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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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Be More DogWhat does it mean to Be More Dog?

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4.5 Month Old Pomchi mix
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Member Since:
8 August 2018
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27 August 2018 - 2:40 pm
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Hello all!

I adopted a puppy this weekend who had his back leg amputated up to the hip after being injured during a rescue attempt. He's adorable and sweet, but extremely shy/quiet/lethargic. He's 8 lbs and the runt of the litter, so we don't expect him to get a whole lot bigger.

He sleeps most of the day, doesn't eat much, doesn't play, is afraid of every noise, and doesn't go on walks very well. (They're more like outdoor sits)

I know he had a wonderful foster family and the adoption center is top-notch. I'm just unsure if his behavior has to do with his injury, anxiety, or if that's just his temperament.

We've only had him for 2 days, so I know he's still adjusting and that can take many days/weeks, I just wanted to know if this behavior does happen to stem from his injury/memories, what do you think is the best way to make him feel comfortable/safe? If it's a combination of trauma, anxiety, and temperament, does that lead to a specific way of interacting with him?

Thank you for your thoughts!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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27 August 2018 - 4:33 pm
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Oh my gosh what a cutie patootie! What did you decide to name him? Thank you for rescuing this wonderful pup!

When did his amputation occur? If it was recent, I'm wondering if he has had adequate pain control? When you say he does "outdoor sits" it kind of makes me think he is hurting from something related to the amputation. 

Do you have other dogs or pets in the house?

As you said, it can take a while for a dog to settle into their new situation. And this doggy has been through some serious trauma, so it will take extra patience and love to bring him out of his shell. But I can tell that you are the kind of great pet parent that can make it happen! 

I would suggest starting with a super helpful training book, here are some by our favorite dog trainers:

Do over Dogs: Give Your Dog a Second Chance for a First Class Life

Adoptees, rescues and dogs that just wandered into your life all need, and deserve, another chance at life. Even if you've had the dog for years and has "issues"--this is your roadmap for success! Learn positive training and management techniques.

Love Has No Age Limit-Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home

Who says you have to get a puppy to create a bond? Adult dogs make excellent pets. Learn exactly what to do from the moment he walks into your home to avoid problems and how to retrain a dog with "issues."

Go slow and while you don't need to treat him like fragile crystal, he has definitely been through a lot so being conscientious about minimizing thinks that cause him anxiety will go a long way.

Also, please consider having him evaluated by a canine rehab therapist. Young Tripawds have extra challenges as they grow, and it will be helpful to have a relationship with a local therapist who can show you how to raise a fit, injury-free pal. And the best part is the Tripawds Foundation may even pay for your first rehab visit ! Click on the link for info and how to find a therapist near you. 

Thanks for joining, we look forward to following along!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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27 August 2018 - 8:01 pm
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I don't get to say this too often, but my rear amp rescue Tripawd is almost twice the size of yours!

Elly was hit by a car when she was 7 months old and lost her right rear leg to the hip as a result.  I adopted Elly when she was 10 months old, she is now 3.5 years old and weighs a whopping 15 lbs big-grin

So- same questions as Jerry- how long since surgery?  Were there any other injuries?

I see from your profile that his name is Gizmo.

In addition to the car accident I was Elly's fourth home at 10 months old and she came to me with lots of issues. First while she was healed from her surgery she was not very strong.  She was afraid of every car that passed us on walks as well as traffic noise from several blocks away.  She also had mild to moderate separation anxiety at home which later became severe in association with being left in my truck. She was also afraid of pretty much everything that moved and some things that didn't move!

I highly recommend some puppy training classes and then maybe some other types of classes. It will build his confidence and will help you bond with him.  I have taken a ton of classes with Elly, everything from basic obedience, to a class for fearful dogs, to the ongoing classes we take for Nose Work.  The skills I learned in the classes helped me teach Elly tricks and behaviors which allowed her to overcome many of her issues, although it is still a work in process.  As an example Elly was afraid to put her head into anything, wouldn't even walk under a kitchen chair.  Now she will crawl under the bed to get her toy!

You might also want to look into seeing a rehab vet- Tripawds might even pay for your first visit!  You want to get him on a good, safe program to build his strength and endurance while being aware of how young he is and that his bones may still be growing. 

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

Member Since:
8 August 2018
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28 August 2018 - 8:50 am
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Thank you for your responses! We will be sure to read the books and start taking classes as soon as all 3 of us are ready 🙂

Gizmo was rescued and was missing part of his foot after being retrieved. I'm not sure if he lost it by accident or if he was born that way. (I'm leaning towards accident) His leg was amputated up to the hip about 3 weeks ago to avoid complications as he grows. (He was also neutered during this surgery) He had the sutures removed about a week ago and is currently receiving eardrops for otitis, poor guy can't catch a break.

I don't think he's still in pain from the surgery still, but touching the area of the operation does cause him to react.

We don't have any other pets in the house.

We'll have an introductory meeting with our likely vet this afternoon, so we can voice our concerns there as well and update with any more news as it becomes available.

Thank you!

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