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One of my dogs is getting spayed next week and I live in a house where all access to outside requires the use of stairs. I don't have the money for ramps so I'm wondering if there is a way to pick her up without hurting her and without doing anything to mess up the stitches. She is 55 lbs and skinny.
 

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If the dog isn't used to being picked up and/or isn't very very relaxed about being manhandled, then lifting and carrying on stairs is more dangerous for both of you than walking slowly on leash on those stairs. Even a very relax large dog who can be carried is still almost always better off just walking slowly on the steps by themselves.
You have very bad balance with zero hands free and a big moving weight in your arma. Do not want to tumble on staira!

Are we talking a few porch steps? One flight? Normal width and depth stairs? None of that is likely a probably for a medium to large dog in terms of over-stretching and pulling stitches or bleeding inside.

No running, no jumping, no big leaps like onto high furniture.

Practice a lift now though in case she needs help out of the car and inside if the meds make her a little drowsy the first day.

Squat next to dog facing her side with her head towards one arm and butt towards the other. Put one lower arm and elbow crook acrost chest bone, put the other arm hooked under rump/thigh area. Stand and hug dog into your chest.

Note that dogs not used to things like this can panic, flail around, even bite in fear. Most dogs will just wiggle uncomfortably for a second but large dogs in general are just not accostumed to being carried so its a surprise.
 

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For a spay surgery, you shouldn't have to carry her. Just put her on leash and have her slowly go down the stairs. Ask your vet for specifics on exercise restrictions, but the first day they're usually pretty drowsy so won't move much anyway.
 

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It shouldn't be necessary to carry her. However, if you ever do need to pick her up, Shell's method is best.

The last 3 pictures of the black dog in this article show how it should look. Not the one above where the person's arm is under the dog's neck - that won't be comfortable at all.
http://home.exetel.com.au/fanderson/faid/fa3b.php
 

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I lift my dogs (22/23 kg) by the large dog method but prefer to put the arm at the chest end between the front legs with the hand curving up the ribs away from me. This means the dog is hugged to my chest without pushing both ends of the dog towards each other. I would never attempt to carry one downstairs though. Being unable to see the steps plus the large unwieldy burden and no hand free in case of a misstep seems too risky.
 
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