Did you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to lift a paralyzed dog? And did you know there are different techniques to correctly lift a small dog vs. a large one?
Most pet owners aren’t aware of these methods, but they’re extremely important to know when you have a dog with paralysis or one that has an injured spine. Learning the right way to lift a dog who suffers from arthritis, IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease), Degenerative Myelopathy, FCE stroke or any of the other conditions that cause paralysis, will prevent further injuries.
The good news is the Dos and Don’ts of lifting your dog to protect their spine are easy to learn. You just need the facts.
Should I use one hand to lift or two?
If you have a big dog, the answer to this question is simple. You need two hands to lift and carry your pup. But do you know where to place your hands?
There are three basic techniques to lift a paralyzed dog:
The Scooping Technique – Scoop your medium-large dog like you were picking up a big stack of laundry. Bend down to the floor and place one arm around the front of your dog’s chest and the other arm on their back side under the tail. Then use your legs to lift yourself and your pup from the ground.
The Long Torso Method – A second technique is to place one arm under your dog’s torso from the back legs to the front. This is another scooping motion, but instead of being on the sides of your dog, this technique places your arm under the belly from the back legs up to the chest. Then use your free arm to support the dog while you lift and carry.
Become A Shelf For Little Dogs – The best way to pick up a small dog is with two hands. The idea is for your arms to create a shelf where your dog can comfortably rest. Make sure the movement in lifting is slow and gentle. Then hold the dog against your chest for stability. Small dogs should never be carried with one arm or with their legs dangling. This is unnatural and puts undue pressure on their spine.
Here’s a video we put together that demonstrates the right way to lift a dog with spine problems
If you’re worried that you might be carrying your dog incorrectly, please keep in mind that a support sling can be quickly made from a simple towel. The technique is called “sling walking” and it enables you to safely lift and move a dog with paralysis or a spine injury. Veterinary hospitals use this form of a temporary sling for patients recovering from surgery.
All you need is a large bath or beach towel that’s strong enough to support your dog’s weight. Pass the towel under your dog’s lower belly and gently pull your dog upright, using the ends of the towel as a handle.
Here’s a video that demonstrates the technique
We know everyone has a different preference to the way they learn. That’s why you’ll see many of our stories in video form and as a longer written post.
If you want to read about Sling Walking and The Right Way To Lift A Paralyzed Dog in greater detail, please click on the highlighted links below for more information and diagrams.