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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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Anyone mind giving me a quick list of post-op needs?
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Forum Posts: 31
Member Since:
4 April 2017
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5 April 2017 - 2:11 pm
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I know there are many wonderful resources on this site to discuss the various needs of tripawd dogs but right now it’s a little overwhelming to do that much reading considering everything happened in less than a week and I’m bringing her home tomorrow.  I’ll be researching things like nutrition supplements,etc over the weekend but for her first day home want to know if there any first day home needs I might be overlooking.  

My current list for her includes 1) memory foam bed, which I’ll have to stop and get at petsmart since no time for the shipping.  2) elevated food/water dish, and 3) canned food which she loves both to spoil her with and aid in medication administration for the first couple weeks.  I already have a harness and figure the rest can come within a few days via amazon.  

For me the list basically consists of chocolate…. 🙂

Anyway not trying to be lazy and skip the research, I will go through the articles here with a fine tooth comb before it’s said and done, just working on a short schedule and still sorting things out.

Thanks in advance

Joined forum after Ginger, 2 1/2 year old German Shepherd, had front leg shattered by car on 4/1/17. Front leg amputated on 4/5/17. Still learning to be a tripawd mom.

Forum Posts: 543
Member Since:
14 December 2016
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5 April 2017 - 2:23 pm
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It sounds like you have the basics covered. I would add at least a washable fabric, blanket, whatever for the dog bed because a lot of times you get fluid discharge. -my dog never used the beds again after recovery probably because to him they still smelled, inspite of washing. Some people even use pee pads.

I would advise you to ask for an emergency number from your vet. Not to sound dramatic here, at all, but because you probably will have questions or want answers on meds or whatever. Also, most importantly: the meds from your vet. Most people here got Tramadol, Gabapentin and Rimadyl, sometimes a Fentanyl patch at first. if you get considerably less, make sure to ask for more. -I’m only saying this because there were a few stories here lately where the dogs where sent home with basically an aspirin.

Other than that I think you’re pretty well covered 🙂 You may want to get area rugs (or yoga mats, I hear) to cover slippery surfaces, like hardwood floors, tiles,…

and while chocolate is great, I would always stock up on wine, too 🙂

all the best


Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.

Manni's blog -dogblog-

Los Angeles, CA
Forum Posts: 3554
Member Since:
13 June 2013
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5 April 2017 - 2:37 pm
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I would agree with the wine comment. laughing

Otherwise, it sounds like you are set. Be prepared for the possibility of a rough couple of days … or it could be a honeymoon… you just never know but do make sure you have plenty of pain meds. Some vets only send home with the equivalent of Tylenol which I personally find useless in life in general. 

And foods that she will like and enjoy eating. I do think you are mostly set though. I brought Shelby home to the same house and while I had to carry her up and down the stairs, I did make sure she was unable to “jump” on beds, couches, etc. If you have to leave Ginger, perhaps a crate or a place you can confine her while you are at work. You will want her to be as still as possible – except potty breaks. They think they can take on the world and you do not want too much activity.

And keep us posted!!! A lot of us are around on the weekends so we can check in but mostly not vets so make sure you have a good # to call.

You’ve got this!!! Positive energy and love!!! 

Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart (and little Jasper too) 

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


Forum Posts: 19148
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 April 2017 - 2:42 pm
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I’ve heard some pour wine over their chocolate 🙂

You’ve done an excellent job of getting things ready!

Maybe have lots of clean towels available in case there is some slight leakage.

Some put Tee shirts in just to add an extra diversion from licking, as well as aid in keeping clean.

Maybe a bag of frozen peas should the vet suggest “cold compress”‘ Maybe some wash cloths should Vet suggest “warm compresses”. I never used any of what I just suggested with my Happy Hannah, but others have.

Maybe some water proof pee pads as a barrier for his new bed in case of, not inly incision leakagr, but in case he has some “pee leakage” because he may be druggy and nit realize he needs to go potty.

Almost all of us slept on the floor next to our pups the first weeks and beyond! So maybe plan on moving a mattress next to him or set the couch up as your bed.

Phone number of your Vet; Phone number of TRIPAWD HELPLINE!

Notebook to keep list of when meds are given, notation of water intake, potty, etc.

Keep the tv remote handy! You may not get much sleep the first couple of nights! 🙂

Just throwing out a few random things 🙂

It IS overwhelming and you don’t need to be doing any more “research” now! If you’re like the rest of us, your brain is completely fried and you wouldn’t retain a thing you researched anyway!!

We are all here for you!! Vent, scream, ask a thousand questions a day! We understand! We’ll help get you through this! 🙂 Be a strong confident pack leader for your Ginger. She will feed off your energy.


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!

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27260
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5 April 2017 - 8:07 pm
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Of course you’re not lazy, you’re here asking questions! I know it seems like an overwhelming amount of information, but you’re doing great and the suggestions here are spot-on. I’ve always planned on making a “Must-Have Recovery Items List,” so thanks for lighting a fire under my behind! Meanwhile this may help you out:

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