There are so many things that look endearing when we do them with our dogs, one of them is being able to pick up our dogs and hold them close to our chest lovingly. Unfortunately for most people, they find that their dog yelps when picked up. This would come as a surprise to many, especially when you experience it for the first time. It seems strange! Why would such a loving gesture produce such an awkward and even painful result? The fact is that being picked up is not something our dogs look up to. It’s rather unnatural for them. But there is more to it.

In Summary, the answer to “Why does my dog yelp when I pick him up?” is the following:(1.) Your dog has fears of being dropped (2.)has lung/Breathing problems(3.) Has ligament problems(4.)Is suffering from arthritis (5.)Has back problems and (6.) Has intestinal problems/gall bladder disease.



Let’s expatiate

Your dog has fears of being dropped.

Depending on their past experience, any dog that has fallen down before or dropped mistakenly would naturally feel anxiety and fear on being picked up. This is especially true of smaller dogs like Chihuahuas and Affenpinschers. This fear gets them agitated as you try to pick them up and they will suddenly start yelping. Fortunately for us dog parents, the solution to this is actually simple. In addition to giving your dog love and care, they should be picked up the proper way in other to give them confidence in their safety when being picked up.

When picking up a dog, never approach from the rear, start from the side and talk to them as if telling them that you want to carry them. Of course, they will not understand you but it creates awareness that you want to do something to them and our dogs are always open to any experience that will make them bond better with us. After talking to them you can begin the process of picking them up or carrying them. For smaller dogs and puppies, gently scooping them from the stomach area is good. For bigger dogs, place one hand on the back area and the rest under the chest and stomach to balance them.

It is advisable to start carrying or picking them up while sitting close to the ground, also keep the intervals short at the beginning. As you progress with time and bond more. You may stand up with them and move around gently.

Has lung or Breathing problems.

We advised above that picking a dog up from the side with hands under the chest is the best way to do so, but there are situations where your dog still yelps when picked up under the chest. This may be due to your dog having lung or breathing problems. Lung problems in dogs can be caused by bacterial infections, tumors, or injury to any part of their respiratory system.

If your dog has breathing problems, you can easily see how trying to pick him up from under his chest can cause him or her additional pain. It’s worth saying that breathing problems in a dog is a life-threatening situation. It is something to be taken very seriously and a vet should be contacted immediately you notice this problem.

To put it in perspective, a dog breaths between 20 to 34 times every minute. This is considered the normal range, you should check your dog to be sure which range he or she falls in. Now there would be a normal situation where your dog’s breathing rate might increase above normal. Things like exercising, excitement, and high temperature can lead to increased breathing and heart rate. This is normal, but if you notice difficulty in breathing like excessive drolling, rigid stance, change in color of their tongue, an over-concentration of their gazing, rib cage shown forcefully while breathing, etc. Then it is an emergency and you should quickly get professional help.

Has ligament problems.

A dog with ligament problems would yelp in pain when you try to pick him up. The ligament is the portion that connects the bone above their knee to the bone beneath their knee. It is called the cranial cruciate ligament or CCL for short. A dog would have ligament problems if there is an injury or too much stress on the CCL.

The signs of a dog having ligament problems may be more visible in some dogs more than others. Things like obesity, a dog aging, strenuous exercises, and dog breed have been linked to ligament problems. Some of these dog breeds include German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Rottweilers, Newfoundlands, and more.

If you notice that your dog keeps yelping in pain randomly or yelps when picked up and shakes, you may as well check if he or she is having ligament problems. This is usually done by your vet doctor in a vet hospital. In some extreme cases, X-Rays are taken and even surgeries are performed on the affected region. After which a long resting period in which less mobility would be recommended for your dog.

Because of the hidden nature of this problem, especially at the early stage, routine vet hospital visits or checkups are advised from time to time.

Is suffering from arthritis.

Arthritis is simply put the inflammation of the joints. Whether it is human or dog, the effects are the same. It usually shows more in elderly dogs but this does not mean a younger dog cannot experience it.

A dog experiencing arthritis would try to resist a bit when you try to pick him up. This is obviously because they know that they will experience pain, and even when they allow you. The dog yelps when picked up and shakes a bit to ease of the pain. If the arthritis is, further along, your dog will back up more often when you try to pick him up.

The best thing to do is to get professional help in treating this condition. Reducing the jumps and climbs would be a good place to start, especially for those that have stairs at home. Provide him or her a ramp to help get them on and of a bed or their favorite sofa. Your vet doctor would be able to advise you more on supplements to give your dog and also exercise routines to make sure you don’t overwork your dog.

There are also Certified canine massage therapists who can give your dog a good bone massage and in some cases expedites the healing process. For those that are further along, there are always medications that can help them live a more fulfilled life. Veterinary medicine has come a long way and things that were impossible 10 to 20 years ago are possible today. Having said that never give your dog any medication or supplement that has not been pre-approved by your vet doctor. Many dog lives have been cut short due to self-medication practices.

Has back problems.

As our dogs get older, they get more and more prone to back problems or spinal problems. In reality, there is nothing much we can do about it. It comes with age and is the natural progression of things. One of the symptoms of a dog with back or spinal problems is yelping. As our dogs get older, they get weaker, wobbly, and have some posture changes.

Some other causes of spinal problems that can be avoided are obesity, bone fracture, injury to the spine area, bacteria infection, etc. It is imperative to understand this concept and be able to manage the situation properly. This is because a dog that is having spinal problems would likely back up when you try to pick him up. The dog is already yelping and making other funny noises from time to time. Any stress on his spinal cord would cause him pain and your picking him up does exactly that.

The best thing that can be done is to make their life as comfortable as you can. Some dogs undergoing spinal problems or back pain need surgery and a rest period to get back to the semblance of normalcy. Your vet doctor would be your best ally on this mission.

Has intestinal problems/gall bladder disease.

If your dog yelps when picked up from the stomach more than necessary, it is an indication of intestinal problems/gall bladder disease. The gall bladder is a small organ whose main function is to hold concentrates and secretion liquids that are useful and important to the digestion process.

It is in close proximity to the liver and also receives these concentrates and secretions from the liver. The gallbladder then passes these substances into the intestines to aid digestion. When it also gets to the point of excretion, the gallbladder releases appropriate substances that enable the easy flow of this. Needless to say, any interruption of this process would make the digestive and excretion process dangerous to the dog’s body. There are many ways in which these problems manifest but our main concern here is that it causes our dogs to yelp.

Getting medication and treatment from a vet hospital is key at this very stage, in extreme cases, surgery might be necessary.

Basically, feeding your dog milk thistle extracts with a properly balanced diet can help to prevent your dog from getting intestinal problems/gall bladder disease.

We have delved into as many details as we can on why your dog would yelp when you pick him up. Hopefully, your dog doesn’t have any of the major issues outlined above and even if they do, you have a good insight into what may be happening to him or her and how to deal with each situation.

Good luck.

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