How to Carry a Large Dog in an Emergency

It’s incredibly scary and stressful when a dog is injured. One of the biggest concerns for a pet parent is how to safely lift their dog into the care and transport them to a veterinarian for treatment. 

Properly Lift an Injured Dog

An injured dog needs to be moved cautiously to avoid worsening their injuries. A dog stretcher is ideal for safely lifting your dog securely. A stretcher keeps your dog’s body level without twisting the dog’s neck or back which may worsen your dog’s injury. In most cases, the injured dog’s head should be held 30% higher than it’s rear and stay aligned with the rest of the dog’s body to maintain regular airflow.

Dogs with a spinal injury  should always be secured to the transport stretcher. Ideally the stretcher should be more rigid and allow the dog to lay on their side to avoid twisting.

Get some help. Depending on how much your dog weighs, it may not be possible for you to lift them on your own. Remember, you can’t help your dog if you injure yourself trying to get them into the car. 

Avoid An Injured Dog’s Mouth

Injured dogs have a tendency to lash out. Aggressive behavior in dogs can be fear-based. Even a dog who has never bitten anyway may snap when in pain. Avoid placing your hands near a dog’s head, mouth, and muzzle, just in case.

How to Carry a Dog in a Stretcher

A dog transport stretcher is an easy and safe way to lift a large dog that’s been injured. A pet stretcher provides a balanced way to carry your pet while securely them in place. Most dog stretchers can be used easily by two people to lift and place a dog in a car or to move them to safety. Watch the video below to see how a dog stretcher works:

How to Carry a Dog with a Towel or Support Harness

A towel or dog support harness can be an easy way to pick up a large dog that’s in pain, but still mobile. For this to work, your dog must be able to support their full weight on their front legs while you support the hind end. Place the towel in front of your dog’s back legs and gently lift as you hold each end of the towel. This will allow you to support the injured back legs as your dog propels themselves forward. This is an easy and safe way to transport a heavy dog who’s wobbly and too weak to fully support themselves. . 

Don’t Pick Your Dog Up By the Tail

A dog’s tail is attached to their spine. Lifting your dog up by the tail can cause serious damage to the spinal nerves and muscles. Damage to a dog’s tail can include loss of leg function and even the dog’s ability to maintain control of their bowel and bladder. 

Don’t Carry or Lift a Dog By the Leg

Carrying your dog by their arm, regardless of the size of your dog, is dangerous. Lifting a dog by their leg can cause more injury. When you lift a dog up by the leg or under the arms, the rest of their body is dangling unsupported. Carrying a dog by the arm, places all of the strain on a dog’s elbows, shoulders, and spine. Which can strain muscles, dislocate a shoulder, and even tear ligaments. If a dog is already injured, lifting a dog by the leg can cause even more damage.

dog stretcher for injured pet

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