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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.

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New to site with two tripods.
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
11 July 2017
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11 July 2017 - 4:56 pm
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Just found your site and wanted to introduce myself. I am a volunteer, rescuer and parent to 4 dogs, 5 cats and 4 horses.  Although I do have a cancer dog (3 years out from dx with adenocarcinoma but has spread to his lungs now sadly and we are on I think our 4th chemo drug in those years) his cancer has not affected any limbs. I have two tripods though.

Both of them were failed fosters. I got both shortly after their amputations. Had I owned them before their injuries I am sure I would have spent the time and money to try to save their limbs but the least expensive options given to the rescuers was amputation. One is a small terrier mix that was hit by a car. The owners could not afford the ER care and surrendered her to a rescue. They felt the front leg was too badly injured to save and amputated it. She recovered quickly.

The second dog is an older Coonhound that was turned loose by the farmer because he was old and not worth caring for (to him). He was then shot and left to die. He managed to wander up to good souls who took him to a vet. The buckshot had shattered his back leg and was infected and the vet chose to amputate. We fostered and of course kept him as we were told no one would want an old, beat up hound with three legs. Both dogs climb stairs, run, can jump on the furniture and have no idea they are missing a limb.  

We are all set and here to just share and listen to others but I do have one need. The little front tripod is quick to slip her collar on walks. We have not yet found a harness for a front amputee that does not slide around. I see there is one on the site but would like some feedback if this is really a stable walking harness for a clever escapee.  She is approx. 20 pounds, thin, longer body.

Much Thanks!

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 25230
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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11 July 2017 - 5:58 pm
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Hello and welcome! Thanks for joining the community, you are such an amazing pet parent! What are your Tripawds’ names? They are very fortunate to have found their way to you. Thank you for giving them (and all your other rescues) a chance.

To answer your question about the harness: yes, all dog harnesses will rotate on a front-leg amputee because of that missing front limb. The two that we have found slip the least are the Ruffwear Webmaster harness and the Tripawd Convert Harness , which we carry in the Tripawds Gear shop. Of the two, the Webmaster gets the best feedback from pet parents of “Houdini” dogs who love to escape from the harness. As long as you measure correctly, she shouldn’t be able to slip out.

We would love to see photos of your three-legged heroes. Here’s a post with directions for adding images to the forums.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 123
Member Since:
17 November 2016
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12 July 2017 - 7:03 pm
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Hi! Welcome!  Your pups sound sweet.  I’m so happy you gave your hound a great home!  So many people don’t think hounds make good pets, but they are great dogs!  We have two :).

We’d love to see some pictures!

Tracy & Zatoichiheart

Tracy & Warrior Angel Zatoichi 💓

Zato was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in October 2016. He triumphed through radiation and amputation with dignity and grace. After living a life of love and happiness, Zato earned his angel wings on February 19, 2018.  Read his story here.


Forum Posts: 17555
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13 July 2017 - 11:00 am
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Yes, we must have pictures!!! You are a Saint and thank you for giving these wonderful pets such a loving and caring home!

Sending you aoo the best as you navigate through all the adventures you share with you three leggers!

I jave an adopted three legger Coonhound. Not sure why his leg was amputated, but he plays full out….too full out for his own good sometimes!!

And we’re sending best wishes to your four legger going through some challenges too.


Love and hugs to all!

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!

Schofield, WI
Forum Posts: 1447
Member Since:
13 August 2015
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18 July 2017 - 10:09 am
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Bless you for taking in and lovingly caring for all your rescues!   And hugs to both you and your pup with the cancer too.  It’s people like you who restore our faith in humanity!

Forum Posts: 340
Member Since:
2 December 2016
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19 July 2017 - 8:37 am
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You are a person after our hearts here at Da Bear HQ. Over the decades we have had some special ones as well. We had a front TriPawd about the same size and build and what we ended up doing was using TWO small leashes: one we placed around the neck region, and then threaded through a chest leash. This had the benefit of being instantly adjustable ( and cheap) and did not require constant adjustments. PM us if our directions aren’t clear:) of course, there may be better options out there as well!!!

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