How to Carry a Large Dog Down The Stairs [& a Safe Alternative]

Carrying a large dog down the stairs is easiest when you wrap your arms around its back and front legs while it is facing you. The next step is to lift the dog to the level of your stomach. Be careful as you walk down the stairs. Be sure to take your time finding each step. 

Has your dog recently started refusing to go down the stairs?

As dogs get older, their mobility can become an issue – especially when it comes to stairs. Aging does not discriminate, even with larger dogs.

The aging process can make the simple task of walking up and down the stairs impossible due to pain, limited mobility, or even eyesight.

Hesitancy or downright refusal to take the stairs can make day-to-day unmanageable, especially with a dog that weighs nearly as much as its owner!

Once a dog starts refusing to use the stairs, many owners seek ways to transport the dogs themselves or make the climbing process somewhat easier for them.

When carrying a large dog, it is important to do so correctly to avoid injuring yourself or your canine companion in the process. Before you carry Fido down the stairs, you need to master carrying them up first.

In this case, practice certainly makes perfect. Your dog will need time to get adjusted to being carried while your body will need to accommodate the extra weight.

Continue reading to learn how to properly carry a large dog up – and then down! – the stairs.

The Proper Method: Carrying a Large Dog Down the Stairs

Before attempting to carry your large dog up the stairs by yourself, you need to understand the weight of this task (not just the dog’s weight).

While you are carrying a dog that can weigh up to 100 pounds (if not more), you are responsible for that dog’s safety as well as your own. This task is not to be taken lightly, as there is an opportunity for serious bodily harm if you do this incorrectly or lose your balance.

You need to practice this skill on level ground before you attempt an incline of any sort. That being said, if you follow these steps, you will be able to successfully carry your large dog up and down the stairs.

Wrap Your Arms Around The Dogs Limbs

Having your arms correctly wrapped around your dog’s limbs is one of the trickiest steps in the process.

To do this, place your arms around both the back and the front legs of the dog while the dog is facing away from you. You need to have your arms close to your body while you do this so your dog cannot run away.

You will have an easier time in this endeavor if your dog has been trained to remain still.

Lift The Dog to the Correct Height of Your Body

Next, you need to lift the dog up in the air to the height of your stomach. Bend your knees as you do this to avoid straining your back.

This carrying position on your body will help you stay balanced as you climb up and down the stairs. If you have the dog too high or too low, you risk losing your balance on the stairs – which could be disastrous for everyone involved.

Practice On Level Ground

After you’ve mastered lifting your dog to your stomach, you need to practice navigating level ground while carrying your canine. This is partly to build endurance – climbing stairs is exercise by itself, not including the additional weight you’ve added!

Practicing on level ground allows you to perfect your holding technique while helping your dog ease into being carried.

You can also take the moment to note how your dog reacts to being carried; this will help you during the next step.

One Step at a Time

After familiarizing yourself with your dog’s weight and figuring out what works with your body, take the first step. You don’t have to rush up the stairs – take it one step at a time, resting after each one to see how your body is handling the task. Once you get to the top of the stairs, set the dog down carefully, bending with your knees to bring their body to the floor.

Going Down the Stairs

Carrying your dog down the stairs is slightly easier than bringing them up. You have gravity working on your side this time; instead of pushing their weight up the stairs, you are merely bringing them back down.

One of the main issues of carrying a large dog downstairs is that your line of view is obstructed by their body. This can be very dangerous, so take your time finding the next step as you descend.

What to Be Mindful of When Carrying a Large Dog Down the Stairs

When carrying your large dog down the stairs, there is room for mishaps to happen. To avoid hurting yourself or your dog, consider the following advice:

Do Not Carry Your Dog Incorrectly.

Grabbing your dog by the collar, underneath their arms, or by the scruff of their neck is not an acceptable way of trying to carry a large dog. This can result in serious bodily harm to your dog and, if they retaliate, yourself.

Only Carry The Dog When Needed

The more you carry your dog, the less exercise the dog takes part in. Climbing stairs is great exercise for humans and dogs, but it also assists dogs in correcting their gaits and general coordination.

You May Injure Your Back

If you frequently carry your dog on the stairs, your back might start hurting – especially if you are carrying your dog incorrectly.

Alternatives to Carrying Your Large Dog Down the Stairs

If you find that you physically cannot handle carrying your large dog up and down the stairs by yourself – you are not alone!

Lifting harnesses are available for large dogs that will assist you in this task. They work well for those who do not mind occasionally carrying the dog but would like a little assistance every once in a while.

The harnesses were created for dogs with mobility issues. With two handles near the tail and the neck, you can help your dog go up or down the stairs by lifting one – or both! – of the handles as they walk.

There are several styles available to assist you and your dog in navigating the stairs in your home and elsewhere.

Key Points to Carrying Your Dog Down the Stairs

When it comes down to carrying your dog down the stairs, practice really does make perfect. You cannot expect to pick your dog up correctly the first time without having researched to some extent.

You, as the owner, should want to make sure that your dog is comfortable in your arms and that both of you are safe as you climb the stairs. You will want to wrap your arms around both the front and back legs of your dog, then hold your dog to your stomach as you climb the stairs to maintain your sense of balance.

If you find it difficult to lift your dog’s weight by yourself, many harnesses and other devices have been created that will assist you in doing so.

These devices ease the strain on both you and your dog when going up and down the stairs, but the designs usually require some participation on your dog’s end so that you do not end up carrying all their weight.

Whether your aging dog has refused to go up or down the stairs or your larger dog has undergone a recent surgery that makes it difficult for them to climb the stairs, if you follow the above steps to correctly carry your dog, you will be able to navigate this new obstacle.

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