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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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How much chicken, steak, etc to serve with her kibble?
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Los Angeles, CA
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13 June 2013
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12 January 2014 - 2:20 pm
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Shelby is day 4 post-amp and she will only eat her food here if I mix it with other stuff, like some cooked chicken or steak (currently cooking some beef in the crockpot for her). She’s 24 lbs. I don’t want her to get fat since she can’t walk as much while she’s recovering. She has no concept of portion control. So how much meat should I add to her dinner? I’m giving her 1/2 cup of kibble with some meat – maybe 1/2 cup? I don’t want her to be hungry either and today she’s acting like I am starving her – trying to eat everything that I have for me! 

Thank you! 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

Member Since:
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12 January 2014 - 7:31 pm
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Okay, I am going to get a little nutrition geeky on you – forgive me.  smiley

The best recommendation I can give anyone is to know how many calories her usual food has – the really meticulous of us geeks will say it is best to go by calories/kilogram but in reality, it is a lot simpler to go by calories/cup since most people in the US use a cup measurement.  Knowing how many calories she has been eating to maintain a healthy weight will help you determine how to adjust her food accordingly.  If you Google calories in beef/chicken, it will give you an easy to use calculator that will tell you the calories in various cuts of meat.  Then, you can just balance things out.  If she normally eats 500 calories of her usual food but she is only eating half her usual amount, you know you can give her about 250 calories of meat.  Dogs digest meat a lot more efficiently than grain, so depending on what kind of food you usually feed her, you might need to tweak things a little bit.  If she eats a grain-free food, you are probably fine to just adjust calories directly; if she eats a higher grain content (or a higher carb grain-free ) you might need to reduce calories on the meat level a little bit.  Another really good add-in that is simple to cook is eggs, they are one of the easiest to digest protein sources out there and a large egg is about 70 calories; cook it any way you want – scrambled, poached, fried (not in butter), over easy, “egg drop soup”, soft boiled, whatever! – I give each of my dogs an egg every night with their dinner.

Some dogs are really good at self-regulating, most are not, so don’t listen when seven seconds after she finishes breakfast she says she is starving and hasn’t been fed ever in her entire life.  But, if she is acting more noticeably hungry than usual, things like green beans, peas, sweet potato, and pumpkin are all food you can give her that will help her feel more full without adding lots of calories.  I prefer frozen peas or green beans but if you do get canned, make sure to get no salt added.  You can get canned sweet potato or pumpkin – again, make sure the only ingredient is the sweet potato/pumpkin and it is not pie filling if you get canned – or you can get sweet potatoes and cook them for her yourself, whole pumpkins are hard to find this time of year but you can cook one of those up for her, too, if you can find them.

If you need more help figuring out the food stuff, let me know what kind of dry food you usually feed and how much and I would be happy to help you work out some ideas for her.

Okay, the geek-out is over, thank you for your patience. winker

I know you have talked about the pain meds she is taking but is she on any steroids as part of her cancer treatments?  That can make anybody super hungry and thirsty.  I saw in one of your other posts that you took off her fentanyl patch.  Boomer was very dysphoric (that’s what the vets called it) on the fentanyl, so much so that I removed his patch about 36 hours after his surgery (on the vet’s advice) – two full days ahead of schedule.  He had been rather restless and very vocal since he came home which is unusual for him, within 30 minutes of removing the patch he was sleeping quietly on his bed – it made a huge difference for him.

Los Angeles, CA
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13 January 2014 - 9:58 am
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WOW .. that is a lot of info! Thank you. I think she was eating about 600 – 700 calories a day. Maybe a little less. She eats Blue Buffalo protein – about 1 1/4 cup of kibble and I had been mixing it w/pure pumpkin and chicken stock. She was on a lower carb/grain due to her cancer diagnosis. She used to like green beans (canned, unsalted) but decided about a week ago that she won’t eat those. I should try peas. I hadn’t thought of those but since she likes baby carrots, I am guessing the sweeter stuff would be more palatable to her.

She isn’t on any steroids or anything for her cancer. Just chemo. We took off her patch yesterday (a day early) but she’s still psychotic (the vet’s words). The tramadol makes her really anxious which is odd since I don’t think it ever did before. They told me that she’s not in pain and to wean her off of that. So she only had 1/4 of a tablet today. And she’s got some doggy valium that should help (but it didn’t last night since she was pacing around 3:30 a.m. and I have not slept well since Friday and am starting to be cranky and anxious myself). 

I gave her about 1/2 of a chicken tender for breakfast and mixed w/about 1/8 of a cup of kibble (I’m out of food). Last night she had about 1 – 2 chicken tenders with 3/4 cup of dog food. And she gets dog cookies – about 3 – 5 a day. 

 

I cooked some beef in the crockpot yesterday – I think it’s cooked! :-) I gave her a bite of it and she ate it. It was on low for about 5 hours (only 1 lbs of stew beef). Looks gross/grainy to me but she likes it. So since she’s also anemic I will mix that with her food. At this point – eating isn’t her problem but rather my concern of either not starving her or over feeding her. 

 

Thank you so much! 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

On The Road


Member Since:
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13 January 2014 - 10:55 am
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Fantastic info martiall, would you like to write a guest blog post for the Tripawds Nutrition blog? If so send me a PM.

Meanwhile, Alison do check our the Nutrition blog for tips from members like these.

And this is a great resource too:

Dr. Dressler’s Free Dog Cancer Diet e-Book

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
19 September 2013
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13 January 2014 - 11:33 am
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It sounds like you are probably in the right ball park with calories.  Blue Buffalo makes really good products but even their grain free lines are still fairly high in carbs (from things like potatoes and peas).  Keep in mind, grain free does not automatically mean low carb, there are foods out there with grains in them that are lower carb than some grain free lines (ie: Rachel Ray Nutrish Zero Grain is 47% carb; Nature’s Logic with grain is 36% carb).  Since you are giving her a good bit of meat right now it may not be as much of a concern, but if your goal is to get her back to dry food without the meat, you might want to think about switching to a food with even lower carbs overall to help her fight the cancer.  Dogfoodadvisor.com is a very helpful tool for finding lower carb foods because they actually calculate the total carbs in food for you – carb content is not required to be listed on the label so almost no companies do it.  There is a pretty simple way to do the math to figure it out but it is a lot easier to just pop over to dog food advisor rather than standing in your local pet food store with a calculator.  Here are some foods that might be good options to get her carb level down even more (lower carbs = better palatability, too, so you have a better shot of being able to back off on the mix-ins if you want).

If you are doing Blue Buffalo grain free , you are either feeding Freedom (50% carb) or Wilderness (38% carb)

Evo: 21% carb – the lowest you will find in dry food

Earthborn Primitive Natural: 28%

Orijen: 30%

Merrick Grain Free: 30%

Back to Basics: 30%

Some of the foods listed are going to be a little harder to find because they aren’t sold in the national pet supply chain stores like Petsmart but you can find retailers through the brand’s web sites – if you find one you want to try, and it is a store that you haven’t been to before, call ahead because not all stores will have all the different lines and flavors on hand.

If the cooking thing is getting tiresome, you could also look at freeze-dried options or even frozen raw if you are comfortable with that idea.  Finding a smaller, not national chain, pet supply store can be very helpful here too, usually the staff in stores like that are a little more educated and savvy when it comes to helping customers find the right foods for pets with special needs or health concerns.

Los Angeles, CA
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13 June 2013
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13 January 2014 - 12:02 pm
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That is a lot of information (thank you). Her vets (all of them) seem really happy with her on the Blue Buffalo so I think I’ll keep her on that and supplement with chicken. I don’t mind. I can throw a few chicken breasts in the crockpot and call it good! She is eating the Blue Buffalo Wilderness (chicken). 

 

I have to go to the store at lunch to pick her up some food since we’re out so I’ll look for one of the other ones you recommend too. I have heard of Merrick (not the others). 

 

But thank you for providing me so many options and choices. I really appreciate all your help and research. The whole dietary issue is so confusing since there are so many schools of thought. One being that senior dogs on higher protein is taxing on their kidneys but since cancer loves carbs, what are you to do? I try and get her as low-carb as possible for her treats but might even start making those too. I eat Paleo so I am sure I must be able to figure out a way to make her a Paleo dog cookie! 🙂 big-blink

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

On The Road


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13 January 2014 - 12:44 pm
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martiall4 said
Dogfoodadvisor.com is a very helpful tool…

We highly recommend DogFoodAdvisor when researching diets. Don’t miss the podcast from our Tripawd Talk Radio interview…

Tripawd Talk Radio Dog Food Advisor Interview

This Tripawds Nutrition article may prove helpful too…

Dog Food Advisor’s Healthy Foods for Cancer Dogs

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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13 January 2014 - 2:50 pm
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Everyone! Thanks fr such an i formative post!

Martiall, PLEASE take Jerry up on doing a post…..this is INVALUABLE… ad so are you!

Thank you for taking the time to share! Hugs toyou and to Boomer!

Also, Whole Dog Journal has some great inforamtion in some of their past articles.

SHELBY! Happy Hannah has a message for you! She said that a pup as cute as you should have all the chicken you want!! She’s gone out to try and catch you some chickens now. If she doesn’t eat them all first, she’ll mail you some!!

Hugs to all!

Saly and Happy Hannah

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!

Los Angeles, CA
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13 June 2013
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13 January 2014 - 6:46 pm
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OK again, thank you! this was great info. I found a dietary analysis I had done for her when she first broke her leg. At her weight (which is still about 24 lbs) her resting energy was 433 kcal/day and MER (which I guess is energy) is 693 per day. So her blue buffalo food is 410 calories a  cup! So I was probably about to overfeed her (not underfeed her). So I will adjust her kibble (since she doesn’t eat it all anyways and it’s $$$) and supplement w/beef like suggested. Her treats range between 10 – 15 calories per treat and she does get plenty of those! I got her some new ones today that are grain/gluten/dairy free. 

 

Definitely food for thought (no pun intended)! 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

Fort Wayne, IN
Member Since:
25 January 2013
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13 January 2014 - 7:35 pm
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I would like to add my thanks for this post martia! Lots of good info.  I always struggle with calories and recently realized how much higher grain free food is in calories.  

Liberty (Libby) was diagnosed with OSA on 1-22-13.  Right front amputation on 1-31-13. No IV Chemo. Metronomic Therapy started 2-19-13 along with supplements and some home cooking. Lungs clear until 1-06-14.  She's still her happy, hoppy, bossy self.  Living the dog life to the fullest and a proud Winter Warrior. :) RIP my Libby 4-21-03 to 3-19-14

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19 September 2013
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14 January 2014 - 12:31 pm
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If she continues to refuse her kibble, you might want to think about adding in a multivitamin supplement just to make sure she is getting all the essential nutrients she needs.  If it is a short term solution while she is still recovering and wonky from meds getting out of her system, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but in the coming weeks if she looks like she has decided that your delicious home cookin’ is all she wants and that kibble business is for the birds adding in a complete multivitamin could really help.  They come in a variety of forms – pills, chewables, powders – or you can get a freeze dried/dehydrated whole food pre-mix that will be a blend of fruits, veggies, and a complete vitamin and mineral profile (Sojo’s, The Honest Kitchen, and Grandma Lucy’s all make them).

Thanks for the kind comments everyone – I am working with Rene on compiling information for a blog post!

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12 February 2014
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14 February 2014 - 7:59 am
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Here in Uk kibble for adult maintenance should be 3900kcal per kg and most are. I am afraid that most pet food produced commercially follows a formula that is slightly different from the one used in the human food calculation meaning it is a bit more fattening than you think. Over a year it probably makes a difference and contributes to the canine obesity problem. If you have not come across the book by the US vet Dr Pitcairn then I would recommend it as he gives recipes for supplementing kibble. He advocates cooked meats and went head to head with Dr Tom Lonsdale the Australian vet who really started the RAW argument. I have a blackboard wallchart with dog name(five or six to feed)  energy requirement – grams of kibble – grams of nonkibble which is about double. To mix I do a bit of mental arithmetic. Sorry guys in US but using grams allows for very fine adjustments.  

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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14 February 2014 - 9:11 am
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Thanks for your input Chris…..this has been incredibly informative.. And thanks again Martiall.

And yeah, a “shout-out” to all Pitcairn’s books.

Oh wait!! Happy Hannah wants to say something! “Wnat? What is it you want to say?”……..

Oh that silly girl! clown She just wants everyone to know that “her research” indicates a dog should have al the chicken and beef they can eat at ne sitting without puking!! And if they do puke, they shold be allowed t eat rhat again too!! Sorta’ “better the send time” thing!

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:
12 February 2014
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14 February 2014 - 9:38 am
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Funnily enough my Jack Russell terriers are all nodding in agreement. One thought, coconut oil! We are getting into it over here on our rescue forum as we tend to have a lot of dogs who are underweight or in poor health. I read that it is not as fattening as some oils that you might add to feeds. We also have some anecdotal evidence for it healing and helping hair regrowth. Most research on it seems from the US. My dogs queue up for their little chunk when they hear the lid being unscrewed so might work as an appetiser in moderation. 

Los Angeles, CA
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13 June 2013
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14 February 2014 - 9:45 am
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My Shelby is 1/2 jack russell (and from the amount she begs for more food, I would say the other half is part T-Rex – her appetite is HUGE). We have actually balanced her food with 1/2 cup kibble (Blue Buffalo chicken protein) and 3/4 cup food cooked by mommy (me). She’s currently enjoying something with barley, chicken thighs, carrots and green beans that was made in the crockpot from her cooking for dogs cookbook I ordered through this site. 

Interesting you say that about the oils – I am Paleo and ONLY cook w/coconut oil and it is light and lovely in flavor. I might add a smidge to her diet to help with the hair-regrowth post amp. She’s getting some fur back in patches but not on her bare booty. She also has 1 fish oil pill a day. 

Shelby actually seems to lose weight w/out doing anything .. not a lot to be worrisome (probably I reduce her food a bit much) but I am not as focused on her ‘dieting’ as a new tripawd. She’s 22.6 pounds (down  from 24 when we started all of this back in June) so overall, she’s healthy according to her vet(s). But thank you for your helpful insight! 

Oh and Shelby is slightly iron deficient due to her cancer (hemangio not OS) so steak will be a part of our meal plan for sure! I am sure Sally and Happy Hannah applaud this choice! 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

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