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How To Lift Dog After Spay: 4 Don’ts + 4 Tips

Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon.

If your dog has recently been spayed, you’re probably wondering what she’s allowed to do and what not.

The list of things to consider is pretty long.

Walks, car rides, playtime, getting up on the couch, jumping, running, and so on.

Of course, the less pressure you put on your dog’s incision, the faster she’ll recover and the less likely both of you have to deal with complications.

If you pick your dog up the wrong way, you might rip the incision open, cause them pain, and have behavioral issues in the future.

Two small dogs on a brown leather sofa.
Photo by Omelnytskyi on Shutterstock

Generally speaking, you do not want to put pressure on any incision, especially around the abdomen area to avoid complications or infections.

Behavioral issues are a real thing to consider too.

Picking up your dog constantly when they’re in pain will just make them avoid being carried around.

Let’s dive into the topic of how to properly lift a spayed or neutered dog and when it’s necessary.

Oh, I’ll make sure to explain what’s different between small vs. large canines.

Trust me, the caretaker of a 10-pound Yorkie will probably not lift their dog the same way I would lift my 100-pound Rottweiler.

How To Lift Dog After Spay

Lift your spayed dog by wrapping one arm around the hind legs and one arm around the chest or in between the front legs and avoid putting pressure on the incision.

In my article How To Carry Dogs, I’ve outlined how you can lift your dog without injury and 4 lifting ways you should avoid.

Naturally, you should avoid these 4 ways of lifting your dog if they’re spayed too.

The common mistakes of picking up a dog include the following:

  1. Don’t lift a dog by their collar
  2. Don’t lift a dog by their scruff
  3. Don’t lift a dog by their tail
  4. Don’t lift a dog by their underarms/legs

The first two ways unnecessarily stress their neck and air supply.

Most of the time, it’s a child grabbing a dog by their tail. You might be able to ignore a struggling small pooch but not when a large dog puts up a fight. It’s incredibly dangerous.

Being lifted by the underarms is simply uncomfortable and would, for a spayed dog, unnecessarily stretch the incision and leave the abdomen hanging.

However, in that article, I did recommend another way you can lift a large dog.

That way was by placing the hand around the hind legs (but more around the paws instead of the actual legs) and the other hand around the chest (not in front or between the front legs but behind the front legs).

Rottweiler sitting on a chair on the right and standing while panting in the summer on the right.
Photo by Pawleaks

For me personally, this is the safest way to lift my 100-pound Rottweiler as that’s where I can use the momentum and she doesn’t mind.

Lifting a very large dog by with your arms around the hind legs can cause them to slip away.

Similarly, as my dog is hanging like a wet sack of potatoes, it could really strain her throat when she slips in the front.

That being said, I do not recommend lifting your dog like this after being spayed.

Instead, lift a large spayed dog with one arm around the hind legs and one around the front legs, or carry your dog with two people.

Alternatively, you can use a doggy ramp or even a stretcher.

Can I Carry My Dog After Being Neutered?

Yes, you can carry your dog after he’s neutered but should avoid it. If you do have to carry him, wrap the arms around the front and hind legs.

While the neutering procedure is easier on a dog’s body than a spay, it’s not wise to put pressure on any incision.

Consider how you can minimize the necessity to lift your dog after the procedure and follow the tips below.

How Do I Move My Dog After Being Spayed?

Avoid moving your dog after they’re spayed and if absolutely necessary, lift them carefully without pressure on the abdomen.

Except for getting home from the vet (4 hands are usually best to get that job done), there’s usually no reason to move your pet after that.

  1. No car rides if not essential
  2. No jumping (greetings, excitement, play)
  3. No getting up and down from a couch or bed
  4. No climbing of stairs

If you often get to walking spots by car, scratch that for the first couple of weeks.

Instead, walk your dog in your neighborhood.

Excitement or greeting jumping should be discouraged.

Instead, provide your dog with mental exercise and calm, controlled on-leash walks.

Now, what about the couch or stairs, especially if the dog’s sleeping spot is upstairs?

Where Should a Neutered or Spayed Dog Sleep?

A spayed dog should sleep on an orthopedic dog bed on the ground and if the bedroom is upstairs, they can be carried up once at the end of the day.

Dogs who have been used to getting up and down from the couch can only do this if the comfy spot is low on the ground.

Similarly, restrict access to the bed if you have one that requires your dog to jump.

Instead, provide your dog with a cozy ground-level safe haven for the time being.

Stairs are not to be climbed (and not carried either) unless absolutely necessary.

If you live in a multi-level home, consider carrying your dog when you go to bed and consult your vet on when you can let them climb the stairs again.

Letting them sleep downstairs might not be the best solution as it can cause separation anxiety and general disruption of routine.

I hope this helps with carrying your pup. Keep in mind to check in with your vet if you notice any physical or behavioral changes after any medical procedure.

Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

Equipped with 5+ years of expertise as a Rottweiler owner, I partner with licensed veterinarians and trainers to share research-backed and actionable advice for you and your furry friend.