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How to Help a New Tripawd Urinate After Amputation

One of the most common questions future Tripawd parents have is, “How will my Tripawd urinate after amputation surgery?” The good news is, dogs and cats are good at figuring it out. And if for some reason they have trouble urinating, these tips can help.

Please note: This information is not meant to replace veterinary help. Always keep your vet informed about your post-amputation concerns. And if your new Tripawd has not urinated within 12 hours, call your vet immediately.

How to Help a New Tripawd Urinate After Amputation Surgery

Otis’ mom shares great post-amputation tips.

Bringing home a new three legged dog or cat is like bringing home a fragile newborn baby. But the truth is, our dogs and cats are stronger than we imagine, even with one less leg.

Dogs and cats are good at figuring out how to toilet after surgery. In fact, your vet will not allow your pet to come home until they can urinate unassisted.

But if your pet comes home and will not urinate like before, don’t panic. Sometimes a new Tripawd will be too exhausted or medicated to do it on their own. The dog or cat may also have stage fright if you’re nervously hovering around while they try to go.

If you’re baffled about getting your Tripawd to urinate after amputation surgery, the Tripawds community members are here to help with their best tips.

How to Help a New Canine Tripawd Urinate After Amputation Surgery

help Tripawd urinate after amputation surgery
Otis sniffs around the yard, one month post-amputation.

In this Forums Discussion post, member otisandtess offers great tips for dog parents to help a new Tripawd urinate after amputation. Although she’s discussing her male dog Otis (and his sister Tess) you may be able to apply these same tips for female Tripawd dogs.

With a male dog, who is used to lifting his leg, loss of the front leg can make it hard to figure out how to go.

Make sure that he has something stable to lean on.  The first couple of days, Otis leaned on (and peed on) the house.  Gross, I know, but as soon as he had better balance he moved to bushes and trees.

I also found that he would not pee with the leash on. I used it to take him to his spot, unclipped it for his business, and then reclipped to come back inside.

Make sure also that you can get him to somewhere in the yard where he has peed in the past – some dogs want to feel “hidden” or have favorite spots (or have been trained not to go right outside the door on the stairs or patio). One member ended up driving his dog back to the vet’s, with all of the interesting smells, where the dog promptly peed.  

Do you let your female out at the same time?  My male often pees on top of the female’s.

help Tripawd urinate after amputation
Get more great Tripawd dog tips.

Tips to Help Tripawd Cats Urinate Post Surgery

Tripawd cats are nimble, even right out of the hospital. Helping a feline Tripawd urinate after amputation surgery isn’t quite as hands-on as it is for dog parents. But sometimes cats do need help for the same reasons Tripawd dogs do: medication can cause wooziness and lack of coordination. Plus, a cat’s existing litter box might be too big for a new Trikitty to step into it.

Our Tripawds feline family members often share great litterbox tips for Tripawd cats, that make toileting easier. These suggestions are best done before surgery day, such as:

“We got a low sided litter box for recovery and it still did not help Purrkins. We ended up cutting the front of our litter box out (we used a Dremel tool to do it) the plastic was really tough to cut. By cutting it out further Purrkins was able to walk (hop) in and out easier without so much flopping. It made all the difference for him.” — Purrkins

tripawd urinate after amputation surgery
Purrkins’ low sided Tripawd cat litter box.

“I had taken a cardboard Amazon box and cut the sides way down, lower than a typical little litter box . . . Lined the box with a puppy pad and put that new litter in there. She got in it and peed right away!” — B

tripawd urinate after amputation surgery
Feta supervises DIY low-sided kitty litter box.

“Basically, I use cardboard boxes, line them with plastic (I am currently using Duck Brand 1115016 Peel N’ Stick Laminate Adhesive Shelf Liner), reinforce weak spots with superglue and/or packing or duct tape (my cat is a BIG digger), and change out the box every couple of months.

I also have SO MANY LITTER MATS to help keep things semi-tidy. And I’m currently using a floor protector underneath everything in case of accidents, spills, etc.” — Feta’s Mom

Tripawd urinate after amputation surgery
Get more three-legged cat tips in our library.

What are Your Best Tripawd Recovery Tips?

We are always learning from each other in the Tripawds community. Be sure to share your best Tripawd Recovery Tips in our Treatment and Recovery Discussion Forum!


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3 thoughts on “How to Help a New Tripawd Urinate After Amputation”

  1. My pup came home yesterday at 12 from rear legged amputation and she hasn’t pee yet. Is it safe to pressure on the bladder ( her incision is really close) ?

  2. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to see Otis’ picture when I opened up the newsletter this morning! For those Tripawd parents going through this, I should also add that as Otis grew more stable, there were still times, generally on walks, when I used my leg to help him balance so that he could do what needed to be done. I was also very careful around trees – the mounding of mulch around trees can be difficult for a Tripawd male if you do not approach the tree from the right angle and let him lean against your leg if needed. (Yes, I know we should have found better trees, but it is hard to argue with a dog and a favorite tree).


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