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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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Totem 3 months post surgery
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30 September 2020 - 4:42 pm
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Totem is doing great.  He is 6 months old.  My question is about what I should allow him to do.  He can easily walk 1 mile on leash.  I let him run free on our property for about 15 minutes, which he loves, but stop him after that.

I’ve read here that a tripod really should not walk more than 15-20 minutes at a time.  Is that meant for his entire life?  Since he is an energetic puppy should he still be restricted to a mile at a time?  The route I walk every morning by myself is 1-1/2 miles…will he never be able to walk it with me?  I know he is able–but should I restrict his activity?

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30 September 2020 - 9:30 pm
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Robyn said
I’ve read here that a tripod really should not walk more than 15-20 minutes at a time.  Is that meant for his entire life?  Since he is an energetic puppy should he still be restricted to a mile at a time?  The route I walk every morning by myself is 1-1/2 miles…will he never be able to walk it with me?  I know he is able–but should I restrict his activity?

Robyn, you are really doing a great job keeping tabs on his activity. So, what we have been told by therapists is that in a perfect world, a Tripawd should take shorter, more frequent walks throughout the day. Each one should be approximate 15-20 minutes, max. Ideally, yes, for his entire life. As we say around here though, every dog is different. These are general guidelines. 

Here’s what we have learned with our Wyatt Ray . He could do anything and everything when he was younger. We were conservative with his activity level but we didn’t always curtail it the way we should have. He’s a dog, after all, and we always want to make sure he is living the best of a dog’s life. Sometimes his walks have been longer, sometimes shorter. We try to balance everything out over the course of, say, a week at a time. And now at 11 years old, I’m glad we didn’t let him go all out, all the time, throughout his life. His therapists say that for a dog who’s been on 3 for most of his life, he’s not in terrible shape.

If you want Totem to be able to go on those longer walks, that’s totally fine. But in order for him to do that throughout his life, you’ll need to engage in other activity besides walking in order to keep his stamina up. Long walks do not strengthen. Focusing on core-building activities does. Balance work, coordination games and other fitness fun all adds up to a Tripawd dog with the ability to have a rich, full and active life. 

Our Tripawds Gear blog has lots of tips about core-strengthening and other activities.

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1 October 2020 - 10:37 am
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Hi Robyn!  While Totem probably should not walk the full 1.5 miles with you each day, you could consider buying a wagon/stroller so that he can accompany you, walking some of the time and riding the rest of the time.  That’s what I do with Griffin.  Our morning walk is a 2 miles long and he walks for about a mile and rides for the rest of the time.  Sometimes he walks 1 mile all at one stretch and other times he swaps walking/riding multiple times.  Griffin is 10.5 years old and became a tripawd 6 months ago.  I probably let him do more than he should because he is already a senior dog and won’t be navigating life as a Tripawd for as long as a pup like Totem will.  I’m glad to hear that Totem is doing well! ~Stacy

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1 October 2020 - 11:58 am
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Spot-on advice Stacy! Thanks for sharing.

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