Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
JUMP TO FORUMS ↓
Join The Tripawds Community
Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:
Get the new book by the Tripawds founders for life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Download the e-book, and find fun Be More Dog apparel and gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.
I’ve just been scrolling through loads of blog posts and topics in this forum, but there are still some questions and concerns left. First of all, hello, my name is Eva, I’m 28yo, from Germany and I fell in love with a Tripawd. A couple days ago I was on Facebook and then unexpectedly stared at a picture of a beautiful young dog, who is currently living in a shelter in Romania and is waiting to be adopted. I’ve been going back and forth about adopting another dog for a couple months now and instantly fell in love when I saw this dog’s picture online, even though (or maybe because) she is a Tripawd. The same evening, I found me talking to the dog rescue organization on the phone and it turned out that she really is still looking for a home and that she would be able to come to Germany next weekend. She lost her front left leg in a car accident a month ago (at the beginning of January), but seems to be doing just fine by now.
Long story short, since then I’ve been going back and forth in my mind about adopting her. During the day, I’m really excited about sharing my life with her, learning from her and conquering the world together. But at night my mind wonders (to the point that I haven’t had more than 4-5 hours sleep every night) and I’m afraid of all the challenges that might come with adopting a handicapped dog. And most importantly, if both of us really are the right fit for each other.
One thing in particular that comes to my mind a lot is hiking. I love to hike, with my other dogs I went on a 3 mile hike each day and then on weekends we would sometimes do 6-10 miles. While researching about Tripawds I read a lot of times that it’s easier for Tripawds to walk a couple of short walks each day instead of a long one, and I haven’t really found anything about a Tripawd who managed to hike that far, so I was wondering if some of you could share their experiences? I don’t mind starting out with short and slow walks, I’ve not been hiking a lot since losing our last dog 1 1/2 years ago, so I’m a bit out of shape as well, but I’m sure I would love to get into longer walks some day. Carrying my Tripawd is not an option, with a height of 55 cm she’s too big for that. I’ve looked into buggys instead, so I would be able to go on hiking trips with her, but yeah, I’m just not sure.
Another thing I’m a little worried about the financial aspect of owning a handicapped dog. I’m only working part-time, and even though I’m definitely able to support a dog and to also save some money for vet appointments etc., I was wondering about additional support my Tripawd might need. Physiotherapy or hydroptherapy for example. Maybe you could share your experiences with me as well?
Thank you for reading through all that. My logical mind tells me that I should wait for a dog that might be better suited for me and my activities, but to be honest, I already lost my heart to this wonderful, beautiful Tripawd. And I really do hope I can make it work somehow. I mean, look at her
Ohhhh what a face! No wonder you fell in love with her!
Nice to meet you Eva, I’m so glad you joined us. You ask such great, and important questions. These are things that I wish everyone would ask before adopting a Tripawd. Too often, people don’t, and then are are issues that surprise them later on.
So yes, it is true; a Tripawd does best on shorter, more frequent walks. Some can do longer ones of a couple of miles a day without any issues while they are younger (are you an American living in Germany by any chance? I noticed you mentioned miles and not kilometers). But those dogs seem to be the exception. Most of these dogs were extremely fit before they lost a leg, and are the type of breed best suited for heavy-duty hikes anyways, like Border Collies, Vizslas, Australian Cattle Dogs, etc.
Almost any Tripawds will do extended hikes while they are young if we let them. They just want to be with their people. But based on what we’ve seen here, too much hard activity eventually catches up on the body sooner than it would if they were four-legged. Tripawds are more prone to joint stress and arthritis, so while it’s important to keep them fit and doing appropriate exercise, there’s a fine line between too much and too little. And we also tend to see too much exercise when the Tripawd has other dogs in the pack. They will always try to keep up, and it’s not necessarily a good thing, especially as they age. Over time, you may find yourself leaving her home so the other dogs can get their exercise.
I’m not saying that this sweetheart cannot hike, but rather that you will need to take her needs into consideration when planning trips. Yes, a buggy (dog stroller ) would be super duper for her and she will never have to be left at home! There are plenty of good off-road models available.
As for long-term care needs, in our own experience with Wyatt Ray , the costs to maintain his care are probably a bit higher than we would spend on four-legged dog of the same age (11). I’ve never had a 4-legged dog this age so I can’t say for sure.
Although we’ve always made an extra effort to help him get strong and stay that way by doing home exercise programs, we had to start involving ongoing professional rehab and daily pain management care starting around age 8. Today, Wyatt has a bad case of arthritis in his remaining rear limb, and we check in with therapists throughout the year.
So yes, having a Tripawd will likely cost more as long as you’re the type of parent who is consciously making sure she stays fit and in contact with a rehabilitation therapist to prevent injury and manage any pain that develops. It sounds like you are.
I hope this helps. Let us know if you decide to adopt her. And oh, I think you will get a kick out of reading about Manni and Tina. They are both in Germany and if you Private Message her she would be thrilled to talk with you.
22 February 2013
I agree with Jerry, you are applauded for asking such insightful questions based. You are doing a good analysis based on your lifestyle, finances,etc, as well as focusing on giving that ADORABLE doggy a full happy life.
Jerry addressed your issues in an honest and thoughtful detailed.post.
Obviously there are no guarantees healthwise with any dog, four or three legged. A healthy dog can fall ill unexpectedly, or can injure a leg, or whatever, and all the sudden their ability to hike is off the table. And then unexpected financial burden on top of that. And heck, that can even happen with the most fit humans!!
As Jerry outlines so well, with a three legger dog, there are extra precautions that need to be taken to protect their joints, etc for the long haul.
You are a very special person with a huge heart to want ro help out this beautiful Soul. You have gone that extra mile to do your research and try and figure out of your lifestyle is a good fit. Do check into a buggy as a way to see if that would help you process things.
Keep us posted
Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!
Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!
Hello Jerry & Sally, thank you both so so much for your heartfelt responses! While reading through it, I realized what both of you said was exactly what I needed to finally decide that I will adopt Tripawd Juna and that I want to do everything in my power to offer her a long, happy life. I’ll finally meet her on Saturday and I already feel so happy that I could burst into a million little pieces.
I’ve also decided that I will invest into a stroller in a couple of months (when she is settled in, doing fine and is feeling adventurous), so we can both go on really long hikes together. I actually can’t wait to show her the world, and to take a break together when we reach a spot that’s really beautiful, so we can run around, play and have some fun. That might even help me to appreciate the beauty in nature much more than I already do.
As for the finances, I gathered up the courage yesterday to ask for a raise at work – and my boss accepted! I can’t believe that was so easy! I think we will do just fine now, and if not my parents offered me a safety net as well. I guess sometimes it just takes a bit of asking for help.
What you said made me think a lot as well, Sally, because the last dog my family adopted (eleven years ago) has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia a couple weeks after we got him, and even though his journey of recovery was long and tough, we never ever regretted adopting him. Not even for a second. So yes, every dog can fall ill, no matter how many legs they got. But you still love them and support them, because that’s just what you do when you fall in love with a fur-friend.
Oh and no, I’m German, but I’ve spent some time in Canada and the UK, so I can do miles just as easy as kilometers.
Thank you both again, I will definitely keep you guys posted and I bet this wasn’t the last advice I’ll be seeking in this community
Awww congratulations! It sounds like this was meant to be and that everything is falling into place. I’m so happy for you!
And yes, Tripawds DO help us learn to slow down and appreciate the moment. We call this learning to Be More Dog . You’ve got lots of good times ahead with this girl.
I’m really happy for you, you sound like a great parent. Let us know how things go when she comes home with you.
Oh and as for your ability to go back and forth between miles and kilometers, WOW! Super impressive, I know I can’t do that without my phone app!
4 February 2020
Oohhh so ein schönes Hundilein!! Beste Wünsche von uns! I am German living in the Uk.
We are not experienced yet with tripawd life and only just joined.
Bärli has a stroller. It is quite a handy thing. Before his amputation he struggled with limping and walking for about 3 months. Sometimes he was so lame from the cancer pain he hardly made it across the road to the park.
Raphaela and Bärli
14 December 2016
Hallo Raphaela und hallo Eva!!
Total nett, hier mal andere Deutsche zu treffen.
Ich bin schon relativ lange hier, wenn auch nicht mehr häufig und falls ihr Fragen habt, kontaktiert mich gerne auch direkt.
Ganz liebe Grüße und alles Gute für eure Dreibeiner
Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.