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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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Delivering medication to picky eater!
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Amber Hendrick
9 May 2019 - 11:11 am
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My 5.5 year old male Rottweiler, Caide, has his left hind leg amputated on May 3 and has done extremely well. He was diagnosed with chondroblastic (sp?) osteosarcoma about 2 weeks prior to his amputation when we took him in to see an orthopedic specialist because we thought he blew out his knee, so after xrays the tumor was discovered and a bone biopsy was done and we got the diagnosis. So our oncologist thought we caught his cancer very early which has been a very big relief. 

So anyways, he came home the following day from his surgery and he has been a very good patient all around. But now, 6 days later he is refusing almost all of his medication. But everything else he is still doing great. I have read that Tramadol is very bitter for dogs so I have tried all sorts of things to cover it but he is out smarting me at this point and I don’t think he is ready to go without it. Does anyone have any tips on disguising the medication. I will list everything I have tried so far:


Organic Peanut Butter

Plain Yogurt

Ground Turkey 

Smashing pills and putting on green beans (his favorite snack) 



Smashing pills and putting it with rice 

Hot Dogs 

Thank you for your help! 

Amber and Caide 

Livermore, CA

Forum Posts: 3953
Member Since:
18 October 2009
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9 May 2019 - 1:43 pm
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Hello and welcome. Please consider registering as a member so your posts won’t have to wait for approval (after the first one).

It sounds like Caide is doing pretty well.  In my opinion it is too early to stop pain meds after such a major surgery.  My Pug Maggie was on pain meds for two weeks after her rear amp.

Yes, tramadol is very bitter.  When Maggie found a pill in some treat she wouldn’t eat that treat again for weeks!

Here is a blog post that might give you some ideas:

How to Hide Pet Medication (and Get Your Tripawd Eating)

A couple months ago my current Tripawd Elly had a very invasive dental surgery and was on tramadol for several weeks (pre-op too while we were waiting for our surgery appointment).  Elly takes pills pretty easily but I have had issues in the past with a couple different pups.  I made a video of some of my strategies, maybe something will help.

One very important thing when giving tram to a picky pup is to never touch the pills with your fingers as it transfers the odor and taste to whatever you are wrapping it in.

Good luck and let us know what works.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Forum Posts: 65
Member Since:
27 April 2019
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9 May 2019 - 1:54 pm
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this wont work for every dog, but i found with my puggle ronnie that he has sussed that the PB has his codeine tablet in it so has started refusing it however…. if you scoop it off the spoon into your finger, and then tempt him with chicken in one hand, and when the mouth opens i just wipe the PB on his tongue and he has no choice but to swallow it!

bit sneaky and he always gives me the evil eye but it works for now!

The Rainbow Bridge

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25 April 2007
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9 May 2019 - 5:24 pm
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Just wanted to send my support your way and hope that some of these tips help. Don’t forget to never mix it into his regular food either, you want to keep the medication separate if he’s being picky about it.

Hang in there, things do get better! Let us know what works.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Green Bay, WI

Forum Posts: 1036
Member Since:
18 May 2014
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11 May 2019 - 8:09 am
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My Dobe wouldn’t eat anything for the first week after amp…we had to resort to spooning yogurt down his throat with his pills mixed in. He wasn’t fond of that, but it did the job. I still use this technique with my 15 year old Westie. Also, a pill gun works for us too, just open the mouth and shoot the pills down. Good luck

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

"Be good, mama loves you" free my beautiful Warrior

Forum Posts: 3
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4 August 2019
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4 August 2019 - 10:00 am
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We were having a hard time getting our dog to take her pills, and she was locking her jaw to make even a pill popper difficult. As we did not want this to be come a forever fight we brought it up with our vet and she recommended trying:

easy cheese (cheese wiz)

cream cheese

angel food cake

With tramadol in particular we found that angel food cake worked amazingly well. Especially if you can find an angel food cake that is a little sticky. 

Here and Now

Forum Posts: 12302
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4 August 2019 - 10:25 am
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crystalluna said
We were having a hard time getting our dog to take her pills…

Welcome, and thanks for the feedback! Your future forum posts will not require moderation. Consider starting a new topic to share your story, and start here for help finding the many other Tripawds resources.

Forum Posts: 1468
Member Since:
27 July 2014
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4 August 2019 - 4:40 pm
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I loved Karen’s video!!! Especially the pumping before loading. icon_lol Brilliant.

Okay, I don’t have a dog and have used several strategies with my cat Mona. I won’t bore you with those but I have offered wet cat food to my dog friends and that has always worked!! Dogs are always told to leave the cats food alone so they think it’s the best.

Good luck everyone and pilling your pets.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona who thinks it’s best to pill with fresh halibut


Forum Posts: 19503
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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4 August 2019 - 4:50 pm
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Great input!!

Just want to add to make sure your hands don touch the Tramadol.  It apparently  is truly a “bitter pill to swallow”. If the dog smells it on your hands as you put it in the food…a no go!  And when “wrapping it up in food, hide it well, again, without  your hands touching it.

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!

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