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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11 June 2020
My Patrick is 9 years old. He is missing his left front leg due to abuse as a puppy. Having 3 legs is all he’s ever known. I notice now that he has been slowing down and stopping off and on during our walks. I’m concerned that I’m pushing him too hard. Our walks are mostly 1 mile, but sometime we go about 2 miles. He weighs approximately 22 lbs. Can anyone chime in from experience what is an appropriate distance, given his age, that is reasonable. I recently bought him a stroller so I can get him out without stressing his body so much, but then I worry that he won’t be getting enough exercise. Thoughts?
25 April 2007
Hi Patrick and family, welcome! We are so glad you joined us and ask such a terrific question.
You are smart to be concerned. Sitting down on walks is a sign that a dog has overdone it. Nine years on three legs eventually takes a toll, especially on a front-leg amputee but that doesn’t mean Patrick still can’t have fun. I love that you bought a dog stroller , that is a great start! As long as Patrick is allowed to sniff around on pit-stops and walk for a few minutes at a time, that’s a great way to keep him active. We are in the exact situation with our 11 year old German Shepherd Wyatt Ray , and that is the same advice his canine rehab therapist gave to us when we told her we wanted a stroller for him, since his walks have gotten shorter as well. Sniff, ride, sniff, ride, that’s our routine. But, about the walks…
It’s hard to answer this question though:
Can anyone chime in from experience what is an appropriate distance, given his age, that is reasonable
The reason is because every dog is different. With a Tripawd it’s not so much about distance and age, but length of time of the walk and the frequency of the walks. For example, rehab therapists tell us that a fit Tripawd should walk no more than 15 minutes tops, and doing that 3 times a day instead of taking one long walk is best. But that advice will change from dog to dog, age to age. Either way, it sounds like Patrick is doing too much walking right now for his age, but cutting out all activity probably isn’t the answer. I’ll tell you what is…
Has Patrick ever been evaluated by a canine rehab therapist? If not, now is the time. He is telling you that something hurts when he walks now, and even shortening his walks may not solve the pain problem. Get him evaluated so that you can learn what his challenges are, and how you can help him get and stay strong. He’s got a lotta years left ahead so please get him into therapy, and the best part is the Tripawds Foundation may pay for your first rehab visit ! We can help you find a clinic if your vet doesn’t know of any near you, so let us know how we can help with that OK?