It can be distressing and annoying for you if your dog yelps when picked up under the chest for no reason.
Yelping is the sudden sound that dogs make to tell their owners that something is wrong, and most of the time it is usually pain.
Dog yelping in pain, when picked up, can be caused by various reasons.
It can be an indication that their joints, muscles, or spine is injured. The way you are picking them up could be painful or inappropriate, or they could be having an emotional reaction out of surprise, excitement, or fear.
It can be difficult to find the cause of the pain, that is why it is important to observe your dog and see the changes and take them to the vet immediately.
This article will provide you with information about the causes of dog yelping and what you can do to help your dog.
Why Does My Dog Yelps When He Is Picked Up?
Your dog is yelping when picked up because they are experiencing some sort of physical pain or discomfort.
As a dog owner, you should investigate the following possible causes of dog yelping when picked up:
1. Mental Anguish
This is the most harmless and straightforward possible reason why your dog yelps when they are picked up. Simply, they have gotten a shock.
If your dog was sleeping, resting, or not paying attention when you picked them, you might have startled them. Usually, medium or large breed dogs do not like being picked up because of fear of heights.
Knowing their size, most energetic and independent dogs may not want to be picked up and be confined in your arms because they’d rather do something and love being on their own.
Any dog that has been dropped or mishandled before will be hesitant about being picked up as well.
It will be hard for puppies who have been mishandled by breeders to develop socialization skills. Therefore, they will not look forward to being cuddled and touched.
If your puppy is like this, work with them until they are comfortable with being picked up and cuddled. Do not surprise, scoop, or sneak up on them without a warning.
Speak your puppy’s name and approach from the side to get their attention, then pick them up gently.
In the beginning, keep the handling sessions short so that your puppy can learn that it is a good thing for them to be picked up. Do not pick up your dog unless it is necessary.
If you must for emergency or transport reasons, ensure that you gently approach them from the front and provide them with a lot of visual and vocal notice that you are about to handle and touch them.
Soft tissue injuries such as bruising or an open wound in the chest area may be causing your dog to yelp when carried.
These areas are tender, and your dog will show any soreness by whining when picked up. These injuries may happen if your dog overplays, jumps, or falls from an elevated surface.
Your dog may also be having a broken rib. If this is the case, your dog will show symptoms such as difficulty building or coughing.
There will be a dent in the chest wall if the rib has been displaced significantly. The injuries can be in form of a strained muscle, sprained ligaments, or a bone fracture.
If the wound is visible like a cut or a scrape, it is easy to identify and treat it. Use medical sprays or ointment to thoroughly clean and disinfect the area, then provide a dressing or a bandage to cover it.
If you cannot see the injury, gently touch every part of your dog’s body until you find the specific spot that makes them uncomfortable when you press it. Take them to the vet for an assessment and treatment.
If your dog has a bruise or a strain, you can start the healing process and ease the pain by putting an icepack over the area to reduce the inflammation.
There could be skin infections or abnormal growths in the chest area causing pain and discomfort. If your dog has developed a cyst, blister, or tumor, they will experience significant discomfort if pressure is applied to them.
Lymph nodes are tiny lumps that can form all over your dog’s body. If there is an infection, they will bulge and become painful. So, you might be pressing them when picking your dog that’s why they are yelping.
You cannot feel the nodes but most of them are in the armpits, groins, back of hind legs, under the jaw, and around the shoulders. These can be caused by a fungal infection, allergens, or bacteria from ticks.
Skin infections, lesions, and bumps can make your dog feel painful and itchy especially when touched and have various causes such as infectious disease, clogged oil gland, or even cancer.
Your dog should be examined by a vet to determine the root cause of the infection.
4. Musculoskeletal Problems
Another possible reason for your dog to yelp when they are picked up is because they have neck pain, arthritis, back pain, or abdominal tightness.
If your dog has musculoskeletal problems, they will not be moving as they were before and they will be reluctant to jump or run as before.
Older dogs have a high risk of developing arthritis because their joints and cartilage have become worn out because of age. Hence, any jostling or movement when picked up can be a painful experience for them.
If your dog is having neck pain, their head will always face downwards, and they will only move the eyes in situations where they try to look around.
Developmental problems such as hip dysplasia affect large breed dogs such as Great Danes and German Shepherds.
Monitoring your dog’s behavior will help you determine whether they have this problem or not. If you notice that your dog yelps in pain when lying down, jumping, or climbing the stairs, he could be suffering from a joint problem.
Some dogs might have issues with their spine which causes them to yelp when you pick them up because of the sharp pain from the impingement of the spinal cord or nerves.
If you notice that your dog knuckles over their front leg, take them to the vet for and he or she will perform a standard x-ray or MRI.
In severe cases, the results may indicate a ruptured intervertebral disk which will require surgery to correct.
5. The Way You Pick Them Up Is the Wrong
Your dog will feel pain if they are picked up in the wrong way. If you pick them gently, you will notice that they behave differently and don’t yelp.
If you have kids, you must teach them how to handle a dog. Let them know that they should approach the dog from the side.
Additionally, let them sit down and practice how to pick up a dog to prevent them from accidentally dropping the dog.
Chihuahua is a small breed and being dropped or stepped is one of the main causes of their death.
The right way of picking up a dog is using both hands. Put one hand on the ramp of the dog and widely spread the other to support the chest.
Ensure that you support the underarms with your thumb and pointer finger.
When some dogs are picked up, they get excited and cry out to show this emotion. Read the body language of your dog if you are not sure whether your dog is yelping because they are scared or excited.
Other signs that your dog shows when they are happy include wide-open eyes, tail wagging, and showing their tongue.
7. Your Dog is Scared or Frightened
A dog can be fearful when they are picked up. To confirm that your dog is scared to be picked up, observe if they are likely to cry when you quickly approach them.
Then, try approaching them gently. If the reaction is only limited to when you pick them quickly, be gentle the next time you carry them.
However, if your dog is scared regardless, they need some positive reinforcement. When they realize that you want to cuddle them, they may grow out of this fear of being picked up.
First, you need to make them aware of you, then kneel to be on the same level and pick them up using both hands.
Do not let your dog hover but pull them close and hold them against your chest. Properly hold the dog and only apply enough force so that they do not wiggle and drop.
Communicate with them using a soothing voice so that they are not frightened or scared by you.
Your dog could be having temporary muscular conditions such as muscle spasms and cramps.
To find out whether your dog is yelping because they have cramps, look for symptoms such as slow movement, twitching and tremors, difficulty in straightening legs, and limping.
Muscle spasms cause pain, lameness, and depression in dogs. Spasms can happen to your dog because of dehydration, allergies, injuries, and neurological disorders.
You might notice that your dog is shaking and yelping when you pick them.
To make sure that your dog’s muscles are not overworked, allow them to take a break during exercise or play sessions. Also, ensure that they are drinking enough water in such situations to keep them from overheating.
Your vet can recommend some exercises to help reduce the stiffness of the muscles as well as some medications to help minimize the occurrence of spasms.
Your dog may also be anxious. Picking them up will ass to the stress and fear your dog is feeling, especially if they do not know the person picking them up.
This happens if your dog has been exposed to a stressor in form of a person, another dog, or a loud sound.
If your dog has separation anxiety, they are likely to yelp when they are being picked up. Therefore, desensitize your dog to the stressors so that they are not feeling on edge and anxious all the time.
Signs Your Dog Is In Pain
It is not easy to tell if your dog is in pain and this could be why they yelp each time you pick them up. The following are signs that you may see if your dog is in pain:
Difficulty in Breathing
When your dog is in too much pain, they are likely to develop breathing difficulty. This can tell you that there is something wrong and you need to visit your vet immediately.
Loss of Appetite
You can monitor your dog’s wellbeing through their eating habits. When they are in pain, they are not in the mood to eat and may even result in them losing their appetite.
Therefore, if your dog yelps when picked up and has lost appetite, visit your vet immediately.
Discharge from the eye or eye redness
These conditions indicate pain. When your dog experiences pain, take them to the vet. If your dog has an eye infection, he will yelp constantly and can develop a fever too.
How Do You Pick Up A Dog That Is In Pain?
If your dog is in pain, you should pick him up with care. If they are injured, lift them to take them to the vet. This depends on where the pain is coming from or the size of the dog.
Let your dog know that they are about to be picked up and let him relax before lifting. Use a leash or towel over the head and hold the limbs with it.
If your dog is a small breed, you can lift them with one arm. Place your arm under the chest between the front legs and tuck them between your body and arm so that they are well supported.
For medium dogs, lift them using your dominant arm behind their legs, and use your hand to wrap around the front chest and hold them close to your chest.
Large dogs that weigh more than 40 lbs may require you to request help from another person. If your dog feels insecure, it may add to their struggle and pain.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Yelping In Pain When Picked Up?
The following are ways to deal with your yelping dog:
If you suspect your dog to have some injuries in the body, limit their movements as much and not engage them in strenuous activities.
Your dog may express fear in the way you interact with them when you pick them up and may cause them to be stressed or anxious. Always be calm when approaching them and avoid picking them up forcefully.
Collect necessary information
If your dog yelps in pain when you pick them up, first determine the source of their pain, the possible causes of their pain, and how they yelp. Consider the events before they yelp, when they first start, and what caused it.
Pick them up appropriately
Your dog will yelp in pain if you don’t lift them appropriately. Therefore, don’t pick them up forcefully or quickly rather be careful and gentle. Hold them properly based on their sizes.
Take the dog to the vet
If your dog show changes in behavior or manifest some signs of injuries, you may need to see a professional.
Take your dog to the vet immediately if you cannot figure out what is wrong with them. This will help save your dog from any possible health complications.
When Should You Go To The Vet?
It is not easy to tell if it is a threat when your dog yelps in pain or not. The following are symptoms you should bring your dog to the vet:
Seizures and difficulty in breathing
Your dog’s breathing difficulty is a common indication of a health problem that needs immediate medical attention.
Dog’s panting may sometimes be a sign of pain in them. See a vet if your dog shows shaking or tremors that they have not manifested before.
Your dog could look well but the moment you pick them up, they unexpectedly yelp in pain.
This could be because of sustained trauma either through getting hit without their knowledge or through fights with other dogs.
Other emotional and behavioral changes
Sudden changes in your dog’s routine, actions, and moods can tell you that something is not right, and you should see a vet immediately.
It is worrying when your dog yelps if they have had an accident or after being vaccinated. But it can be frightening when the cause of your dog crying when picked up under the chest is not known.
Dogs rarely yelp unless they are in true discomfort and pain and some of the reasons discussed above include anxiety, mental distress, joint issues, spinal issues, neck pains, infections, injuries, cramps, or simply your dog is scared and does not want to be picked up.
The best course of action is to take them to the vet if you are not sure of what is causing their yelping.
The vet can diagnose and prescribe treatment for the potential cause of pain. With well-managed rest, your dog will recover and return quickly to his normal and active life.