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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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Activities for a new 1yo Tripawd?
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Member Since:
4 January 2016
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18 February 2016 - 10:12 am
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OK, yall are probably getting tired of me posting.  I have a 1yo German Shepherd that lost his front leg three weeks ago.  It was a calcification tumor in his shoulder.  He wasn't limping all the time, but it's now obvious how much pain he was actually in.  Now that he's had his amputation, he feels great and he's driving me crazy with his newfound energy.  The garbage cans are now getting hit.  He's chewing up my gloves, hat, anything he finds.  He's making my old dog crazy yelping at her to get her to play.  This is all new post-op misbehavior, probably what a 1yo pup should be doing.  He really needs more to do to wear him down.  

Here are my thoughts:

He was fairly obedient when I got him not that long ago, but I probably need to reboot obedience training with the new lease on life.  

He loves chasing a ball, but he gets tired right now until he builds his endurance.  He'll run after it about three times then he wants to lay down and rest.  I guess patience and practice chasing the ball will build him up.

Someone suggested nose work.  He's great at using his nose to find his ball when he loses it.

Any other suggestions until he gets more recovery time?

Member Since:
28 March 2015
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18 February 2016 - 10:25 am
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This sounds like a good problem to have! And we never get tired of anyone posting about their pups....

The first thing that occurs to me is to create some mental exhaustion. Have you tried one of the puzzle toys, where they need to work at getting a treat out? If it is challenging enough, he might be stimulated by it for a good stretch of time but not have to move around that much.

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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18 February 2016 - 10:55 am
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My rear amp pug/beagle/x  mix tripawd is about 14 months old.  I got her at 10 months after her amp so I'm not sure what her activity level was before.

We are about 2/3 of the way through our first obedience class and I find with her that practicing takes up some of her energy. When her energy is low or her one back leg seems tired we work on stay, and sit, down, sit, etc.  When she seems more lively we work on 'place' (where she has to go to a specific mat and lay down) and come.  With a front amp I'm not sure if sit, down, sit would be better or if sit, stand sit would be better.

Elly also loves the dog twister game. Here is a blog post showing my quad pugs trying it out. I don't know how or if it would work for a front amp- maybe someone here has tried it.  I have to keep an eye on Elly when she plays it because it puts a lot of strain on her one back leg- but I think it is a great workout for her and it exercises her mind.

We also work on a FitBone everyday.

Maybe you can develop a game where you hid his ball and have him look for it?

My saving grace with Elly is that she is small which limits her ability to get into things, and she is part pug so she does like her naps big-grin


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

Member Since:
27 August 2014
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18 February 2016 - 11:50 am
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In addition to sniffing to find a ball, I love hiding treats and having my dog find them. We're also always working on a couple of new tricks using clicker training. Clicker training is great for mentally exhausting dogs because they're constantly working to figure out what to do to get a treat. If you're not familiar with it, Karen Pryor and many others have resources online to get you started. 

My dog's a front amp as well and she's learned to 'sit pretty' and offer her front paw, lay down and roll over, touch, go to her room, go get toys and drop them - there are a lot of low impact tricks he could learn to keep his mind occupied and to build a strong bond between the two of you. 

Two more suggestions- the Bob A Lot puzzle toy is easy for a front amp to push around because it's tall and he also might enjoy chewing on a Benebone if he has a busy mouth. 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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18 February 2016 - 1:24 pm
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Haha tired of you posting? Never! Indulge us with photos too, we love it!

Yes, keeping a young Tripawd from doing too much while allowing him/her to be a dawg is a fine line but you can do it! All it takes is re-thinking what you consider to be exercise. Keep in mind:

Brain games are waaaaay more tiring and beneficial than hard physical exercise. Here are some posts about working out the mind for the ultimate exercise.

Interactive Games for Recovering Tripawd Dogs

Top #BetterWithPets Tips for a Stress-Free Life with Dogs and Cats

Fun DIY Games to Keep Your Tripawd Injury Free

More Interactive Doggy Brain Games

As for physical exercise, here are some ways we work out our Wyatt Ray , who lost his leg at 8 months young, so we totally get where you're coming from:

Try the K9FITBone for Balanced Fitness Fun

Best of Tripawds Gear and Fitness Tips for Three Legged Dogs

Paw Pods Make Tripawd Dog Exercise Fun

Help Your Tripawd Get Strong, Even When Eating

Doggie Rehab Therapy Tips to Help Tripawds Stay Strong

Our Tripawds e-book, Loving Life On Three Legs , also has lots of good tips about mental and physical exercise.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
4 January 2016
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19 February 2016 - 6:54 am
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Nice!  Thanks for the tips.  I have some reading to do after Jerry's post.  Good info.

He already is naturally learning "Sit Pretty" because he spends a lot of time with his weight shifted to his back legs.  I'll bet he could walk around on his back legs with some practice!

I like the idea of the Twister game, but he'd probably rather lay down and chew it to pieces.

Bob a Lot might work.  I think Kong makes a wobbler.  They're inexpensive enough to try.  He's an aggressive eater, so one of those wobble and eat things might be good too.

I really need to work on the sit/stay/place.  We're practicing stay with dinner every night.  It's very hard for him, but we'll keep practicing.  Extending it to non-dinner is probably prudent.

Thanks for all the tips.  This really helps.

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