Carrying a Large Breed Dog

Carrying a Large Breed Dog

Carrying a large breed dog is not for the faint-hearted!  For those of you who haven’t met me, you may not know that I am only a little person … in fact, probably just 5ft 3″ tall even if I stretch up to my tippy toes.  My husband Mike, 6ft 2″ refers to me as a hobbit and in all honesty, he does have a point.  My dogs, however, are not small by anybody’s standard, being 27″ to the shoulder and weighing in at around 40 kg each.

Me & My Metalrock Ridgebacks
Me & My Metalrock Ridgebacks

They are, however, trained to walk alongside me, on my own, very nicely without a head collar and rarely give me a moment’s trouble – but that’s on a good day.  The question is, what would I do if it all went horribly wrong and I was all alone – just me ….. the hobbit?

We all know the kindest, most caring way to carry an animal is safely in your arms with one hand under their bottom for support and another under their chest for stability.

hoodie stretcher carry dog

That said, however, should you ever think your dog is in or is going into shock and you need to carry him, say back to the car for example, then the position is inverted with one arm around their waist, just above the hips, and another under their front legs at the chest WITH THE DOG HEAD DOWN.  This position, crazy at it looks, has many beneficial points:

hoodie stretcher shock position

  1. The airway is open so if the dog vomits, he will not breathe it in and choke
  2. The tongue is lolling forward, again keeping the airway open
  3. They have the vital warmth and comfort of being close to you
  4. The oxygenated blood is channelled, with gravity, towards the brain where he needs it

Now imagine that the dog you are carrying is larger than you can comfortably manage to carry in the usual manner as above.  What then?  For me as the tiny owner of three large dogs, the question has come to mind more than once.  How would I move such a heavy, large animal on my own? Could I carry him by myself? Probably not …. but I could make a stretcher and drag him along.

The following is how I would go about making a stretcher for a larger dog.  I know it’s not ideal, but if you are on your own and in the absence of any professional “kit” to utilise, it’s about the best we’ve been able to come up with.  Thank you to my darling, ever-patient Rain-Bob for co-operating in the demonstation – he must think I am completely and utterly crackers.

  1. Remove your hoodie and unzip it
  2. Turn the arms inside out and slot a branch up inside them (I’m improvising here with a couple of rolls of wrapping paper, just for demonstration purposes, but anything long & stable would do) hoodie stretcher two arms
  3. Place the dog on top of your hoodie
  4. Pull the drawstring on the hood tight and secure to make a pocket for his bottom
  5. Zip the dog up in the hoodie, head sticking out of the waistband endhoodie stretcher Rain
  6. Use the sleeves, stabilised with the branches, and drag the dog


I sincerely hope the opportunity to put this into practice never presents itself to you, but at least if it does you will have a plan on the back burner rather than being left in the lurch.

Stay safe …… big dogs don’t just rock – they METALROCK!!!