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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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Thinking about getting a tripod dog....but want to see if he will be okay?
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
27 February 2017
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27 February 2017 - 9:44 am
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We are thinking about getting a tripod dog. Our heart completely and totally fell in love with him because he is just like our Rottie, who used to love to ride fourwheelers with us. He loves fourwheelers, tractors, or anything that moves, and car rides!.

We have a 12 acre farm and a one floor house…my question is, will he be okay with what we would like in a dog? He has been a tripod since he was a puppy, it was amputated very early because he was hit by a car, and he is now 4. We really would like a dog that we can take with us to the battlefields, or go on walks and small hikes, and I wanted to see if people viewed that that would be too much for a tripod dog (lost front left leg). We by no means are runners, severe hikers, etc, just like to go on walks together and we go to historic locations all the time to do walks in the battlefields, go to the river, Colonial Williamsburg, etc.

I guess my question is, with people who have tripod dogs, do you think he will be okay with what we would like in a dog and his living setting? Thank you so so much in advance.

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 25230
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25 April 2007
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27 February 2017 - 10:51 am
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Hi there! Thanks for registering as a member. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away. I hope you don’t mind I moved your post here, but this is a great forum to see how rescued Tripawd dogs and cats do. I’m so happy you’re considering this pup!

You ask some GREAT questions and we are always so happy when people consider these things before adopting a three-legged animal. 3-paws up to YOU!

Tripawd dogs can technically do everything a four legger can do, but that doesn’t mean they should. Out of survival instinct they’ll keep going and going like the Energizer Bunny, but it can really take a toll on a dog’s joints — especially a front-leg Tripawd. So your job as a Tripawd parent is to make sure that your pup has moderate but effective exercise that doesn’t cause problems later on down the road. Our e-book, Loving Life On Three Legs , addresses the exercise needs of a Tripawd, as does our Tripawds Gear blog and Tripawds Downloads blog . check ’em out!

One of our members recently wrote a terrific post called “The Truth About Tripawds” that perfectly addresses this issue. Meg’s mom writes:

5) Tripawds need special care

Everything I’ve said has kind of been saying you’re tripawd is a normal dog, and they can do anything a four legged dog can. Which is true to a point. People always ask me if Meg struggles with anything or can’t do things she could do before. The short answer is she can’t scratch her left ear, and to this day goes into an ear scratch position and waves her stump around. I leap to my feet to scratch for her. Rear tripawd owners – you’ll feel guilty when you’re not home, worrying that they have an itch that you can’t scratch for them.

Meg can do everything else, but that doesn’t mean I let her. I’ll help her on and off the couch if it looks like the jump is a struggle, she isn’t allowed to climb in and out of the car by herself anymore, and I absolutely hate when she leaps off the bed. You need to protect their remaining limbs, they’ve already lost the spare after all. I’ve found dog physios and chiros for when Meg needs it, I’ve looked into dog injury rehabs, we purchased Meg a special bed so her joints don’t hurt, and we got her a special harness that helps her balance when she needs it. Tripawds cost more money than normal dogs, and you do need to put in more effort. Even if that effort is celebrating that your dog survived whatever caused the amputation, or is living with a shitty disease, spoil them, give them more cuddles, let them have tiny amounts of naughty food.

We echo what she says. When it comes to long walks, it is TOTALLY possible — and fun — to have this doggie go with you. By using a doggie stroller ! See:

Teach Your Tripawd to Ride in a Pet Wagon

And yes, they make them for larger Rottie dogs.

Another issue is weight management. This is critical for all Tripawds but especially a Rottie. Keeping him slim will be a constant need as he ages.

You can check out our member blogs to see how their dogs, both with and without cancer, have done. I know you’ll be amazed!

Let us know if you decide to adopt this dog. If you do, we can’t wait to follow your adventures!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 244
Member Since:
27 August 2014
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27 February 2017 - 11:45 am
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You sound like you share a lot of hobbies with my family! Though we don’t live on a large property- just a small apartment. Going on long walks on the weekend in state parks or along the river here in Philadelphia is one of my favorite things. Jack always comes with us – she walks for a bit and then hops in her stroller and rides again until she wants to get out. 

I was nervous to get a stroller because I thought we might look ridiculous, but people love it and, more importantly, Jack thinks it’s the best thing to happen to her. The only downside is we have to choose parks with trails that have a smooth surface or gravel, but it’s rare that we don’t find at least one trail that her stroller can navigate. 


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27 February 2017 - 3:40 pm
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Other than “ditto” everyone else, I must have one thing to add!

We are having a Virginia/East Coast and Beyond Tripawd Pawty Memorial Day Week end! It would be great if you and your new Rottie could come! 🙂 What a great way to introduce you to your extended Tripawd Family!


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!

Forum Posts: 978
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26 January 2014
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28 February 2017 - 4:27 am
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Anneliesem, there are quite a few of us on here from Virginia. I have a tripawd who was hit by a car and lost his rear leg as a stray when he was 6 months old. He’s 4 now and he has hiked to the highest point in Shenandoah Nat’l Park 🙂 It’s a little tougher for a front leg amputee but they do just fine too. They do get tired a lot easier I think (or at least was my experience with my two guys…though they also had cancer so that may have been a factor). 

Also, I know a guy who has a front leg amputee that lives on a huge farm and he bought a 4 wheeler for the dog just so she wouldn’t have to trek all the way to the pond with other dogs to play. 

As Sally said, come to the party! 

Mom to Tripawd Angels Jake (2001-2014) and Rosco (2012-2015) and Tripawd Tanner. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it”  


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