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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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Labrador on day two of front leg amputation
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Member Since:
9 November 2022
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1 December 2022 - 5:56 am
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My Labrador, Bo, just underwent amputation on Tuesday, Nov. 29th.   My vet gave me no direction on how to prep my vehicle to bring him home and I ended up have no to lift my 78lb. boy out of the backseat of my car alone.    It has been a rough night but he is walking a little this morning.  I have been very worried about his stitches, do Miz dogs do well with the stitches during the healing phase?  The incision is huge.  I am going to order the Flagline harness and have questions about getting the right fit.  Also, will the harness allow me to give him extra support while he learns to walk on three legs?

I appreciate any help you can give since this is a scary time and I just want to do the right thing to help Bo heal quickly and with minimal pain.


New England
Member Since:
11 January 2022
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1 December 2022 - 7:06 am
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Yes, you can use the handle on the Flagline harness to provide support while walking.  RuffWear is offering discontinued colors at a discount right now: https://ruffwea.....gline-3055

As far as fit goes, RuffWear harnesses are very adjustable.  I would order based off of the measurement around the widest part of your dog's chest.  As long as you account for the biggest measurement, everything else can be snugged down to fit.

Member Since:
22 January 2013
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1 December 2022 - 9:05 am
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I know it's a lot to take in when your pup first get amputated. Your pup's stitches should heal well as long as you can keep Bo fairly calm. I found a harness essential in giving my girl extra support. The handle is great for that. You and Bo will get through this. 

Here and Now

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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1 December 2022 - 10:09 am
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mischief said
RuffWear is offering discontinued colors at a discount right now...

If anyone wishes to support this community and finds a discontinued Ruffwear harness they prefer, please contact us through the Tripawds Gear blog with your desired model, size, and color.

Member Since:
9 November 2022
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3 December 2022 - 3:24 pm
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Thank you everyone!  I appreciate the help.  I found the Ruffwear harness locally at REI.  I haven’t fitted it yet.  I am a little nervous about putting it on with the new stitches.

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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3 December 2022 - 4:02 pm
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You might check with your vet about using the harness now.  Some say not to, some say it's OK.  I've seen people here use a tee shirt under the harness to protect the stitches in situations where they absolutely needed to use it right away.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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:
9 November 2022
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3 December 2022 - 4:11 pm
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My vet said it was ok.  I will try the t shirt.  Thanks!

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