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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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Human Mommy new to having a 3 legged furry baby
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3 October 2008 - 5:23 pm
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Hi! My name is Katy and I'm a 6 month old 7 lb. beagle. I was born without my left front leg. I have my shoulder joint and you can see it move when I walk, as if I had that leg, but it just never developed. I am told that I was the runt of a liter of 11. My breeder was going to have me euthanized because I was missing a leg & because the vet didn't recommend that I have puppies. The vet tech snatched me up and I found my forever home with my current mommy that is active in dog rescue.

With that being said, my new mommy is new to having a 3 legged baby and would like to know any pointers or suggestions. Harnesses for 3 legged dogs, capability of going on walks, etc. I get around pretty good, I am better when I am running around the house...the momentum helps me. When I walk slowly I have to hop. It is hard for me to hold a pose such as taking care of my business outside. I am a little dare devil though because I know my mommy will catch me and not let me hurt myself.

Thank you for reading & I hope it is ok that I am here, even though I did not have cancer.

Paws & Kisses,


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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4 October 2008 - 3:17 pm
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Hi Katy. By all means, you are more than welcome here in the Tripawds community! We three-leggers must stick together.

Tell your mom not to worry, because you're just missing the spare leg most of us dogs are born with. And being that way from birth means you've never known life any other way. And considering you didn't lose it to cancer, you have a long healthy life to look forward to.

Your mom will find plenty of advice and tips throughout these forums. Just have her search for specific concerns, or browse the various topics.

One thing that will help is to have her put down runners if you have hardwood or other slippery floors in your house. Raising your food and water bowls off the ground will also help maintain your posture and reduce strain on your neck.

The Ruff Wear harness is certainly helpful for maneuvering stairs and getting in/out of vehicles. I would bet, however, that as you build up your puppy strength you will be just fine. Be sure to keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
26 July 2008
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5 October 2008 - 9:04 am
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Hi Katy and welcome.  From what I've read in the forum - pups who start out with only 3 legs do very well.  There is a thread about it here

three legged dogs from birth

I know your mommy wants to help and keep you from falling and such (we all do) but you need to let her fall once and a while so she learns how to compensate for the missing leg.  When Radar tried to lift is leg to go potty he fell a couple of times but then figured out how to go without lifing his leg.  If I had helped and supported him it would have taken longer for him to figure it out on his own.  Katy will show you quickly how awesome she is.  Take a look at Darcy's recent video of her playing.  It will just give you a joyous feeling about how well our tripawds can do. 


Connie & Radar

Member Since:
25 April 2008
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5 October 2008 - 7:47 pm
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Hello Katy,

    First off , I would like to congrats your mom on being a pawrent. Being born with three legs, I feel you sort of have an advantage to those here who had 4 but had to adapt to 3.  Initially, navigating stairs and balancing while squatting is a skill you will learn. Secondly, any slippery area's will definitely have to be covered. Don't want to run the risk of injury to good limbs. A special harness isn't absolutely necessary however the rough wear harness is a good one. A traditional collar might add stress to your neck. The hoping around puts some pressure on your spine and neck already. The most important thing I could recommend at this stage is diet. I can not stress this enough.  Many feel a diet, even raw is the way to go. Since it replicates what you would be eating if still in the wild. Many of the commercial dog foods are horrible and contribute to many of the ailments that eventually sicken our precious fur babies. I would also recommend a good multi-vitamin for whatever is lacking in the diet. This site  has several links for all the info you need. 

* When walking, have patience... having 3 legs you burn more energy. Best wishes & welcome.Smile

Kim&Buster -ps. would love to see a puppy pic!!!

Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

Member Since:
26 January 2008
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9 October 2008 - 2:37 am
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Hello Katy, funny how a silly breeder meant that you got such a wonderful home, isn't it? You have come to the right place for advice and support, and remember to enjoy being a puppy; if the naughty kids pick on you .... well, you're a Beagle, you know how to walk away with your tail high in the air. By the way, which key do you bay in? Aroooooooooooooo.....

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