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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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Tripawd Puppy- anyone with any experience with this?
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Member Since:
20 October 2016
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20 October 2016 - 4:00 pm
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Hi. My husband and I recently adopted a 4 month old puppy, Piper. She is a front-leg tripawd, losing her leg at 3 months to an injury due to neglect by her previous owner. We've had Piper for about a week now. She has adapted wonderfully, already using the stairs and doggie door. She is part of a pack, so she has several playmates.

Does anyone have any experience with puppy tripawds? We are wondering how this might change her body/growth. For instance, we are already noticing her foot turning in... We've already been warned to keep her weight low, but right now she's a growing girl! Are there issues that we need to look out for as she grows, or throughout her life? 

Thank you for this wonderful resource! We love our new baby! 

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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20 October 2016 - 4:26 pm
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Hi and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

Congratulations on adding Piper to your pack!

Piper looks like a cutie- what kind of pup?  How big will she get?

I adopted my current Tripawd Elly when she was 10 months old.  She lost her right rear leg at 7 months after being hit by a car.  Elly is a small pug mix weighing about 15 or 16 lbs.

You are right to be vigilant about her activity levels. Not only duration but type of play should be monitored.  Puppies growth plates don't close until around 18 months so you want to be cognizant of that. 

Core strength is really important for Tripawds and the good news is that working on their core wears them out without too much stress on the joints or bones.  I work with Elly every day on her strength and balance through food puzzles and games, balance exercises and obedience practice.

Traction is also very important for tripawds, especially new tripawds and clumsy puppies.  Be sure any slippery floors in your house have throw rugs for Piper.  Yoga mats work well also.

As far as the foot turning in- can you post a picture.  Front amp tripawd's front leg naturally takes up a more central position under their chest. 

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:
20 October 2016
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20 October 2016 - 4:40 pm
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Thanks for responding!  We aren't really sure how big Piper will get. She's about 16 pounds now. She has big paws, but we have reasons to think that she's not going to get very big... she was extremely sick when she was surrendered with her crushed leg, she was near death and not eating. It's possible that her early trauma and illness might have stunted her growth a bit.

I don't have a picture of the paw, and she's sound asleep!

Can you direct me to a resource for core strengthening? What puzzle toys are you using for her? We've started basic obedience, and she's is doing great at that, but all this girl wants to do is jump & run everywhere! What type of play needs to be limited for her? She's a wild child!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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20 October 2016 - 4:59 pm
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cyndoug said
Can you direct me to a resource for core strengthening?

Loving Life On Three Legs is the best single resource. This e-book is filled with direct links to out most helpful articles, videos and podcasts in addition to plenty of original content with professional tips from rehab specialists and veterinarians we have interviewed.

Otherwise, you will find lots of helpful tips in the Tripawds News blog and Gear blog by searching for rehab and related terms. Check out the Resources page and Jerry's Required Reading List too.

Use the Advanced Search above to refine your search results with specific phrases here in the forums, and you're sure to find more helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here .

Here are just a few links to get you started...

Why Core Strength Matters for Tripawd Dogs

Why Longer Walks Won’t Strengthen a Tripawd’s Leg Muscles

Vet Expert Dr. Mike Petty Shares Tripawd Rehab Care Tips

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
27 July 2014
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20 October 2016 - 8:32 pm
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What a sweet looking pup. I wanted to mention that my cat Mona was walking with her her paw turned inward after her amputation. She did it for about a month until I took her to a vet chiropractor then her paw went to the regular placement. I continued to give her massages that the vet showed me and her paw never turned in again.

Rehab and chiropractic treatment can help your Piper. You and your husband are treasures for welcoming Piper into your family.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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20 October 2016 - 9:18 pm
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Hi again.

Admin guy gave you some good links.  I should also have given you this link to Elly's Blog.

There are pictures of a couple of the food puzzles we have as well as some pictures and a video from the Strength, Balance and Body Awareness classes we have taken.  I have a couple FitPaws and a balance disc at home.

We are using this food toy almost every day now for her breakfast.  I don't have any pictures of her playing with it yet.  You can adjust the opening to slow down the food dispensing.  I put a ball inside to further slow the food.

We had a brief introduction to Nose Work a couple weeks ago and I really want to take a full class with Elly.  We are playing around at home with one of the scents that is used in the sport of Nose Work as well as finding hidden treats.  She LOVES looking for the hidden treats.  I have her sit in another room and hide one treat in a small cup somewhere.  She is really good at it and really keeps at it until she finds the treat.  And it really wears her out!  Engaging minds is really a good way to tire out a puppy! 

Be sure to account for all the training treats against her total daily calories.


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

Norene, TN
Member Since:
21 October 2014
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21 October 2016 - 9:39 am
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Oh my gosh she's adorable!!!

Bless you for adopting this sweet, sweet special girl. I've got a sneaky suspicion that she's going to turn your heart upside-down!


Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

Member Since:
12 March 2013
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21 October 2016 - 10:17 am
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The one who comes to my mind is Leo the Trio and his Mum, Dawn. The search engine usually baffles me, but I am sure that someone can post a link. Leo also has a Facebook page.

Kathi and the Turbotail April angel...and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

United Kingdom
Member Since:
28 December 2015
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21 October 2016 - 11:53 am
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I am Dawn and I have the famous Leo lol. 

If I can help in anyway please shout me. 

Leo had his leg amputated at 3 days old and so has grown up with 3 legs from day one. We have had bad days and good days but mainly good days now 😊 xx 

Proud Mummy to Leo the Trio 

United Kingdom
Member Since:
28 December 2015
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21 October 2016 - 11:56 am
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Leo has his own Facebook page as well as blog on here with his adventures from the very start all the way up 😊 

congratulations on your new baby they are amazing 😉❤️️

Proud Mummy to Leo the Trio 

Member Since:
20 October 2016
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21 October 2016 - 12:47 pm
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Thank you for everyone's responses. I have downloaded the ebook, and am looking at a few core-strengthening toys to get. Our vet has a rehab facility, so we are in good hands, I think.  I'm dealing with a lot with this little girl right now, she was just spayed a week ago, and she came to us underweight, with hookworm, conjunctivitis, and a yeast infection in her ears... and she wants nothing more than to wrestle with her pack and run around the yard. We are pretty sure that she has pretty much gone her whole life walking on 3 legs, so even though her amputation was just a month ago, she doesn't seem to know anything is missing. 

Piper has a Facebook page too, The Amazing Piper Grace. I'm also in the process of getting a blog started at People have had a very strong reaction to her, and have asked to see more of her and want to hear her story. 

I can't wait to read about Leo!

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