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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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Member Since:
27 July 2009
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27 July 2009 - 10:07 pm
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Sorry if this has already been discussed, but I did a search & couldn't find any information.

I have a 4 year old Leonberger who is two weeks post-op & doing great.  She had her right front leg amputated due to osteosarcoma and the stitches & staples were removed today.  Her activity level is getting stronger every day (her walks are up to 4 blocks - 2 out & back).  Our concern is stress on the remaining foreleg getting in and out of the car.  She's ready to go back to her social life at the dogpark and beach, plus we have lots of upcoming vet visits for chemo & general check-ups.  Her weight is down to 107 pounds, but that's still a lot to land on.  We have a volvo wagon & our sitter/walker has a small suv, so we'd like to get some recommendations for a ramp that can be used in either car as we transport her (and our other leo, but she's  a bit smaller & has all her limbs).  I'd love to hear about anyone's experience, good and bad with any brands of ramps out there.


Jodi & Nala; and I'm sure Anouk will appreciate it too

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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28 July 2009 - 3:01 pm
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Thanks for asking Jodi! We found these forum search results for car ramp. We don't have any specific recommendations for ramps because the Ruff Wear harness worked well for us to help Jerry in and out of our large 4×4 Dodge pickup.

Use the arrow buttons in this carousel to scroll through a selection of dog ramps we found on Amazon. Then click on any one for more details. One thing to consider is the size of the ramp when not being used. That's why I like the idea of the folding ramps. Hopefully others can provide a better recommendation.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Livermore CA
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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28 July 2009 - 7:00 pm
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Hi Jodi

I have to jump in here because that was a problem for me too.  I have a ramp for the old Lab and I tried to get Cemil to use it, but it must have felt like it was going to move and he refused to have anything to do with it.  Instead, I had a friend build a "step" for me, for him to use getting in and out of my little Toyota pickup truck.  It's like a box 32" x 36" x 10" high.  He can jump onto it and then into the truck, and the reverse going out.  So he's only stepping down 10 or 12", and then another 10".  That worked great for him.  And he's level at the in-between point, instead of headed downhill, like on a ramp.  Cemil is an Anatolian Shepherd, about 150#.  I would recommend the "step" rather than a ramp for a big dog.  Much more solid.  I thought of putting some of that anti-fatigue matting on it to cushion the step even more, but I haven't done that.  It's really fine the way it is. And I can just throw it in the truck and take it along, so it's always available.

To make it work for a different-size dog, just measure the distance from front foot to back foot when she's standing on level ground and make it about that long.  The width would need to be just enough so she doesn't feel like she's going to fall off the side.  I guess the height should be about half the distance from the ground to the vehicle door.

Have fun!


Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

Member Since:
5 August 2009
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6 September 2009 - 12:24 pm
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Hello everyone, so my golden retreiever just had an amputation of the front leg about a month ago. I have a jeep liberty and bailey loves riding it in, however I bought a ramp and she refused to use it. She is able to hop in the car but getting down I am afraid she will fall or break her remaining leg. She weighs 100 plds so me lifting her is out of the question, I don't really have anyone that could build something but if anyone has any suggestions that would be great

ashley shafferman

Member Since:
13 July 2009
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6 September 2009 - 12:36 pm
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When I got Tazzie a ramp, the salesperson suggested putting treats along it to help him get used to it. That worked to get him to use a narrow ramp going into the house.

If Bailey wears a harness, you can hold onto that as he leaves the car, which might lessen the impact of his jump.

He sure does a lot more jumping than he did as a 4-legged dog (he never used to even jump into my little car, and now he does), which makes me nervous but is probably hard to avoid.

Harrisonburg, Va
Member Since:
29 July 2009
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6 September 2009 - 1:08 pm
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Hey there and welcome to the forum.  I'm glad your girl is doing so well post-op.  We have a Pet Gear Bi-Fold ramp, but to be honest I wish we hadn't gotten it.  The type of ramp we have has a sorta curved edge that works for a van, truck, or suv but not for a car really.  It doesn't lie or grip well on a regular car, but since you have access to larger vehicles that would work better for you.  Another issue is width.  A lot of ramps even big ones just aren't very wide, and you and Bailey's mom have pretty big dogs.  My dog Mac is only 60 pounds now without the leg and has a hard time staying on the ramp....I imagine with a leonberger the width might be a problem.  My sister has/had st. bernards and couldn't find a ramp wide enough for them.  Yet another issue like others have experienced is getting the dogs to even get up on the ramp.  Who knows you may have more luck.  If you want to try one I'd at least make sure that you can return it even with the package opened.  Like some said, you may want to try those little steps they make.  They would be bulkier than the folding ramp though.  I would get a good harness so no matter what you try you can get a better hold on them.

Hope that helps. 

P.s.: you should post a pic/avatar of your girl.....I don't see too many leonbergers around and would love to see her    

Member Since:
16 July 2009
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6 September 2009 - 1:21 pm
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We have the Solvit aluminum ramp, and it has worked well.  We first introduced it in the house flat on the floor and used treats as Tazzie described.  We worked with it that way until they would be happy to just stand on it without any concern.  Then we put it from the floor to the sofa, and worked on going up and down.  Codie Rae now has no problem using it.  We used it with Wyatt while he was here and he would go down it easily out of the truck, but was hesitant to go up.

The latest we are hearing around GSRNC is that you should not let your dog jump up into or down out of a vehicle becasue of the possibility of injury.  Apparently that recommendation has come from vets at UC Davis and applies to all dogs, no matter how many legs.  You might consider using both the ramp and a Ruff Wear harness to help everyone feel secure. 

29 September 2009 - 6:55 pm
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I'm the ideot who just posted about this in Treatment and Recovery.(Pun intended!) Laughing  I swear I searched for it here, but low and behold, here's the forum on the second page.  Whatever And what's really bad is my masters is in educational technology!  I should know better!!!

Anyway, two things.  Until mid-october, if you are a member of Costco, you can buy this ramp for $80!  That's REALLY cheap compared to most places.  I called the company, Pet step, and spoke with Zach and he said that he feels like it is a really good ramp option for tripawds because it is super sturdy (can hold up to 500 pounds), has slip resistant ridges all along to help with traction , and is heavy enough that it won't torque with un-even walking.  I'm ordering mine tonight so I'll let you know how it works.

The other thing is on their website, they have step by step directions on how to get your dog used to using a ramp.  Thought it might help!

19 October 2009 - 2:14 pm
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Thought I'd update.  We got the ramp about 10 days ago.  It is a very sturdy ramp and reaches our Yukon/Suburban style SUVs back just fine.  Mickey, my 4 legged, agile pup, does absolutely great with it.  I'm glad he'll use it as he has a tendency to jump higher than he should.  McGwire is a little different.  Because of his 3 legged gait (he's a front leg amputee), he isn't as stable.  He tends to place his back legs pretty far apart, sometimes almost falling off the sides of the ramp.  It's not that skinny of a thing, but Mac has always been extremely un-graceful!  I need to use the ruff-wear harness with the ramp to make both of us feel more secure, but it's way easier than using just the harness-rather than doing all the lifting, I'm just guiding.  Just thought I'd let anyone know how it's working.  Let me know if you have any questions!  

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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24 February 2010 - 12:10 pm
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Check the recent Tripawd Gear blog post for another option to help Tripawds in and out of vehicles with folding steps...

Pet Loader Car Steps Help Tripawds Go For Rides
February 12th, 2010

pet loader folding car steps

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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21 May 2010 - 9:42 am
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Otto Step  SUV Truck Pet Step

FYI: We just reviewed another innovative solution for safely getting tripawds in and out of SUVs and trucks. Check out our Otto Step product review in the Tripawds Gear blog .

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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