Tips & FactsTraining & Behavior

Main Reasons A Chihuahua Yelps When Picked Up

Chihuahuas are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They are also one of the smallest, making them seem fragile. Though they may be small, Chihuahuas are pretty tough and can live a long, healthy life with proper care. If your Chihuahua yelps randomly when you try to pick it up, there could be a few different reasons.

Chihuahuas’ behaviors, yelps, and screams of anguish and misery are the sole indications that they are in pain. In this article, we’ll explore the main reasons Chihuahua yelps when picked up, so you can better understand your pup and give it the care it needs.

Why Does A Chihuahua Yelp When He Is Picked Up?

Why Does A Chihuahua Yelp When He Is Picked Up?

There have been several cases when owners have picked up their Chihuahuas, and the dogs yelped without notice. As owners, we can only assume they’re in agony. There’s no other option than to take them to the vet, even if they don’t seem to be injured.

It may happen to puppies as well as older dogs. On the other hand, Puppies are known for their abrupt and spontaneous yelping.

Following are some possible explanations for your Chihuahua is yelping when you pick it up.

šŸš©Startled or anxious

Puppies and freshly acquired dogs are more likely to be anxious. Your Chihuahua is still getting used to its new home and family. Even being picked up by humans will be uncomfortable for them at this point. When you suddenly pull them up, they may also yelp. The unexpected action might have shocked your dog.

Adopted dogs, particularly those mistreated or injured in the past, may experience a lot of fear. They assume that every touch is intended to harm them. They’d shriek and shudder when you picked them up, thinking you would injure them.

Take little measures with your new puppy to correct this. When a dog is eating, sleeping, or caring for its pups, don’t approach it. Make a name for them. Do it in a pleasant and peaceful tone, so they know you’re not trying to hurt them. Then, before lifting them, attempt to pet them first to get them used to human contact.

Most importantly, while picking them up and handling them, be gentle. Chihuahuas are little dogs. Learn how to correctly hold them so that you can sustain all of their weight.

Holding them while sitting or kneeling may also be beneficial. Standing will make the Chihuahua more concerned that they will fall a great distance. Shorten the sessions till they are no longer afraid or agitated.

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šŸš©Scared of something

Chihuahuas are known to be brachycephalic, meaning they have a short skull and snout. Because of this, their airway is often obstructed, making it difficult for them to breathe. It can cause your Chihuahua anxiety and make him yelp when picked up.

When you pick up your Chihuahua, support his head and neck. The best way to do this is to place one hand under his chest and the other behind his hind legs. It will help avoid putting pressure on his airway and make him feel more secure. You should also avoid picking up your Chihuahua by the scruff of his neck. It can be very uncomfortable for him and may cause him to yelp.

However, if your Chihuahua is still afraid, it will benefit from some positive reinforcement. They may grow out of their phobia of being picked up if they understand you want to hug them.

šŸš©Suffering from muscle or joint pain

Another reason your Chihuahua may howl when lifted is if it has joint or muscular issues. These muscles might produce discomfort if they are stressed throughout the procedure. Joint issues in your Chihuahua might be degenerative or developing.

Degenerative diseases are caused by old age. At the same time, Osteoarthritis is a typical example of such a problem. Your pet spends much of its time running, leaping, and playing. A dog’s muscles may wear down due to such activity.

Whether you watch your pet’s behavior whenever they move, you can tell if this is the case. Chihuahuas with joint problems usually have additional symptoms as well. They’ll howl in agony as well if they do the following movements:

  • Jumping
  • Taking the stairs
  • lying down

If your dog is hesitant to leap or has trouble lying down, it might be suffering from a joint or muscular problem. Make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Temporary issues like overexertion of similar muscles may also be the culprit. Your Chihuahua may feel cramps and muscular spasms in such circumstances. It’s easy to see whether this is true for your pet. Other signs and symptoms of this illness include:

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Allow your Chihuahua to take brief pauses during play or exercise sessions to avoid overworking its muscles. In such instances, make sure your Chihuahua has access to drinking water. It will prevent them from being overheated.

šŸš©Environmental causes

Your Chihuahua’s yelping might also be influenced by its environment. Yelling, horns, sirens, storms, and thunder may cause your dog to become anxious. When they’re anxious, they’ll shriek and tremble.

It makes no difference whether your Chihuahua is young or elderly. Some canines are more sensitive and apprehensive than others.

You may assist them by attempting to provide them with some space away from loud sounds. Give them a room away from the streets and your garage, for example. When there’s a storm or thunderstorm, bring them inside the home.

During these stressful times, some dogs like cuddling with their owners. Pick them up and keep them close by. You might also surround them with their favorite toys to make them feel more at ease.

šŸš©Spinal problems

Muscles and joints are not the only body elements that may hurt. Certain Chihuahuas may have spinal problems. Also, the mid-spine and neck are two typical places where abrupt discomfort might occur. The chronic agony they’re experiencing may be causing them to weep. Their nerves or spinal cord pinching may cause acute discomfort every time you take them up.

Do you see your Chihuahua knuckling over on its front leg regularly? Is their discomfort becoming worse? Both of these symptoms indicate pressure on the spinal cord in the neck. In this case, a vet visit may involve an MRI.

The findings may suggest a damaged intervertebral disk in challenging situations. That disk causes pressure on the dog’s spinal cord. So, the correction will need surgery.

It might take weeks or longer to recover from such surgery. Not operating on the Chihuahua, on the other hand, may render them permanently crippled.

šŸš©You picked them the wrong way.

If you pick up your dog incorrectly, they will be in discomfort and suffer in pain. If you take them up gently, you’ll notice that they react differently and don’t yell.

If you have children, you should educate them on properly caring for a dog. Inform them that they must approach the dog from the side. Allow them to sit and practice picking up a dog to avoid accidentally dropping it.

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Because the Chihuahua is such a little breed, being stomped or dropped is one of the most common causes of death.

Using both hands to pick up a dog is the proper method. Put one hand on the dog’s ramp and the other out wide to support the chest. Make sure the pointer and thumb finger are supporting its underarms.

šŸš©Yelps in excitement

Chihuahuas may also yelp when they’re excited or scared. Dogs that are skittish or have a history of abuse may be more prone to this type of yelping.

When lifted, some dogs may also scream out in delight. Try reading your Chihuahua’s body language if you’re not sure if they’re delighted or afraid when they yelp. The following are some of the universal indicators that Chihuahuas exhibit when they are happy:

  • Wagging tail
  • Eyes wide open
  • Exposing their tongue
  • Leaning into you

Things to Do When Chihuahua Is Yelping When Picked Up

Things to Do When Chihuahua Is Yelping When Picked Up

The best way to stop your Chihuahua from yelping when picked up is to consult with a professional. If you believe that the yelping might be due to an injury, take them to the vet ASAP.

A physical therapist or chiropractor specializing in dogs may also help if the yelping is due to a spinal injury.

You can also try some of the following things at home to help your Chihuahua feel more comfortable:

šŸ¶Pick them up appropriately.

If you don’t raise your dog properly, they will yelp in agony. Dogs have sensitive joints, especially in their shoulders and hips.

You should put one hand under their chest and the other around their bottom when picking up a Chihuahua. Ensure that your fingers are not close to their private parts or near their ribs.

šŸ¶Practice makes perfect

If you’re not used to handling dogs, it’s best to start with a stuffed animal. Dogs are not toys, and you should treat them with respect.

You can also ask a family member or friend to help you get used to handling a real dog. Once you’re both comfortable, you can try picking up your Chihuahua.

šŸ¶Give them time to adjust.

If you just got your Chihuahua, they may need some time to get used to you. Dogs are creatures of habit, and it will take them a while to warm up to you.

Be patient and give your dog some time before picking them up. Once the chihuahuas are comfortable with you, they will be more likely to allow you to pick them up without yelping.

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šŸ¶Limit their movement.

If you think your Chihuahua is yelping because they’re in pain, limiting their movement is best. Put them in a small room or crate where they can’t move around too much.

You can also try wrapping them in a towel or blanket to help immobilize them. It will help to reduce the pain and prevent further injury.

šŸ¶Give them food or treats.

If your Chihuahua is skittish or scared, try offering them food or treats. It will help to calm them down and make them more likely to allow you to pick them up.

You can also try holding a treat in your hand and letting them sniff it before picking them up. It will also help distract the pups from the fact that you’re picking them up.

When Should You Bring Your Chihuahua to The Vet?

When Should You Bring Your Chihuahua to The Vet?

When your Chihuahua yelps in discomfort, it’s difficult to discern whether it’s a danger or not. The following are symptoms that should prompt you to take your Chihuahua to the veterinarian:

šŸ©ŗChanges in emotion and behavior.

If a change in emotion or behavior accompanies your Chihuahua’s yelping, it may signify something serious. When your dog is normally calm and quiet but suddenly becomes aggressive or anxious, it’s best to have them checked out by a professional.

šŸ©ŗLethargy or depression

If your Chihuahua is yelping and in pain, it may also become lethargic or depressed. It is a sign that something is wrong, and you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

šŸ©ŗSeizures and breathing problems

Breathing problems in your dog are a frequent sign of a health concern that requires prompt medical treatment. When a Chihuahua pants, it might indicate that it is in agony. If your dog is shaking or trembling for the first time, see a veterinarian.

šŸ©ŗOther health concerns

If you believe that your Chihuahua’s yelping might be due to an underlying health problem, it’s best to take them to the vet. Some health problems that can cause a dog to yelp include:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Infection

Your veterinarian will be able to determine whether your Chihuahua’s yelping is due to a health problem and provide the appropriate treatment.

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What Can The Vet Do With This?

What Can The Vet Do With This?

Treatment normally starts with a physical examination, X-rays, and neurological evaluation after bringing your Chihuahua to the doctor.

It will assist in identifying the amount of the injury and whether they can treat a Chihuahua with cage rest and medicine alone or whether surgery or another more severe operation is necessary.

Unless the lesions have progressed to being bony and calcified, disk lesions may not be seen on a conventional X-ray. You’ll see that the spacing between the discs has narrowed in some instances. If a conventional X-ray reveals nothing unusual, another imaging treatment may be necessary, such as an MRI.

If the vet discovers back discomfort, the Chihuahua will most likely provide anti-inflammatory medicine, such as a muscle relaxant, steroid, NSAID, and STRICT cage rest.

  • Strict cage rest entails only moving about when required, including bringing food and drink to the Chihuahua.
  • No walks.
  • No bouncing on the furniture.
  • No stair climbing.
  • No games and playing

Fortunately, several Chihuahuas will fully recover and resume their normal lives with enough strict rest. Some people may relapse and have episodes that need rest and medicine regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does it hurt my Chihuahua when I pick him up?

A: There’s no definitive answer to this question since every dog and Chihuahua specifically experiences pain differently. However, picking up a Chihuahua (or any small dog) by the scruff of the neck can be discomforting or even painful for them.

The scruff is a sensitive area on their body, especially when lifted off the ground. If you must pick up your Chihuahua, try doing so gently and only by supporting their hindquarters. It will help avoid putting unnecessary pressure on their neck and spine.

Q: What’s the best way to pick up a Chihuahua?

A: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to pick up a Chihuahua may vary depending on the individual dog’s personality and body size. However, in general, it’s best to approach a Chihuahua from the front or side rather than from above and use slow, gentle movements when picking them up.

Additionally, be sure to support the dog’s whole body – not just its front legs – when lifting them off the ground. With these tips in mind, you should be able to safely and effectively pick up your Chihuahua in a way that makes both of you comfortable!

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Q: Why does my Chihuahua yelp when I touch him?

A: There could be a few reasons why your Chihuahua yelps when you touch him. It could be that he’s in pain or that he’s scared or anxious. Touch can be a trigger for some dogs, so it’s important to figure out the root cause before trying to solve the problem.

If your Chihuahua is yelping in pain, there could be an injury or residual pain from surgery. In this case, you’ll need to take him to the vet for an examination. If your dog is yelping due to anxiety or fear, you’ll need to build up his confidence and help him feel more comfortable with being touched.

Q: How can I help when my Chihuahua yelps?

A: The best way to help your Chihuahua when it yelps is to first identify the cause of the yelping. It could be due to pain, hunger, thirst, fear, or something else. Once you know the cause, you can take steps to address it.

For example, if your dog is yelping due to pain, you’ll want to take it to the vet for an examination and treatment. If it’s yelping because it’s hungry or thirsty, feed or water it as needed. And if fear is the trigger, try calming your dog down with some soothing words and petting. Whatever the reason for the yelping, showing patience and love is always a good place to start!

Final Thoughts

Because of their cuteness, we love to pick our Chihuahuas up and carry them around. We may wonder why they yelp when we do. Unfortunately, there could be several reasons, and it’s important to figure out the root cause before taking steps to address the problem.

Make sure to visit the vet if you think your Chihuahua is yelping in pain, as this could signify an injury or illness. Otherwise, try to identify the trigger for the yelping and take steps to address it accordingly. A little patience and understanding will go a long way in helping your Chihuahua feel better!