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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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Gaining weight due to less activity
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Member Since:
24 June 2017
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28 December 2017 - 9:54 pm
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Has anyone experienced their dog gaining weight once they are all healed up from surgery and back to eating normally? I’m concerned about the strain this may put on his single leg. Should I restrict his diet? It feels so weird after months of trying to make him I can’t get him to stop! 🙂 

London, UK

Member Since:
15 December 2015
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29 December 2017 - 5:09 am
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Hi there,

I think this is a common effect of the reduced activity, as you say. My Meg also put on weight in the year or so prior to her amputation, when she had a series of operations because of orthopaedic issues, and was therefore extremely restricted in terms of exercise.

Once she'd recovered from her amputation surgery, I did restrict her diet, as I know it's important for Tripawds to be lean, and even more so if they have joint issues such as arthritis, which Meg does. Extra weight places strains not just on the single leg, but on the other legs, back, and all the joints and muscles. I just looked back through your posts but couldn't find the reason for the amputation. I'm sorry if I missed it. I was checking because I know those fighting Cancer have additional factors to consider in terms of dietary choices. 

For us, I found that restricting Meg's food in terms of quantity left her hungry. In fact, she would go and bark at the fridge. On the advice of her rehab vet, I switched to a prescription food that combines joint support with satiety. (I mix this with a small amount of homemade stew – lean meat and lots of veg.) This has been brilliant as she gets plenty to eat, has loads of energy and is clearly thriving. At her heaviest, she weighed almost 42 pounds (this was pre amp, but still...), and she is now just under 33 pounds, and has maintained this for over a year. I also find it helpful that we see the rehab vet regularly (about once a month), as Meg is weighed every time we see her, and this makes sure we stay on track. In fact, seeing how successful Meg has been in her weight loss, as well as my quadpawd, Elsie Pie (from 33 pounds to 26 pounds – she also suffers from arthritis), and the impact this has had on both of them, makes me think I need to find a rehab "vet" for myself...

All best,

Meg, Clare and Elsie Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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29 December 2017 - 8:47 am
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Meg barking at the refrigerator???????      🙂 🙂 🙂   Soooo Meg!!! 🙂 🙂

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!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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29 December 2017 - 10:33 am
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You ask important and great questions, good job on being such a conscientious parent! 

Yes, weight management is a huge challenge for Tripawd parents, but soooo important to the health of the animal. It's important to work with your vet on this area, s/he will be delighted that you asked! Also, a consultation with a canine rehab therapist can help you choose appropriate exercise that helps Milhouse burn enough calories without putting undue stress on his body.

Tripawds need to be slimmer than before the amputation, and slimmer than comparable breeds. Any extra weight is definitely detrimental to their joints, so staying slim is mandatory. Our Tripawds Nutrition blog has lots of articles with weight loss tips, and here's one of our favorites:

Tips to Help Your Tripawd Lose Weight

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
24 June 2017
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29 December 2017 - 4:10 pm
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Thanks for the responses! Milhouse is 13 and suffered a leg break in June. He had to immediately have his rear left leg amputated and a tumor was found during surgery. He was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in July. We did 5 rounds of chemo and came through with clear scans 🙂 He is now taking an oral chemo daily and is getting around really well. Being 13, he is not super active, but he definitely still has some pep in his step! We go back to the vet in a couple of weeks to test out his white blood cell count with the oral chemo. I’ll get them to weigh him then. At our last appointment, he had gained 2 pounds! 😬 I’ll ask the vet about his food when we go back. Maybe there is something he can eat that he can eat less of and still be satiated. 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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29 December 2017 - 4:49 pm
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Milhouse is such a inspiration for anyone of a "mature" age starting this journey! 🙂

Would love to xee pictures of your sweet boy.

Oh, and some dogs xeem to love green beans as a "snack" thst can help fill them up.  Then again, some aren't interested.


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!

Member Since:
24 June 2017
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29 December 2017 - 5:46 pm
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I forgot about green beans! We used them for training when he was a pup. He really likes them frozen. I'll pick a bag up! 🙂 

Here's a pic. Milhouse is on the right, his bro Charlie is on the left. 

Mo & ChuckImage Enlarger


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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29 December 2017 - 6:21 pm
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Okay!  You must remember to do a CUTENESS ALERT before showing us so much cuteness all at once!!  It makes us go k to a "sugat overload"!

Thanks for sharing the photo!  Love those beautiful brown sparkling eyes on  Milhouse!  And Bro' Charlie is a rel cutie pie!

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!

Member Since:
27 July 2014
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29 December 2017 - 6:58 pm
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Very cute dogs!

I'd like to add that I weigh out my cat's food on a scale. When going by the cupful it can vary a lot. Another trick is to add a bit of activity when eating - part of the food in one room, the rest in another room or closet. This is how my tripawd kitty Mona turned into a closet eater!

Weight loss is best slow and steady.

Good luck,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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29 December 2017 - 7:59 pm
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High and welcome.

I'm a big advocate of green beans! Be sure what you get is the no salt added kind.

I've had pugs for years and they just look at food and gain weight.  My quad pug Tani had terrible arthritis but getting her weight down was difficult. When I simply reduced her food quantity she would eat random things she found on the ground!  Green beans really help fill them up without adding calories, my two pups get green beans as part of almost every meal and as snacks.

The best thing I have done for weight control is remove kibble as the main food source- even the high quality kind has fillers that add calories without much benefit.  I use Honest Kitchen as my base food now, I still use kibble as snacks and treats.  It is easier to afford with small dogs- but you can still substitute a few meals a week if it helps keep weight down. 

Good looking boys!

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

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