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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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exercise in the city: parks and sidewalks
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Winnipeg
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23 August 2009 - 6:52 pm
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Hi All

Now that Tazzie and I have moved back to city life, I am curious to know what sort of exercise you do with your pups. We are close enough to a park (several blocks) that I can drive him there to go for short walks and swim (in a fairly dirty river with a steep bank, but better than nothing). It is not officially off-leash but generally there is no problem, which is good so that Tazzie can go at his own pace.

But this evening, I tried to take him down the block on the sidewalk on leash, but the idea of making him travel at my slow pace and the impact of the sidewalk on his front leg made me turn around. I am curious:

– Do any of you walk your pups on sidewalks. Does that seem okay? Any suggestions?

– What about large sets of stairs, inside the house? These are carpeted, but I wonder if it is a strain on his remaining front leg to go down the steps.

At the park, I tend to let him hop a few hundred metres to the water, then back again. If I take him farther, I am afraid I won't know how far he can go until it is too late (even though he is not a great dane or an english mastiff, I still cannot carry him home!). The best situation seems to have him somewhere with people and dogs where he can just be active, but we don't always have that 'best' situation available.

– How have some of you increased the mileage for your dogs (e.g., Jerry the mountain climber)?

Susan & Tazzie 2

Here and Now


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23 August 2009 - 8:09 pm
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Sidewalks didn't seem to be an issue with Jerry. But if they are really hot, consider getting Tazzie some booties.

We found the Ruff Wear harness to be incredibly helpful for assisting Jerry downstairs. It really helped us take some of the impact off his remaining front leg. For Wyatt, it helps going up stairs – going down isn't so hard for rear leg tripawds.

Building up strength and stamina can take time. Just be sure to go about it slowly. One day at a time, a little bit further each week. Take lots of breaks. Carry lots of water. And don't overdo it, Tazzie will let you know when he has had enough.

Every dog is different … I'm not sure I'd discuss Jerry's three legged hikes in terms of “mileage”.


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23 August 2009 - 10:08 pm
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I used to take Tazzie to the park where she would hop around the soccer field with my other dogs but it soon became obvious that this was too much for her and stressed her out.  She really just likes playing in our fenced back yard. She also refuses to take a walk around our courtyard so I don't make her do that either.

I let her do a few stairs around the house but she has not attempted the steep staircase going up to the deck.  I am not worried about her going up but going down would scare me. Even with the harness she is just so big that if she tumbled I would not be able to stop her.  I think that most other dogs here do stairs just fine.

Pam and Tazzie

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24 August 2009 - 6:39 am
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Susan & Tazzie 2,

This one is very tough for the two of us.  Cherry was my walking buddy no matter how long the walk.  Once at Cape Lookout OR, I decided I wanted to walk to the end of the spit and took my Cherry with me.  I also took our GPS to check on tides to make sure we did not get stuck with the tide rising around our noses.  As it turns out, the end of the spit was 8 miles one way.  Also, Cherry has an extremely great confirmation show linage.  As a result of this breeding, she had an incredible gait while we walked.  We would walk at least once a day during our “snowbird” visits to a Mesa AZ RV resort.  We also were stopped at least once each trip with comments regarding her beautiful gait.  Walks have become much more rare and are usually accompied by a head-over-heals fall approximately the same distance.  I have not been able to build her stamina.  After a short time she begins to pant overwhelmingly, we wait a few moments, and then start again.  The real suffering from this situation has been my weight – a gain of 20lb in during the nine months.  Every TriPawd responds differently and perhaps I am too protective.  We did have great but short walks around the RV park in West Yellowstone.

I have to echo Jerry's comments regarding the Ruff Wear harness.  I has been extremely helpful for all our outings and not just for steps.  I can help her into the trailer, quickly straignten her up during our truck rides, and in general keep her in good shape.  I also love the reflective piping which allow one to see her quickly.

Paws crossed and Pawsitive Thoughts

Bob & Cherry

Mesa, AZ
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24 August 2009 - 7:35 am
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Hi Tazzie!  When Chuy and I go for a walk, we usually only get to go about 2 blocks on the sidewalks.  He tends to tire out on the way home, so we stop and he rests for a minute or two.  When he is ready to go again, he gets up and heads for home.  Stamina is the one thing we are still working on.  As for the sidewalks, they don't seem to bother him but we only walk in the early morning as it is too hot here for evening walks.  (AZ)  I also drive him to a park about 5 blocks away and let him run in the grass on a 15 ft. lead.  He loves it!

You can find longer leads at almost any petstore, it will give Tazzie a little more freedom, but still let you keep some control.

Eleanor & Chuy

Chuy, showing everyone that Tripawds do everything 3 times better than regular dogs!

Chuy's Short Stories

Mesa, AZ
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24 August 2009 - 7:35 am
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 oops!  it posted twice!

Chuy, showing everyone that Tripawds do everything 3 times better than regular dogs!

Chuy's Short Stories

Winnipeg
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24 August 2009 - 7:50 am
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ha – HOT sidewalks. That is something I never thought about (we live in Canada, eh). Extremely Icey sidewalks in a city in which people are not required to shovel the main walk (left to the city, so it melts and freezes over). That will be a treacherous condition that we will face in the not too distant future.

I wonder if it is dangerous to let Tazzie go down the stairs inside the house – that is something I cannot monitor unless I put up a baby gate . I had planned to move myself down to the main floor until I saw him coming and going. It would be horrible to cause injury to the remaining leg.

Cheers, Susan & T2

Mesa, AZ
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24 August 2009 - 8:36 am
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admin said:

Sidewalks didn't seem to be an issue with Jerry. But if they are really hot, consider getting Tazzie some booties.

We found the Ruff Wear harness to be incredibly helpful for assisting Jerry downstairs. It really helped us take some of the impact off his remaining front leg. For Wyatt, it helps going up stairs – going down isn't so hard for rear leg tripawds.

Get Tazzie some boots for the icy sidewalks in the winter, they will protect her feet from the cold and help give traction too.  Don't forget the harness for the stairs, it really does help!  We use one with Chuy to get him in and out of the car (we don't have stairs).  Using a baby gate until you are sure Tazzie is o.k. with the stairs is a great idea!

Chuy, showing everyone that Tripawds do everything 3 times better than regular dogs!

Chuy's Short Stories

Madison, WI
Forum Posts: 264
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24 August 2009 - 9:41 am
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I don't know Susan, Yoda sure doesn't let it show, if the sidewalk is too hard on his leg.  In fact – not so much recently, but closer to his amputation recovery – he preferred hopping on the street to the grass a lot of the time.  He also preferred leaving the grass to hop down the middle of our street and lay down there to take his rests  – thanks a lot buddy!  The neighbors are all gonna freak out that you just got hit by a car or passed out or something.  Let me get some chalk for your outline, lol.  He still does this occasionally.  I guess the road feels cooler to him, but it's easier to anticipate when he's going to do it now, so I can at least keep him near the curb til he lays down.

As far as stairs, I was hesitant to let Yoda try them.  I already had a dog gate to keep him out of the kitchen and basement of my house, because when I first got him he had separation anxiety that made him pretty destructive, but he adjusted.  (I tried an old baby gate at first, but he was able to knock it out, so I got a heavy duty one from the pet store).  But the summer heat made him really really want to go in the basement, so I eventually caved and he has not fallen going down (front-leg tripawd) though he did appear to stumble near the bottom the first couple times.  Though if I tried to be there to catch or support him on the way down, he changed his mind about wanting to go down (he's always been much too independent).

So, with some cautious resistance on my part, I've let him dictate what he's ready to do and so far we've gotten away with it without injury Laugh

(I too have feared this winter.  Yoda hates his booties! Kicks them off whenever he can.  And I've wondered if the kind we have wouldn't give him good enough traction without the balance of his fourth leg.)

Yoda&Mom united: 9/5/06 …….… Yoda&Leg separated: 6/5/09……… Yoda&Leg reunited: 10/14/09 ……… ……………….………….………….……. Yoda&Mom NEVER separated! …………………….….……....….…… Though Spirit Yoda currently free-lances as a rabbit hunting instructor for tripawds nationwide

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24 August 2009 - 3:55 pm
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Howdy, My Vet said if at possible he wanted me to walk on the grass or ground. He said use the sidewalk as a last resort. My pawrents make me ride in the car or my wagon till we get to the grass, then it's Yahooooo Time.!!!! I carry plenty of water and if I get to tired they can get my wagon for me or they'll get the car and come pick me up. Some days I make it really far and some days I don't. Shelby

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24 August 2009 - 3:56 pm
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Emily mostly runs around in our backyard.  Almost evryone in our neighborhood has dogs so they all tend to run paths along the fence line!  We have steps inside the house that aren't a problem with Emily.  Our deck, however, has steep steps.  Right after the amputation we took her out the front instead but she does fine now.  Before winter we are replacing the deck steps.  They are too steep and get too icy where they currently are (by the house in the shade, under a leaky gutter!).  We don't want her to fall!

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Winnipeg
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24 August 2009 - 9:06 pm
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It was interesting to hear how each person lets their dog exercise. I thought many more tripawds were running in the doggy parks than it sounds. I did meet a hind leg tripawd last week (in person, not via computer) that took 1 hr walks, but they worked up to that slowly from their amp last Feb. I think Tazzie's best situation would be a relatively small dog park where he could hang out and meet lots of people and dogs. But there are not too many parks like that in my city.

In any case, I just have to use this thread on exercise to say how great Tazzie seems to be doing. I know I always hesitate to say that, but he truly does seem happy now that we are in the city. (Crazy dog seems to like urban life more than life on a 150 sq mile ranch.) I have been taking photos along the way, and he finally seems to be relaxed and smiling in the pictures I took the last few days, but not so much in earlier pictures. His hop at the park is quite presentable, and from a rear view video you wouldn't even know he was missing a leg when he runs. I thought I'd wait to say anything until posting pics or a video, but given yesterday's issues with avatar (a word I had never heard), that day seems unlikely to come. To top things off, tonight Tazzie surprised me by playing 'cat and mouse' with the cat, which I didn't think I'd see again. Tazzie pounces on Pup the cat (now best known as “the forgotten pet”), mouthing him, and then little Pup turns and grabs Tazzzie, a great pyrenees cross, in a cougar hold with his arms around Tazzie's neck while Tazzie makes sounds like Chewie on Star Wars. Tazzie does seem like his 'old' (young) self.

This is not to say that I won't keep worrying (he still breathes heavy and fast when resting, not so much when active, but last week's x-rays were clear . . .).

Anyway, thanks for listening as usual.

Susan & Tazzie 2

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 August 2009 - 8:45 am
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I think the amount of exercise we get depends on so many different factors like when we had our amp, age, overall health, and whether or not we are battling cancer. An hour long walk for a Tripawd is pretty amazing though.

Try not to worry. You're over the hump for now, and this is the time to celebrate. Enjoy the wresling matches with Pup and Tazzie, it's those little things that remind us about what really matters in life.

P.S. If you need help with pics, let us know OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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East Bay, CA
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30 August 2009 - 10:33 pm
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Caira Sue used to walk forever-taking great hikes and playing at the dog parks for hours. Now that she's 4.5 weeks post amp, we still take a few long walks a week…it may even be an hour…except the distance is a lot shorter and we stop to take a lot of breaks. She does seem to check herself, but slowing down with her ball, etc. But sometimes I do have to just sit and make her stay with me to take her break (she's always pushed so hard, even as a puppy). Also, I ALWAYS bring a bottle of water with me for her, whereas before a walk in the neighborhood would not require water. She usually needs 2-3 water breaks in a normal 30-45 min morning walk.

I agree with others though, that it depends on the breed and the personality of the dog-as well as their level of activity and fitness before the amp.

I'm so thankful I don't have to worry about frozen sidewalks-brrrr! I do wear tevas that I can slip off and test the heat of the sidewalk before Caira walks on it! Silly mom!

May 2001-Jan 21, 2010.....I'm a dog and I'm AWESOME!..... Always.

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