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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 tripawd having issues with eating.
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
29 April 2021
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29 April 2021 - 6:01 pm
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Hi, I’ve just discovered your site, and I’m hoping somebody has some advice.

My Labrador, Lola, has recently undergone a front leg amputation, after the discovery of an osteosarcoma.  She’s adjusted fairly well to life on 3 legs, despite living in a first floor flat, and I have no worries about her mobility.

However, since having surgery, she won’t eat her usual dry food at all.  At first we thought the medication was to blame, as she wasn’t eating at all, but once we reduced her meds to just paracetamol and gabapentin she would eat soft foods such as chicken and rice.  I bought the wet variety of her usual food, and she won’t eat that either.

I have so far managed to find one specific wet food that she will eat, but she won’t eat dry food anymore, not even if I soften it with gravy, water or olive oil (all suggestions given by pet store advisors)

I’m happy to feed her whatever she’s going to eat, but I don’t understand why/how her operation triggered such a massive  change. Also, is a wet food diet enough for her?

Every pet store advisor, and my vet, have said that a dog won’t starve itself, it will eat, but Lola will quite honestly not eat for at least 3 full days if all I put down is dry food. I know, because I’ve watched it happen, and I couldn’t bear to let her go any longer!! 

Any advice is welcome!!

The Rainbow Bridge

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29 April 2021 - 8:33 pm
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Hi Lola and family! I’m so glad you posted, saw you joined earlier today. I’m sorry you did have to join us though, but it’s great that she’s doing so well after surgery. May she have MANY MANY MANY great times ahead!

So about the eating. Did your vet look closely at her teeth and mouth? I’m wondering if maybe the amputation coincidentally occurred at at time when a tooth problem was starting? 

I’m not sure I agree with “a dog won’t starve itself.” We see many dogs and cats refuse food when they are not feeling well. So, I’m not a vet, but something tells me that her reluctance to eat kibble might have to do with a dental issue.

For now I would keep giving her as much wet and “real” food like the chicken, that you can. In the short term, getting her to eat at least something is better than nothing until this gets figured out.

Your future posts won’t need to wait for approval so post away.

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Forum Posts: 20603
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29 April 2021 - 9:05 pm
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Love the name of “Lola” for a Lab.

Glad to hear her recovery has gone well as far as mobility, etc.

Whatever it takes to get her to eat for now as obviously  her kibble is not working.  Three days without eating anything when only offered kibble…..Yikes!

Good idea from Jerry to make sure no gun or tooth issues.

Does Lola show any signs of nausea?  Does she turn her head away as though she wants to eat at first, then just can’t  quite make herself?  When it comes to the wet food or chicken, etc, does she eat with more gusto and without  hesitation??

Will she eat treats like Milk Bone treats, things like that?

Anyway, there’s nothi g wrong with going with quality  wet food.  Something I highly recommend  (sort of “wet) is PET FRESH.  It’s found I  the pet refrigerated section (Target, While Foods).  It’s NOT cheap, but a food that most dogs seem to go crazy over.  Another high quality food you might try is one of the HONEST KITCHEN products.  It’s a human grade “dehydrated” mixture you add water to (can also add meat depending  on which product).  It mixes up into a fairly soft mixture and dogs seem to love it.  Again, not cheap, but good quality.

Let us know how things are going, okay?


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: 2
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29 April 2021
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30 April 2021 - 2:13 pm
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Thank you so much for your replies.

Her full name is actually Lola the Lovely, which suits her.. most of the time!

She’s had a clean bill of health from the vet, and quite bizarrely she will eat a bit of her dry food as a treat!! She’s not showing any signs of nausea, and for the wet food she is favouring, and any human food, she is eating as much as she needs to feel full. 

She’s never been a typical lab regarding eating – I’ve always filled her bowl, and she ate when she was hungry. She’s never been a guzzler, so I’m not worried about her over-eating, if I give her too much.

I’m in Scotland, so I’m not sure if I can source those recommendations here, but it’s definitely worth a look. I’m also restricted by dietary requirements – she can only eat beef, or fish, as chicken flavoured foods make her ill. But human chicken is fine haha. Also, she needs hypo-allergenic and grain free !

At this point I’m actually cooking her up minced beef and vegetables, and freezing it into portions for her!!

I’m happy to do what it takes to keep her healthy and happy, so if it’s not a huge issue, health wise, to keep her on wet food – dog or human – then that’s what she can have.

The Rainbow Bridge

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30 April 2021 - 4:08 pm
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Boy that one is a mystery! Some times we see that when a dog gets a taste of “real” human food, they don’t want to go back to their old kibble. That could be part of this, but I would keep an eye on her for pain signals or anything that indicates this is more than her usual selective attitude about food.

Meanwhile you may want to consult with a veterinary nutritionist (the work internationally I believe) to come up with a meal plan that can work for her, just to ensure she’s getting the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. Here are some blog posts to check out:

What is a Vet Nutritionist for Dogs and Cats?

All Tripawds Nutrition blog posts about recipes and some about home cooking (some posts are not that recent but the info and books are still around):

Anka’s Vet-Approved Home Cooked Dog Food Diet

The How To’s of Home Cooked Raw Food for Cats and Dogs, with Judy Morgan DVM

You’ll Love Dinner PAWsible’s Home Cooking for Pets Recipes

Whole Pet Diet Home Cooking Recipes and Tips for Healthy Pets

Feed Dogs Better with Home Cooking Recipes from the Dog Food Dude

Please let us know how things turn out and what recipes work for you and Lola the Lovely! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

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Forum Posts: 16
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4 May 2021 - 10:04 am
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I have a cat so can’t really offer much advice on a dog. But I had to comment to tell you that Lola the Lovely . . . that name melts my heart! I think it made my day! 🙂

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