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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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Need advice on overactive tripawd
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
11 November 2018
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8 March 2019 - 4:40 pm
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Hey guys, so I have a tripawd who just turned one. He officially lost his leg at about 7 months but broke it the first time at 9weeks. He’s used to being a tripawd. Recently we can’t seem to stop having issues with his paw pads. He’s an Australian Shepherd and extremely active. Maybe I just started to notice or maybe something happened to rip them the first time. But every time he runs he tears his paw pads and the pad about the paw up, they bleed and scab but luckily don’t seem to bother him too much. I put on creams regularly and given antibiotics but it’s impossible, they just get re-opened the next time we do anything. And we have to do something daily otherwise he gets bored and destructive. We do dog parks or the dog beach and it doesn’t matter if we go to one in grass, sand or wood chips they get torn up and bloody. We walk, but that’s never enough for him. He’s crazy energetic. I do dog puzzles and training to help wear him out but it doesn’t last long. the only thing that really works is swimming (the pool area flooring tears up his paws) or running him at the dog park/beach. I can’t run due to a knee injury otherwise I’d run him. How do I stop this from happening if he desperately needs to exercise. I’ve tried shoes and although they help with the paw pads they don’t help with the little section above the paw. That part gets it the worst. And the shoes are a pain to put on and half the time he finds ways to take them off. I’m worried he’ll get infections or they will get so bad he’ll be in pain! Help!!!! Is this normal for tripawds, it’s every paw and his pad parts just above the paw. 

The Rainbow Bridge

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8 March 2019 - 5:19 pm
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Hi Emily and pup, welcome! What’s your wild boy’s name? He sounds like a riot! And you sound like a super conscientious momma for asking these questions. I’ll try to help.

First I love that you are investigating things like brain games and other alternatives to free running. Continue doing that, they really do add up.

What you are describing is definitely a problem, and no boots or sprays or balms are going to make it go away. The good news is that you can find gentler activities that are easier on his body. They do exist, I promise.

You are aiming for things that work his brain, instead of his body. Working a dog’s brain is just as effective at burning off energy, if you find the activities that rock his world. Even for his breed!

As an Aussie, you probably already know that he needs constant engagement with you. How often do you do activities with him? Your goal is to aim for shorter, but more frequent games and exercise throughout the day. This is far more beneficial than one long play session after work or “weekend warrior” play sessions.

Many people find that learning how to excel in scent work is exactly what their Tripawd needs. It’s a gentle but super challenging mental activity that is perfect for a dog like yours. There are many chapters throughout the world, and joining one may be exactly what you and your pup need. Check out Tripuggle Elly’s blog for some ideas:


Other games like Rally-O and obedience trials are also helpful ways to tire out an active Tripawd. Maggie was a champion in these games, check out her blog. Here’s one post from an award-winning weekend:


Something that stands out in my mind is that you mention his carpal pads are affected as well. I’m no rehab therapist, but this indicates to me that your dog’s front wrists are taking a beating from too much activity if the pads are affected too. That is a warning sign to me that he needs a lot less physical activity.

Another great way to find out exactly what your dog needs is to visit a canine rehabilitation therapist. These experts can assess your dog for their strengths and weaknesses, and show you what is appropriate and not appropriate activity for the long term good of your pup. We believe it makes such a difference that the Tripawds Foundation will even pay for your first rehab visit if you follow our guidelines. So please click on the link and then make an appointment with one asap OK?

Hope this gets your mind going in some directions that can help your dog live to a long, happy, injury and pain-free life! Can’t wait to hear more! 

P.S. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away.

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Livermore, CA

Forum Posts: 3695
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8 March 2019 - 10:20 pm
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Hello and welcome.

Did your boy lose a front or back leg?

The Elly Jerry posted about above is my current Tripawd.  Elly lost her right rear leg at 7 months old after being hit by a car, I adopted her at 10 months old, she is now just over 4 years old.

On a side note Jerry- remember Elly is now the PugMutt, not Puggle big-grin

I highly recommend scent games- it is crazy how the combination of engaging their minds for searching, and the constant sniffing tires them out!  You don’t have to do something official like Nose Work either (although I would encourage it) you can play games at home to engage him.  One of Elly’s favorite games is what I call ‘search’.  I have her sit in one room while I hid a few treats in another room, then I call her and tell her to ‘search’.  This game was also instrumental in getting her over some of her fears like going under chairs or into smallish spaces.  And you can do more than just hide treats, you can make a puzzle to figure out like putting the treat in the middle of a bunch of obstacles so there is only one way in, or having to move one or two things to get to the treat.

Elly had a very invasive dental surgery last month which resulted in her losing several teeth and her having 7 sutures in her mouth! As a result she wasn’t allowed to play with any of her toys or food puzzles for two weeks.  We also had to limit exertion like walks and our strength and balance exercises.  We pretty much got through those two weeks with ‘search’.

I wonder about his gait too- my experience with two rear amp Tripawds (although not quite as active as an Aussie) is that while there may be the occasional sore on the foot they didn’t tear up their pads, especially not the ones above the paw.  Are his nails kept short? When nails are too long the dog may not stand up on their paws properly, causing that pad above the paw to scrape on the ground. It may not be a nail issue but it could be the way he learned to walk since he has been on three or dealing with a broken leg for so long, or weakness in one or more legs that causes a weird gait. More good reasons to see a rehab specialist.

What is his name?

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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