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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Keep tripawds fit and help them out when necessary.
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On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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24 January 2008 - 11:04 pm
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My people did a few things to help me get used to life on three legs. The best of which was getting me a Ruffwear Harness. This helps them help me up and down stairs. They can also help me get up when I have a hard time, which is usually when I'm lying on my side without a leg ... I can do it. It just takes me a while and I look like a fish flopping around out of water. If they fear I may hurt myself trying to get up, the harness makes it easy for both of us.

The AST Pet Support Harness is another product which might be more helpful for heavy dogs and older tripawds. I tested it and it's great! Just check out the video we made.

Here's another thing my people did to help me get around our house, before we hit the road full time in an RV: They put down carpet runners on all our hardwood floors. This kept me from slipping and sliding as I hopped around.

Most importantly, my people do their best to keep me fit. I certainly don't want to get overweight. It's hard enough getting around on three legs as it is. I eat well, and I still get lots of walks ... just more frequent, shorter walks. With lots of breaks to rest, and lots of water.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

26 January 2008 - 9:46 pm
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Hi Jerry,

This is Azie's Mom - I have to write on his behalf
because he's at Ohio State University Vet Hospital just having had his
rear leg amputated Thursday (osteosarcoma).  Do you have advice to
relate about the first week-home and what we can do to make these early
days less stressful on him? I already have the rugs out over the tiled
floors;  considered a ramp for the 2 steps down off the deck (but
I think the ramp will be worse than the 2 steps due to our lovely
weather in Central Ohio - ice and snow make plywood horribly slippery
and negate the carpet on the ramp) but I did place rubber treads on
each step, and have cleaned and sanitized all their beds.  

most nervous about our other 2 greys and how they may respond - the 3
are a tight pack and I would like advice of other's experiences with
multiple dogs.  

Thanks for your help and advice -


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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27 January 2008 - 2:44 pm
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Regarding the other dogs, my best advice is to be a good pack leader yourself! Preetend like nothing is different when you bring Callie home and the other dogs should do the same. Do not baby, feel sorry for, or coddle Callie. If you do, the other dogs will sense it. We're smart, and always follow the leader.

You are probably right about the ramp. Two steps shouldn't be a problem. Fo the first week or so Callie might just require a little assistance. If you don't get a harness, just loop a towel under his belly and help him down the step. Going up shouldn't be problem. It may take a few attempts to get used to the stairs and the whole potty thing. It did for me, and others have said their new tripawds have had a hard time. If Callie does, offer treats to get him down the steps to go.

Raise his food and water bowls off the ground so he doesn' have to reach so low for them. Take it easy on any rough playing for a while. But once those stitches are healed, go for it!

Kiva's story is a great account of the first days home after amputation surgery.

This post about Genie covers her first days of amputation recovery in detail too.

Hope this helps ... I'll post others as I remember them. Anyone else out there have some tips for Callie?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

27 January 2008 - 7:18 pm
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Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the links and advice - most helpful. Just
fyi, it's Az (NGA name: P's Drop Off, age 10) that is a new Tripawd.
Callie (NGA name: Less Reason, age 4)  is the newly-adopted baby
of the family and GiGi (NGA name: Jams Ginas Guide, age 7)  is the
getting-fatter-by-the moment alpha female (I think she eats under
stress so we're really watching her caloric consumption.) 

<> Dr.
Couto's team at OSU is sending him home when he is ready with a
belly-strap harness. They showed us how it works yesterday on our
visit. I will spend the first few nights with him downstairs,
though,  so he doesn't have to risk the steps first day
home.  He fell up the steps the day before his surgery and totally
lost cofidence in even trying steps and I don't want that to happen
again. The raising of the dishes make a lot of sense.  

<> Just a note of gratitude - I am SO GLAD there is a
web-site for tripawds.  There are so many out there and those of
us that are new to this whole thing are lost without advice from those
who have experiences and real-life advice.  The vets are greyt,
but they are not the nervous parents that have to deal with life around
the house (OK, probably not totally true since I know many of the vet
students at OSU have adopted Tripods. But they have vastly more
experience and medical knowledge to draw upon.)  Sites such as
yours and Circle of Grey have made me much more comfortable with the
post-surgical life of our new 3 legged furry kid.  Thank you and
your forum members for being there!!

Tibbi - aka Az, Gigi and Callie's Mom


Pagosa Springs, CO
Member Since:
30 January 2008
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30 January 2008 - 5:00 pm
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Hi!  I have numerous steps to get in and out of my house.  I had Eisen use a towel looped under him and it was a little akward, but I stayed tight against the side that lost the leg in case he needed the confidence and/or the support to lean on.  We also took it one or two steps at a time, let him rebalance and rest for 10 seconds or so and then repeated the process.  Going pee wasn't too hard for was the #2 that was tough.  (he was shy I think more than anything).  So after a few attempts, I led him to the spot where he usually goes and then left him alone w/o the towel....when the job was done, I put the towel back on as though nothing was different and moved on.  About the 4th day, it was hard for me to get the towel around him before he started down the stairs!  The next step was using the towel on the way down, and he came up by himself.  About a week later, no towel, but I walked beside him and just told him to go slow.    I still remind him to go slow on the icy/snowy steps (we live in Colorado) and he pauses and slows down. 

His doggie girlfriend (60 lbs.  Eisen is approx. 100lbs)  was very respectful with him, but I did oversee like the alpha dog and reminded her if she became rambunctious. She was truly amazing.   You may think of limiting the time with all the dogs together for the first few days and always supervise until you get to the point that everything seems fine. 🙂

Eisen & his Mom

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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30 January 2008 - 10:47 pm
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Thanks for sharing Eisen's story, Singlepaw! You reminded Jim about how I learned -- all by myself -- to lean against the wall and support myself as I hopped down the stairs in my old house!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

7 February 2008 - 9:33 pm
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Jerry can you send me a video of your parents using your harness on you, especially if you have one iwith the whole stair thing. My mommy and daddy are thinking about getting one, but wants to make sure it will be useful, and used alot, thanks!!!! Ruff Ruff

7 February 2008 - 9:52 pm
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Here is the video of him testing the AST Pet Support Suit :

And here's the video of Jerry testing the RuffWear WebMaster Harness:

I'm sure you'll find that either one really really helps!

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