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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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Helping Dakota get involved in his world
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In your heart, where I belong.
Member Since:
9 February 2011
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17 February 2011 - 1:46 pm
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Dakota is my 9-year-old Golden mix, and a tripawd of 6 days. Dakota hates the car. He is terrified of car rides and always has been. We've paid 2 behaviorists to work on this with him with no real improvement. One thought success was attained when D jumped into the back of the car to please me, even though he was slobbering, dry heaving and trembling. To me, that is not success.

Fast forward to very recently, and Dakota has to get into the car. It's no longer optional. He needs many vet visits, and he has to do it. I don't know if he's become a little desensitized to the car, if he trusts me more (ha! we cut off his leg after a car ride!) or if he's just given up, but he is doing a bit better riding. He still slobbers great strings that hang down 2 feet, he still drools and saturates his legs and his pad in the car, I still have to dry him off with a big towel when he gets out of the car--but he no longer trembles as violently or barfs. I think this is progress!

I would like to increase Dakota's involvement in the big, wide world. I want to take advantage of his progress, however small it is, and begin taking him more places. I want him to know that good things can happen when he goes for a ride with us. I want him to go to dog parks, on hikes, etc.

Does anyone have any advice for how to make this happen? Does anyone have a car-averse dog who overcame? Keep in mind that D is 9, so we aren't talking about a couple of years of fear and anxiety. He won't eat treats when he's anxious so we've had no success in treating him in the back of the car. He won't eat, drink or eliminate until we're home again. Any ideas?

Shari

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

On The Road


Member Since:
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17 February 2011 - 2:22 pm
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Is Dakota crate trained? If so, have you tried transporting him with a covered crate in the car? Some dogs may feel more comfortable in the car if confined since they will have less room to roam, which can cause distress because they are more likely to fall over or be agitated by everything passing by.

Just a thought... good luck and please keep us posted!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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17 February 2011 - 2:26 pm
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It sounds like there is improvement!!  YAY for little successes!

 

Does Dakota like walks?  When you get the leash out does he get excited?  Will he take a treat on a walk?

If so, get the car ready in the drive or street and take a little walk first.  Do something he likes and make sure the car is someplace different than in it's usual spot.  Basically, while his is still in his happy mood, introduce the car.  And then make sure you have super duper treats!  (chicken or beef or something dogs can't resist)  Feed them the entire time in the car regardless if he takes them.  

Make really sure, you aren't getting nervous because he is nervous.  Start talking non-stop or sing a happy song to him keeping it very cheery!  (look how happy I am kind of voice - dogs love it when you are happy!) And then take a car ride to a drive thru and get him another tasty snack (ice cream or hamburger)!  He may not eat it until he gets home, but he's a smarty and will know that the good stuff comes from going in a car!  Little fun trips will desensitize him. 

Rocket aka monkeybutt was petrified of car rides, too at first.  But it was just a matter of time before he realized car rides have benefits! Now he squeaks to high heaven when he thinks we are going for a ride!

 

I used to get nervous when I took Comet to the vet. I was a bundle of nerves.  AND SO WAS SHE!  I finally realized, I was reason she was afraid!  So, remember - it's going to be fun!  And Dakota will eventually pick up those emotions too!

 

GOOD LUCK!  You can do it Dakota!

 

  

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

In your heart, where I belong.
Member Since:
9 February 2011
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17 February 2011 - 2:35 pm
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Jerry, the first time Dakota was ever in a crate was to and from his amputation surgery. He got into it fine, though, and lay down. It is all wire, so I can certainly try covering it. He didn't slobber on me (a good thing) but he saturated himself and his bedding.

Cometmama, I can try some of this. Unfortunately, we are 30 minutes from the closest place that would offer a treat for Dakota, like a drive through. I wish it were 5 minutes, of course. I will try that, though. I do talk to him and tell him he's a good boy, even while he's flinging wads of slobber all over me.

One thing I should have mentioned is the very real possibility that he is car sick. Some people never outgrow car sickness, so maybe some dogs don't, either. We live on a winding mountain road, and I don't drive like my husband does, but maybe Dakota's getting queasy. I don't know what you do for car sickness in dogs, if that is what it is.

Thanks for the suggestions. Please, keep 'em coming!

--Shari, Dakota's wrangler

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

littlemanjake
5
17 February 2011 - 3:38 pm
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Hi Shari,

Have you tried desensitizing Dakota first, without going anywhere? You might try playing with him a bit on the way to the car & first just give treats outside the car & stop. After he's comfortable with that, have him sit in the car with you & see if he'll take a treat. If not, just sit with him for a short time, take him out & try again later. Try to avoid taking him out the minute he refuses a treat or you may put that behavior on cue. As he gets comfortable sitting with you, taking treats, you can progress to him sitting inside & you in the drivers seat. When he can handle that, try driving a few feet, then 5 minutes, etc. It's important to keep these sessions short & follow them with something he really enjoys. If at any time he regresses to previous behavior, you have to go back & repeat that step.This can be a very long process and unfortunately, some trips are not going to be optional and will erase much of the progress.

In the meantime, until he is not going for so many rides & is feeling better, have you thought about melatonin? It has been very helpful for many of the dogs in a group I work with. Occasionall,y a dog does need medication. I have resorted to clorazepate for Isabelle, on rare occasions when summer storms have been exceptionally bad. You might ask your vet. You don't want to add too much stress during his recovery. It might be a good project for the coming months.

Isabelle was afraid of everything when she came from Hurricane Katrina at about 6-7 years old. I'm pretty sure she'd never been in a car & definitely not in a noisy city or on a leash/collar. I desensitized her to everything in this way....she's afraid of very little other than thunder & lightening now.

Good Luck,

Cynthia

Kirkland, WA
Member Since:
9 November 2010
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18 February 2011 - 7:54 am
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Hi Shari

 

Both my dogs are rescues and both were very scared of car rides when I got them.  One fairly severely with drooling, trembling, and vomitting on every ride.  I do lots of dog sports and need to drive the dogs to training atleast 2x a week so it was an obstacle we had to overcome.  Here are some things that worked for me.

 

1. both of my dogs did much better in a covered crate.  I highly recommend them.  They are much safer for dogs to travel in.  I know 2 different people that were in car accidents, no one was injured, but the dog escaped the car after the accidnet only to be struck by traffic.  Just one more reason to use a crate.  Crates can be rattly in the back of the car, if you through a rubber bottomed bath matt on top of the crate it will help with the rattles.

2.  don't always get in the car and leave.  Sometimes just put him in the car and then get right out and play.  Once you've done this about 20 times over the course of a week try a short drvie to somewhere that will be fun.  You may also want to set up the crate in the house and get him used to thinking it's a great safe place to be.  Lots of treats and pets when he's in his crate.  Then you have a traveling "safe" zone

3.  Take your short drive to a dog park or pet store where they will give him lots of treats once he arrives.

 

good luck!

In your heart, where I belong.
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9 February 2011
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18 February 2011 - 8:15 am
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Thanks so much for all the great suggestions!

I will give another try to putting Dakota in the car and then getting out, without going anywhere. This is one of the things we'd done when we had a behaviorist come, but that was then and this is now. We'll give that another whirl.

I do have a very large, wire crate that I only got for his surgery transport. He handled being in it just fine (I mean he didn't howl or anything), but I didn't cover it. I'm going to try that, too. I can easily set it back up in my living room for him to park in. I think next week after he gets his stitches out would be a good time to begin introducing it. He is still pretty awkward and I don't want him falling into that wire.

Does anyone have any speculation on the car sickness possibility? Is it possible that he is nauseous and that's why he slobbers like a rabid dog?

Thanks again, and I'll try to update down the road so we can see what worked.

Shari, Dakota's wrangler

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

littlemanjake
8
18 February 2011 - 9:28 am
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Hi Shari,

While you can't rule out nausea adding to Dakota's aversion to car rides, excessive salivation is usually anxiety related. I would consider trying melatonin & see if there's any difference. You do need to use it consistently for a few days. There is information on the internet saying the human form (there is no veterinary specific formula) is not appropriate for dogs, but that's what we've always used on the advice of Dr. Dodman. You can find his recommendations online. If you have access to an integrative or holistic vet, they can help. I've used SERENITY, with limited success with my own dog. Some dogs respond really well to it, though.

Cynthia

In your heart, where I belong.
Member Since:
9 February 2011
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18 February 2011 - 9:37 am
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Cynthia, when you tried melatonin, what time of day did you give it? I've always heard that it needs to be a lights-out kind of supplement. Would you give it only as needed, or did you intend to keep your dog on it indefinitely?

I have used melatonin with my son, who is not a garden-variety child. He occasionally has real sleep problems. I would give him melatonin 5 days on, 3 days off, to prevent his body from becoming accustomed to it. We've also tried 5-HTP in rotation with melatonin. I wonder what 5-HTP would do to a dog. Hmmm, time for more research. Thanks!

Shari, Dakota's wrangler

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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18 February 2011 - 11:26 am
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Ooh, one more thing to try....it's worked well for Wyatt during car rides, is cheaper than a new crate and is highly recommended by humane societies everywhere:

Calming Cap

Tripawds Stress Less with The Calming Cap

 

Also, you may want to consider being our demo dawg if Dakota can fit into this:

Wanted: Large Size Tripawd to Test Anxiety Wrap Product

Anxiety Wrap for Dogs

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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18 February 2011 - 11:28 am
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littlemanjake said:

we've always used on the advice of Dr. Dodman. You can find his recommendations online. 

Ah, you mean this Dr. Dodman?

"How to Be Good to Your Good Old Dog"

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

littlemanjake
12
18 February 2011 - 2:31 pm
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Hi Shari,

I've had good luck using the melatonin at anytime of the day. A little foster I've been working with takes it the morning, with great success. When I've used it with Isabelle, I've used it before storms, whatever time of day. If days of severe storms are forecast in the summer (she's only terrified if it's hot & humid outside…post Katrina stress disorder…I'll start it a few days in advance.

I know you want to broaden Dakotas life experience, but sometimes, you have to look at the cost-benefit. He's 9, has just been through major surgery & you are all adjusting. It sounds like you have done a great deal to address this issue in the past. It might be better to work on minimizing the stress/trauma (for both of you) of essential car rides and re-evaluate the rest when things settle down a bit.

Cynthia

 

Jerry- Yes, that Dr. Dodman! Had the opportunity to discuss this & other issues with him several times, most recently last spring at a seminar & follow up workshop.

In your heart, where I belong.
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9 February 2011
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18 February 2011 - 2:56 pm
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Hi Cynthia,

I agree with you 100% on what may or may not be the best thing to do for Dakota. I question myself all the time on these things, and I don't want to ram anything down his throat if he's just going to stress about it. Right now, my fondest wish would be that he could go for a drive for us, get out and enjoy the scenery, lay down and snooze, then go back home when we do. I don't care if he interacts with other people or dogs. I really just want him to be happy, and that may mean not pursuing any of this.

Thanks for the insights.

Shari

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

littlemanjake
14
18 February 2011 - 3:47 pm
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Shari,

You'll do the right thing for Dakota. He sounds like a pretty happy guy, even if his world isn't enormous....he doesn't know the difference and I'm sure he's happy snoozing at home, as long as he's with the people he loves.

Cynthia

Monkeybutt-Bunny Vampire
15
18 February 2011 - 4:28 pm
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Oh. My. MonkeyDog.   If Wyatt wasn't such a dufuss non-stop talker Monkeypawd hybrid dog, I'd feel sorry for him!   Will someone please glue some googly eyes on that shower cap so we'll know it's Wyatt???! 

 

Monkeydog Trademarked!

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