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Why Does My Dog Yelp When I Pick Him Up: 12 Potential Reasons

As with almost any type of interaction between humans, the process of picking up a dog can be pretty complicated. Some dogs will yelp, and others may growl or even bite. Why does my dog yelp when I pick him up? 

You may have tried to pick up your dog before, and it yelped, growled, or even bit you. Or, a dog may be anxious during the beginning, and this fear can affect their reaction to your approach. 

Dog owners know how difficult it can sometimes be to celebrate their pet’s joy. And today, I will discuss some of the reasons why that might be.

Why Does My Dog Yelp When I Pick Him Up?

why does my dog yelp when i pick him up under his arms

There are many reasons a dog may react this way when you attempt to pick them up. Here are some of the most common:

May Have Internal Injuries

Picking up a dog in an uncontrolled way can cause him to yelp. When we pick up a dog, do it very quickly and unceremoniously, or hold it high off the ground, there is a high risk of causing him to yelp. 

That’s because you’re interrupting certain reflexes that allow him to regulate his center of gravity. We also put pressure on our dog’s lumbar spine, which can cause pain if you’re doing it wrong. It is one of the most common reasons dogs yelp when picked up.

Get Out of Fear

A dog’s vocalization indicates discomfort and fear, but it’s also a way for him to express excitement. If your dog displays some of these behaviors, it means that he’s afraid:

  1. He is afraid of being alone in the house or the yard.
  2. Also, he doesn’t like to be separated from you.
  3. For example, he feels threatened when he gets in touch with the vacuum cleaner.
  4. Besides, he doesn’t like strangers or people he doesn’t know very well.

Taking in the Wrong Way

Sometimes your dog yelps when you hold him, which isn’t good. The way that you hold the dog is significant because his weight can cause a lot of damage to his neck and spine through pressure.

One of the most common reasons why dogs yelp when they’re being picked up is simply that you have done it in an uncontrol way:

  1. You grab them too quickly before they have time to react.
  2. They are not accustomed to being picked up.
  3. Your hand is closed into a fist, which makes it hard for the dog to breathe correctly.

Feel Joint Pain

There are several reasons why dogs may yelp when they’re being picked up. One of them is a problem in a joint:

  1. A slipped disc (in the spine) causes pain and may be accompanied by yelping.
  2. Cartilage damage to the knee can cause discomfort or pain.
  3. Another possible reason for pain is an infection in the spine or joint.
  4. If you notice that your dog has any of these behaviors immediately, it will help you solve the problem.

Had Recent Surgery

Surgery is sometimes necessary to fix problems in the spine. However, it’s essential to consult a specialist to properly diagnose the problem, according to Dr. David Crowe of VeterinaryCare-PA.org.

Not Surprise

Dogs are susceptible and can perceive many things we don’t even realize. When we arrive home without warning or while they’re resting, our dog may react out of surprise. His yelp tells us that he’s surprised by what’s happened. Due to external stimuli like loud noises or something inside, the dog would like to get released from you.

Feel Excitement

Dogs often yelp when they’re feeling excited. When we enter the house, our dog might become very enthusiastic and jump to greet us. He may even bark or yelp just from being excited. That’s because the dog is doing what his genetics have taught him. He does it to bring his pack’s awareness about his excitement for a particular event.

Have Spinal Pain

Dogs will often yelp when they’re picked up to avoid pain. This is a common symptom of spinal cord issues. The spine is made up of vertebrae, which are bones that allow the body to remain stable and functioning correctly. Whenever there is an injury, it can lead to pain in the back and legs.

Feel problem in Breathing

Dogs often yelp when they’re being picked up because they’re breathing difficulties. It happens mostly to dogs that are suffering from heart disease. The increased pressure on the heart can cause a lot of discomfort and pain in the lungs, which can cause them to yelp.

May have Muscle issues

Dogs may yelp when picked up from the pressure of the arm or any discomfort caused by a muscle cramp in their legs. This is usually due to a prolonged and complex contraction of the hamstring muscles.

You’ll sometimes notice your dog yelping when it moves his leg, but he won’t use it immediately. In such cases, it could be that he’s tightening his muscles and causing pain.

They’re frightened

Your dog may yelp when he’s frightened because he doesn’t know what’s happening or doesn’t have time to react. Sometimes the dog doesn’t know what to do in a specific situation. 

When you pick him up, he may feel surprised and anxious, causing him to yelp. His vocalization also allows other dogs in his pack to communicate with him, which explains why they might also be alarmed when you enter the yard or house.

Have Infections in the Eyes

Dogs often yelp when picked up because of eye infections, which can cause pain and discomfort. The dog may also experience pain from the pressure on the eyeball when you reach for his face or nose.

Final Words

Some dogs yelp when picked up for a reason, but others do it for different ones. If I summarize why does my dog yelp when I pick him up, they are due to genetic programming and other situations.

Yelling is a way to communicate that something is wrong, even if the dog can’t talk. That’s why you need to know what type of situation causes your dog to yelp. So you can adequately treat whatever is causing him discomfort and pain.

You may also read: Why Does My Dog Put Her Butt on Me

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