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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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1.5 year old tripawd feeling bored
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Member Since:
27 September 2023
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3 October 2023 - 8:07 pm
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hey everyone!

I'm Andy, and I joined because I just rescued the sweetest Kelpie mix named Maximus in August.  (pics attached!!)  anyway, I don't know much about Max's history, but he had a rear leg amputation done in April.  when he was originally found as a stray, he had severe injuries to both back legs and his pelvis (they assume he was hit by a car).  after the amputation of his most damaged leg, the other leg has started to regain a lot of strength.  he loves long walks in the mornings and evenings, and has a couple doggie play pals he likes to romp around with once or twice a week.

when I first got Max through a foster program, they mentioned his activity would need to be limited as he recovers.  in my naïveté, I thought this meant that he'd be at 100% once his recovery was "complete."  I realize now his recovery may never be "complete," and his mobility limitations may need to be in place forever.  he's had two episodes, about a month apart, where he's woken up our house crying inconsolably (my heart breaks just thinking about his sad little whimpers of pain) and he was dragging himself around using his front paws only, completely unable to put weight on his remaining back leg.  interestingly, both episodes didn't happen the night after a big movement day -- they seemed kind of random in their timing.

when those episodes happened, I gave him a carprofen and gabapentin, but I don't know how to prevent those episodes in the first place.  he's on cosequin tablets once daily, and since I work full-time and live in a small apartment, I don't worry about him running around in a yard while I'm not home to monitor his activity level.  we usually spend a lot of time playing tug or doing trick training when I get home.

in the past few days, that hasn't been enough for him.  he's been pulling a lot on the leash and I can tell he wants to run.  it's in his Kelpie DNA and I don't know what to do to help him feel satisfied with his quality of life.  does anyone have any tips and tricks for mentally stimulating highly intelligent tripawds?  (he becomes seriously bitey when the boredom settles in and those puppy bites are no joke!  no amount of training in the world can prevent him from getting bored and I just feel so bad for him...)  any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

thank you 🙂 

max and i like going to sonic :)Image Enlarger

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lazy sunday morningImage Enlarger

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The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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3 October 2023 - 11:23 pm
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Hi Andy and Maximus, Welcome! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

He is ADORABLE! Thank you for adopting him. What a sweetheart. 

So yes it is tricky to manage a new, young Tripawd's activity level. We wrote this post that may help you with some interactive brain games ideas:

How to Exercise Young, Recovering Tripawd Dogs and Cats

One of the best ways to learn what Max needs as far as physical activity, now, and in his later years,  is to connect with a rehab therapist. They can guide you on how best to help him be safe and pain-free. It definitely sounds like he may be overdoing things, and now is the time to learn what he needs to be comfortable and out of pain. All Tripawds are prone to osteoarthritis as they age, so it's important to start managing his activity needs now. 

The best part is that the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit ! Please take advantage of this program and let us know if you'd like help finding a therapist near you. Just check out the examples of Tripawds who got their free rehab to see how much their humans learned with just one visit!

Also, do check out our Adoption articles so you can get up to speed quickly.

Thanks for sharing his adorable photos! For some reason Flickr isn't acting right by allowing you to post here, adding images can be a bit finicky. If you'd like help (see that link to learn how to do it), let me know.

New England
Member Since:
11 January 2022
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4 October 2023 - 5:31 am
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Max is such a handsome dog!

My tripawd, Loki, lost a rear leg after being hit by a car as well.  In her case, she had a family who surrendered her after the accident because they couldn't afford to save her life.  I adopted her a couple of months later, when she was about 5 months old.  Loki doesn't have any lingering physical pain from her accident, but the trauma left plenty of emotional damage.  Loki's mom was a Siberian Husky, so I am very familiar with having a young tripawd with a genetic predisposition to want to run, run, run.  Loki is about 2.5 now.  

I have a collection of puzzle toys/feeders that I use regularly for meal times.  In general, I'm a fan of the line of puzzle feeders made by Nina Ottoson for Outward Hound.  If you would like more specific recommendations, let me know.

I also train both of my dogs in nosework as a sport.  I like to think of nosework as kind of like chess for dogs.  It burns a lot of mental energy, which will help tire out your dog.  You don't have to do nosework at the sport level to have fun with your dog and burn some energy.  

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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4 October 2023 - 11:04 am
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mischief said
I also train both of my dogs in nosework as a sport.  I like to think of nosework as kind of like chess for dogs.  It burns a lot of mental energy, which will help tire out your dog.  You don't have to do nosework at the sport level to have fun with your dog and burn some energy.  

YES! Check out Karen's post about nosework:

Nosework Tips from a Tripawd Champ

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