How To Care For a “Tripod” Dog

I often refer to dogs as “four legged friends”, but what happens when your four-legged friend becomes a three-legged friend? Amputations can occur for a variety of reasons in canines including accidents, birth defects, fractures that were not treated and bone cancer. While the thought of a tripod dog may be traumatic to us and we may worry about how they will adjust to their “disability”, these fears are unfounded. We tend to think of our pets going through the human emotions of loss when the amputation happens, when in fact, our pet is usually relieved from a great deal of pain. Most owners find that their pet’s behavior improves at an alarming rate once the source of physical discomfort is removed.

Three-Legged dogs don’t know that they’re any different from other dogs and once they are recovered from surgery, they are usually lively, active members of the family. Here are a few steps to take to help your pooch recover and stay fit and healthy!

Try to stick to routines

During the period in which your dog is recovering from surgery, we know it may be difficult to stick to routines, but making attempts to will help your dog stay mentally healthy and feel secure. Feeding times, trips outside and even treat-rituals will reassure your pooch that not much has changed. Over-coddlng any ill dog can lead to the formation of bad habits. For example, if you allow your recovering dog on the couch, don’t expect him to understand that he can’t get up there once he is well.

Make Your House Tripod Friendly

Slippery floors and three-legged dogs don’t mix! Some minor modifications to your home will help your dog feel more stable when maneuvering around his environment. Runners placed in hallways will make moving around easier on hard wood floors. Mats or rugs can be placed on slick surfaces to ensure safe mobility.

Make Eating Comfortable

A pair of raised dishes placed on a rubber mat is an ideal feeding station for a three-legged dog. The raised dishes will let your dog keep his balance while eating his meals.

Keep Him Trim

Obesity in dogs can lead to arthritis and other hip and elbow issues. These problems are compounded when you are dealing with a dog that has lost a leg. There is no reason that your dog shouldn’t exercise once he has recovered from surgery, in fact, this should be encouraged! Three-legged dogs like to run and fetch with the best of them, so make sure you give your dog a chance to stretch his paws and stay fit!

Choose Healthy Snacks

In sticking with the advice in the tip above, make sure you choose healthy treats and snacks for your dog. Don’t allow them fatty table foods or sugary snacks (these aren’t good for any dog!), instead choose healthy, high quality treats or even hand him a baby carrot or green bean! These will make your dog happy and help keep his weight down.

Check The Paws

Make sure to check your dog’s healthy paws and legs daily for any issues. Bring any concerns to your Veterinarian as soon as you can in order to keep your feeling fit!


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