How To Carry A Large & Heavy Dog Upstairs [Vet Advice]

How To Carry A Large & Heavy Dog Upstairs

Having a large, fluffy dog in your home can provide many wonderful memories. However, carrying that heavy dog upstairs can be a difficult task.

Here’s how to properly carry a large dog upstairs.

  1. Hold your dog properly by supporting their limbs.
  2. Hold the dog at the right level to ensure balance and stability.
  3. Begin carrying the dog slowly and gently.
  4. Climb the stairs slowly and carefully.
  5. Gently place the heavy dog on the floor upstairs.

In addition to this, other ways of carrying a large dog upstairs include using a lifting harness or a rear support leash.

So, what is the proper way to carry a large and heavy dog upstairs? What are the other methods for doing this? Are there any disadvantages to carrying your heavy dog upstairs? What are the things you should avoid doing before carrying your large and heavy dog upstairs? Let’s explore these questions and more to help you safely and comfortably carry your furry friend upstairs.

How to carry a large and heavy dog upstairs?

If your dog is having a hard time climbing up the stairs, you can always help him by carrying him upstairs. But how to properly do it if your dog is too large or heavy? There are several steps for this. Let’s see!

1. Hold your dog properly from the limbs.

All you should do is hold your dog correctly. When carrying a large dog, you should wrap your arms around both forelimbs and hind limbs.

When you do this, keep your arms closer to the body so you can make sure he won’t slip away. Also, you should be sure that your dog would stay still. Training is important here

2. Holding at the right level

Next, you will have to set the dog at your stomach height. This is to be certain that the dog wouldn’t slip away while you take the stairs.

You have to be patient enough to make sure you’re holding the dog at stomach height. This is important because the stomach is a balance point of the body. Your pet is comfortable when you hold him there.

But do not bring him to your chest or waist because it might lead to the imbalance and cause the dog to slip off.

3. Starting off easy

Climbing stairs can be strenuous, not to mention climbing with a heavy dog! So practicing carrying the dog on a flat surface first would be a good idea.

From this, you can learn how to hold the dog perfectly while climbing up. From this, you can learn how the weight is divided, check if your dog moves around a lot, and be prepared for what is to come.

4. Move to the upstairs.

After you’ve got some practice at ground level, you can then start taking the steps with your dog. First, start with one step at a time and relax. Then when you get the hang of it, you can move to the next step.

5. Going down.

Now, after you’ve mastered going up, it’s time to carry your dog down.

This can be easier because you don’t need to push your dog’s weight like the last time. But be careful and focus because your view ahead might be blocked because of your pet.

Okay, that’s it for the main method on how to carry your dog upstairs. The important fact in the process is to realize it is not easy. It requires practice on your end, and also you need to be very patient too.

In addition, make sure you do not punish your dog if he doesn’t stay still during carrying. Remember, they are like your child, so be patient and consistent at all times.

Recommended reading: Should you have a crate upstairs & downstairs?

Is there any other way to carry a big dog upstairs?

Yes! There is. As we all know, it’s not always possible to carry a dog 24/7. So this is where the help of equipment would come in handy.

It is called a lifting harness. You can buy one made for large dogs at the store or online. 

There are harnesses designed for supporting dogs with movement issues and some regular harnesses with handles to help lift. Also, some can be found for large dogs that help you carry them like a backpack on your back. 
The harness has two handles. One just above the base of the dog’s tail and another between her shoulder blades. With this, you can simply help them up the stairs by lifting up on one or both handles while they walk up the stairs.

Are there any disadvantages of carrying your heavy dog upstairs?

Carrying your dog can be good for your dog, especially if it’s too large to be uncomfortable to go up on its own. But it can work the other way around too.

If for some reason the dog is unable to control the bladder, it often urinates upstairs as it is a bit of a difficult task with his weight to go down the stairs.

1. It can take away great exercise.

Climbing stairs is a great workout for all dogs because it works a dog’s legs, shoulders, hips, and lower back muscles, plus it helps to take the weight off.

Some studies show that along with swimming, stair climbing is one of the most effective and quickest ways for dogs to lose weight. So if you never let your dog do the stairs, it might contribute to less exercise

2. Less control over his movements.

When a dog goes up down the stairs, he has to control the ascending. This involves negative contraction on the muscles, so he will have to use a force to regulate the muscles.

So it’s great for coordination and correct gaiting. Also, it improves range of motion and balance/coordination. So if you don’t let him climb the steps, you might be taking away a great mental exercise too!

3. You might get backache!

Lifting heavy things may result in back pain a lot of the time, and the same goes for heavy dogs. So you should be sure you are correctly lifting him.

4. It might be uncomfortable for him

Just lifting your pet off the ground can be unnatural for your dog, let alone carrying him. Also, it can be because your arms might be in a weird spot around him, or the pressure you’re holding him is too tight.

So you should make sure he’s used to being carried around.

5. It might cause accidents!

As we know, dogs just prefer staying on the ground. Lifting them can make them struggle to lead to slipping and falling. Also, accidents can happen because your dog could block your view, which will make you miss a step and fall!

Recommended reading: Should you allow upstairs for your dog?

Things not to do before carrying your large and heavy dog upstairs.

There are a couple of things you should never do while carrying your dog upstairs. These should be done to avoid any accidents to you or your dog and not break your dog’s trust in you.

However, if you feel carrying a large dog upstairs is quite difficult, consider reading this article to figure out how to keep your dog downstairs at night.

1. Don’t try to lift the dog up by their collar

NEVER DO THIS! This can cause damage to the trachea and cut off your dog’s air supply. If you’re trying to lift him with equipment, use a lifting harness.

2. Don’t attempt to carry your dog by their scruff

It is common to see a dog mother lifting her puppies by their scruff. But that doesn’t mean it should be practiced by humans.

This is because dog mothers know how much pressure should be applied, and also they only use this technique to carry their pups until a certain age.

But this should never be done for large dogs because it might cause injuries for them. In addition, when they become older, it is less likely they wouldn’t tolerate being carried that way.

3. Don’t try to pick your dog by the tail

A lot of dogs will get extremely uncomfortable even if you hold their tail for too long. So you should never try to pick them up by the tail. It shouldn’t be used as a way to make him move

4. Don’t lift your dog by underarms

If it’s a large dog, this would strain their muscles and ligaments and cause them pain. Also, it would make them uncomfortable.

Things to be aware of.

Caring your large dog up the stairs because he’s too afraid to go on his own can be a common thing for dog lovers. But you should check and be aware of why he’s so afraid to do this on his own. Let’s see what could cause a phobia of stairs.

1. Fear or anxiety

They can be afraid of stairs because they might fear they would fall down. Or this can be due to recent bad experiences with the stairs. If this is the case, be patient.

Slowly encourage them with treats, toys, and praise until they become comfortable with the stairs again.

2. Injury or Pain

Your dog might refuse to go up the stairs because he’s in pain whenever he tries to. This can be because of many injuries; leg injury, bag injury, or other strains.

A dog with an injured leg may need support in climbing the stairs. You can use a rear support leash in this case.

If your dog suffers from a back injury, always speak with a Vet and ask what’s best for him. When your dog can use the stairs, make sure its spine is always supported to avoid further injury.

3. Age and loss of strength

Age causes a lot of problems in dogs. For instance, Osteoarthritis, also referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), is a major disorder found in large breeds.

It is a progressively worsening inflammation of the joints caused by the damage of the cartilage. The results in pain, inflammation, decreased range of motion leading to difficulties in climbing stairs.

4. Vision Loss

Just like us, a dog’s vision can change and gradually worsen over time.

Even though your loving pooch may still have their sight, it can worsen enough to affect their depth of perception. This can make going up the stairs a difficult task for them.

If this is the case, you can walk next to them and guide them. This gives them confidence that you’re there if they start to fall.

If you’re not sure if he’d fall, use a pet gate to block the stairs. With this, your dog can only use the stairs when you’re with them.


As a concerned dog mom or dad, you know the tips to focus on carrying a large dog up the stairs. But you should always make sure your dog feels comfortable when you do this. Also, be aware of why your dog can’t or won’t go upstairs on his own. Please consult a vet if anything seems out of the ordinary. I hope this article will help you care for your loved one and make your life a doggy parent happier.

Good luck!

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