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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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Front leg amputee
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Forum Posts: 4
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4 February 2010
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4 February 2010 - 1:38 am
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Hi every one. I have a 2 1/2 year old dog who weighs 29 lbs and was hit by a car back in April. He had to have his front leg amputated and his other front leg put in an external fixator for 6 months. Well, my dog is back on his feet and doing fine.

My question is…..

How much exercise is too much? I take him to the park once a day for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. We walk the park which might be 3/4 – 1 mile and we also throw the ball around alot, he loves to retrieve. Is it ok for him to exercise like that every day? He does some serious running after that ball but other than that, when we are home, he just hangs out on the couch.

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4 February 2010 - 7:50 am
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Hey there – welcome to the wonderful world of tripawds – we are a SPECIAL breed and are a very unique family. I'm sorry to hear about your difficult accident – but so hoppy to hear that you are seemingly fully recovered!Superstar

I would say – exercise as much as you would like unless you're the type that doesn't know your limits Winker then maybe mom/dad has to watch it for you some and make you rest even when you don't want to.

Zeus would always tell me when he had enough…he would find a stick and settled down on the grass for a good long chew.

Buddy, on the other hand, has to be told when to stop chasing the ball – he would go on and on and on if we would let him – once the tongue hangs out to the ground, we make him rest for a bit.

Hope this helps ~

Zeus' mom.

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

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4 February 2010 - 1:13 pm
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Hey Little Big Man, welcome! You've got the kind of energy a lot of dogs envy. Woof! Congratulations on surviving a very bad accident, what a hero!

Funny you should ask about exercise. We recently interviewed canine rehabilitation specialists at California Animal Rehabilitation in Los Angeles, and asked them this very question. We are still working on that series of posts and videos, but meanwhile you can check out their Helpful Articles link. There's a good one called 'Proper Exercise for Your Pet' that you should check out. The advice they give to avoid injuries is basically follow the same kind of philosophies that you would use in human exercise:

  • Do warm ups
  • Keep exercise age and breed appropriate
  • Build controlled endurance
  • Limit explosive exercise
  • Know the warning signs of overexercise

Because you've been through so much and you're a front leg Tripawd (which requires more stamina and strength than a rear-legger), I would be vigilant about monitoring play. That doens't mean it has to be boring, but just use caution in how much and how long you have fun at the park.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 3
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10 February 2010 - 2:03 pm
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I’m glad you asked about this, because I have similar questions, too! Dannan is also a front leg amputee, and I’ve wondered about appropriate exercise. Dannan runs much more smoothly than he walks (when he walks, it’s kind of a “hop”), and I have worried about taking him for too long/too frequent of walks. If I could run with him at his speed (which is WARP!), I think it would be much easier on his remaining front leg. But sadly, I move a lot slower than he does! Right now, we walk every second day for about 35 minutes. I don’t know if it would be better to walk every day, or to keep alternating. I’m going to check out the link that Jerry posted, too.

Wesley Chapel, FL
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10 February 2010 - 3:12 pm
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Hi Little Big Man!! Welcome to our Tripawds family!!

I really think that excercise depends on the dog… the size, the reason for the amputation, etc… How does your baby feel after a day of running around? Is he very tired and worn out afterwards… or ready for more? Since he's so small… and doesn't  have any other issues, it's probably OK for him to do all that excercise… but when in doubt, I always think it's best to check with your vet. Wouldn't want him to overdo it and hurt himself! Seems like he's had enough problems to last him quite a while!!!

Keep us posted and tell us your sweetie's name!!!

Angel Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… http://jakesjou.....ipawds.com ….. CANCER SUCKS!

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10 February 2010 - 3:44 pm
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Excellent advice Marguerite, our thoughts exactly.

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Winnipeg
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10 February 2010 - 4:17 pm
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I ended up jogging with Tazzie, then stopping when he did. Sort of a start and stop pace, both around the block and at the park. He didn't like travelling at a human walking pace.

We also tended to walk about 1.5 km, then would stop and sit around (when it was warm enough), during which he would visit with dogs and people that came by. That was actually a lot of fun for him. Then we'd do the return trip. But he was older than your pups and according to the x-rays had really bad hips. I imagine many tripawds could do more.

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12 February 2010 - 9:38 am
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jakesmom said:

Hi Little Big Man!! Welcome to our Tripawds family!!

I really think that excercise depends on the dog… the size, the reason for the amputation, etc… How does your baby feel after a day of running around? Is he very tired and worn out afterwards… or ready for more? Since he's so small… and doesn't  have any other issues, it's probably OK for him to do all that excercise… but when in doubt, I always think it's best to check with your vet. Wouldn't want him to overdo it and hurt himself! Seems like he's had enough problems to last him quite a while!!!

Keep us posted and tell us your sweetie's name!!!

Angel Jake's Mom


His name is Baron and he is doing really good.  I did post some videos of him in the pinned video tpoic in this section, you can check him out.  Makes me smile every time I run next to him, he makes me so proud, what a tough little dog.  Thanks for all the advice every one.

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