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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Hello! Silly question… Any advice about changing food quantities post surgery? Stella already eats a bit less than her pack mate Loki… Stella a mellow Eeyore-like (cheerful, but sometimes needs to be convinced of the importance before she chooses to activate) GSD of 90 pounds, Loki 45 pounds Aussie shepherd with endless energy.
I’m thinking immediately post surgery (as soon as she wants to eat) normal amounts are good as her body uses energy to adjust and heal. I feel silly for asking, but does a tripawd use less energy since there’s the weight of a limb missing, or more (or same) since the remaining forelimb has to work harder?
(I might be worrying about unnecessary details with surgery a few days away… but facts help my emotional response and coping.)
So sorry to hear about Stella and best wishes for her up coming surgery. My boy recently had his amputation, exactly 16 days ago. I have always feed him based on how his day goes. The more energy exhausted the more food needed and vis versa. You most likely have a base for how much food she needs to keep her weight. So I’d adjust accordingly. If she seem to be gaining weight than give less (the last thing you want is her to be overweight, which means her other legs will have to work harder). Snoopy had to stay overnight with the specialist (that is the protocol here) so that first night he ate less than normal (not that he liked that idea, but the nurses said not too much) He was fasted that am and the medication for general anesthesia can cause gastrointestinal upset. So taking it easy for that first night is important. But the morning I picked him up, he was back to eating just like normal. Don’t feel silly about asking about this. I too wondered this. I feel like right now more than ever their bodies need nutrients. Good luck Stella!
There are no silly questions here, promise!
I give paws-up to Snoops insight:
I have always feed him based on how his day goes. The more energy exhausted the more food needed and vis versa. Y
does a tripawd use less energy since there’s the weight of a limb missing, or more (or same) since the remaining forelimb has to work harder?
It all depends on the dog really and how their day went. With any Tripawd you want to keep their weight lower than dogs of similar breeds, even when their activity is back to pre-surgery levels. The leaner the better. We’ve been told by strangers on the street that our Wyatt Ray is too skinny but our vets confirm that for a Tripawd, he’s just right at 74 pounds. Stella sounds like a bigger dog than he but you still want to keep her on the lean side. Be sure to check out our Tripawds Nutrition blog for lots of diet and weight loss tips if she needs to slim down any.
Thank you! This makes sense. Stella probably does need to lose a bit… I’ll check out the other info on the site. My husband is one who thinks a bit chubby is good, so this has been an ongoing discussion about all our animals, haha!
All the extra ‘treats’ she’s getting with her pills three times a day probably won’t be helping! This morning pills came in bits of turkey… yummy, but it all adds up!
You are so welcome. Good job to make her weight loss a priority! Now if your hubby has any doubts about why all dogs but especially Tripawds are better off on the lean side, have him check out this blog post and listen to our podcast with Dr. Ernie Ward, which we link to here:
18 October 2009
You are quite smart for thinking about this! Weight is really important as Tripawds hop through life.
As others have said it really depends on the dog’s metabolism and activity level. I have two in my pack right now: Obie, and 11 year old quad pug who weighs about 16 pounds, and Elly, a pug mix Tripawd who is almost 3 and weighs about 15 pounds. Even though Elly runs circles around Obie activity wise her meals are 1/2 to 2/3 the size of Obie’s.
Part of that difference is due to the amount of food Elly gets throughout the day when she plays with her food puzzles, or we work on obedience or nose work. Elly is improving but has always been skittish and shy so she gets a number of treats when we interact with people or scary things.
One thing that works well for us is to have a couple of ingredients in the meal that can fluctuate to adjust for the amount of other food eaten during the day. We use a dehydrated mix and add our own protein as our base food, we make up enough meals for 3 weeks or so and freeze them (admittedly easier with small dogs!). That amount is static, but we also use a little canned food and green beans with each meal. If there was lots of treats during the day then the amount of green beans go up and the canned food goes down or is eliminated. This also allows to adjust for lower activity days.
I wouldn’t worry too much about how much she eats during recovery, unless she goes into eating overdrive! Many pups eat less during recovery and with all the meds it’s sometimes hard to get them to eat.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls