to pick up a small dog!

Dogs are dogs no matter what size they are, they are born to be dogs, act like dogs, respond like a dog and think and act the size despite their size. Environmental factors and experiences mould a dog to be who they are, their size should not dictate how we as humans treat and act with them.


Small dog being carried

While it's not accurate to say that you should never pick up a small-sized dog, there are some considerations to keep in mind when handling smaller breeds. Here are a few reasons why you might want to be cautious or avoid picking up small dogs:


  1. Injury Risk: Small dogs are fragile and can be easily injured if mishandled or dropped. Their bones are more delicate than larger dogs, and accidents during lifting or carrying can lead to fractures or other injuries. If you are carrying a small dog and trip over or another force out of your control ends in you dropping a small dog, it can cause serious injury.

  2. Fear and Anxiety: Some small dogs may feel insecure or frightened when lifted off the ground. If a dog is not accustomed to being held, it might become stressed or anxious, leading to behavioural issues or a negative association with being picked up. Imagine if a giant came along and picked you up 10 times your height, we're certain you would want to be put down pretty quickly!

White dog on a lap
Of course cuddles are allowed :)


  1. Health Conditions: Some small breeds are prone to certain health issues, such as luxating patellas (dislocated kneecaps) or back problems. Lifting them incorrectly or putting pressure on vulnerable areas could exacerbate these conditions or indeed cause them if a dog is carried consistently over a long period.

  2. Discomfort: Not all dogs enjoy being picked up. Some dogs are more independent and prefer to have their feet on the ground. If a dog shows signs of discomfort or resistance when lifted, it's best to respect their boundaries and allow them to walk, as that is what their legs are for.

  3. Training and Socialization: It's important to train and socialize dogs, including teaching them to be comfortable with handling. If a dog has not been properly trained or socialized to be picked up, forcing the issue can lead to negative experiences. A small dog that is constantly being picked up can start exhibiting unwanted behaviours.


  1. They can become protective of the person who picks them up and in turn, this could mean they will prevent other people (or dogs) from approaching the person who picked them up by barking and displaying negative responses. Dogs who are constantly being picked up and not allowed to meet other dogs and people from the ground will start to lack experience and often confidence which is detrimental to a dog's health and mental well-being.

That said, many small dogs enjoy being held and cuddled when done properly and on occasion. It's essential to approach them gently, support their body properly, and be aware of their comfort level. Always observe the dog's body language for signs of stress or discomfort, and if they resist being picked up, it's best to respect their wishes. Additionally, consulting with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer can guide the specific needs and preferences of individual dogs.

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