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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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New Car Suggestions for ease w/tripod?
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Fort Lauderdale, FL
Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
18 March 2009
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18 March 2009 - 2:20 pm
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I've a Mazda CX-7 SUV since I fostered then adopted my tripod, “Roo”, who's now a 70 pound 2-year old certified therapy dog.  He's never been able to negotiate his way into a the floor of a backseat on any vehicle, and of course couldn't jump into the back of the SUV (he's missing his back leg and has severe bowing of his remaining back leg, hip displasia and arthritis in his hip from losing his leg via a car accident at just 2 months old).  Unfortunately, I was recently diagnosed w/disc problems in my lower back and am told “no bending, twisting or lifting”, which leaves us in a dilemma and unable to transport Roo to his weekly therapy dog visits to our local children's hospital and ALF.

When he was a baby, we trained him to use a ramp, however it would never stay in place, shifting, sliding from the bottom, then one day collapsing w/him on it.  He's a smart boy, so there's no way he's getting on that thing again! (even though we tried to rig it by drilling holes in it and securing it w/bungee cords to the vehicle).  We purchased and tried a variety of portable steps, all of which toppled repeatedly when my awkward tripod used them, so they've been returned to the stores.

SO, we were wondering if anybody else has a back-limb amputee who's able to easily get in/out of their vehicle, so we can get a different car.  We're considering the Chevy HHR or mini-van, but really have no idea.

Vehicle suggestions, anyone?  Roo really misses his therapy visits, and we know the patients and their families miss 'the 3-legged therapy dog'.  Superstar


Forum Posts: 2013
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22 August 2008
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18 March 2009 - 2:41 pm
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We bought a used minivan specifically for our dogs 3 years ago and Tazzie is still able to hop in by herself or with the RuffWear harness (she weighs 190# and is missing her RF leg).  We took all of the back seats out and Tazzie enters and exits via the side door. I would think it  would be easier for a hind leg amputee but I could be wrong!

Pam and Tazzie

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28326
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18 March 2009 - 3:26 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds! Thanks so much for joining us here, we're hoppy to have you and hope to hear more about Roo and his aweseom therapy dog visits. Very cool.

Yeah, cars can be tricky, and you have your work cut out for you. Even with a Ruffwear harness like the kind that I had, it's still a challenge to get a Tripawd into a vehicle that's high up off the ground.

Honda Element good for three legged dogs

What about a Honda Element? They're really low to the ground, and the way the doors open up is really cool, makes it really wide for dogs and humans to get in and out. My Aunt, who is elderly and has a hard time getting around, does pretty good getting into it. I'll bet that this might work for you and Roo.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Livermore CA
Forum Posts: 684
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19 March 2009 - 1:08 am
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Can he get up any kind of step?  My Cemil is missing his LF leg; I made for him a sort of mini-deck which is like a large flat box, 30×36 and 10″ high.  He can get up on it, and then up again into the back of my truck.  The deck is small enough to fit in the back of the truck so I carry it around with me and use as needed.  It works a lot better than a ramp because it's level–you just set it on the ground.

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

Forum Posts: 132
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11 February 2009
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19 March 2009 - 5:39 pm
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Welcome!

You know those bumper stickers that read “My Second Car is a Porsche” and so on? My second car has been an unstylish minivan with the back seats taken out, for quite some time. Just for the dogs! In fact it's referred to as the Dogmobile. I have an old-ish Toyota Sienna van, which has sliding doors on both sides, making it very easy for the dogs…I like the suggestion of a box to step up on, and ramps are available online. My Rottweiler is 5 weeks post-losing his left front leg and by the two week mark was easily able to get into the van…easier via the side door, it's lower.

In shopping for vans (this is my second dog-mobile van) one of my criteria was rear A/C vents. Don't know about Roo, but I have Rottweilers, they are not a heat-tolerant breed and since I do agility and stuff, decided that keeping them as cool as possible on rides was mandatory.

PS I covet a Honda Element in the worst way, but it was out of my price range…they are really, really neat vehicles.

Fort Lauderdale, FL
Forum Posts: 4
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18 March 2009
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25 March 2009 - 5:51 pm
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Thanks to everyone's suggestions so far.  My dog walker suggested the HHR, so we'll see if Roo can get in/out of it, and my physical therapist suggested the Element, as one of the posters did.  I've always avoided 'mommy vans', but guess it's time to consider it!  I don't think I could try the idea of the box/'deck'; if made out of plywood, I'm sure it's weight would exceed my doctor's “no lifting” rule. And we won't consider another ramp, due to the 'collapsing', sliding, tipping experiences with others so far.  These tripods' gaits 'rock' things like that too easily.

My current SUV lease isn't up for 6 months, so I welcome posts/ideas until then!

Thanks again!

“Roo's mom”

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28326
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18 April 2009 - 11:00 am
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This just out: Honda's Element now has special pet-friendly features. Cool! Check it out:

Dog-friendly Honda Element Concept Transforms SUV into Pet-hauling Champ

Pet friendly Honda ElementImage Enlarger

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 10
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19 April 2009 - 8:19 am
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My new 3 leg dog (4/1/09)… a 5 yr old and 79lb golden retriever with his right front leg removed was able to jump into my Jeep Grand Cherokee from the side or back door 1 week after surgery.  I still help him out because I don't want him to have to put a high impact on his only front paw when jumping out.

Your dog may amaze you! 🙂

Shireen & Samwise "I Love my Dog!"
Front right leg amputated 4/1/09 (Canine Osteosarcoma)

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Forum Posts: 3754
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28 November 2008
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19 April 2009 - 3:28 pm
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Samwise MOM said:

My new 3 leg dog (4/1/09)… a 5 yr old and 79lb golden retriever with his right front leg removed was able to jump into my Jeep Grand Cherokee from the side or back door 1 week after surgery.  I still help him out because I don't want him to have to put a high impact on his only front paw when jumping out.

Your dog may amaze you! :)


This is true for us as well.  Trouble also is a RF amputee and was 69 lb's at the time of her surgery.  Within 2 weeks she was able to jump into the back of our Hyundai Tuscon.  Five months later, we still help her out for the same reason, to avoid injury.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

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