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Nutrition Tips for Tripawd Dogs and Cats

These essential Tripawd nutrition tips for dogs and cats will get you started on a healthy lifestyle for your three-legged hero. Be sure to also visit the Tripawds Featured Blogs for more fitness, cancer care and health tips, or download Tripawds e-books for our best ideas from veterinarians and the community.

Tripawds Founder Three legged Amputee Dog Jerry
Three Legged GSD Wyatt Exercise on FitBone
Steve The Pretty Tripawd Kitty

One of the greatest responsibilities of having a Tripawd is understanding the best ways to keep your three-legged hero healthy for life. They count on us to make smart decisions about what to eat to stay fit, getting enough exercise to avoid injury and knowing when it’s time to see your vet. We hope these ideas help you on a path to wellness for you and your Tripawd.

Index of Nutrition Tips for Tripawd Dogs and Cats 

Get Tripawds E-books for fast help!First, visit the Tripawds Nutrition Blog for our most current nutrition tips for Tripawd dogs and cats.

Scroll down for essential tips and advice about:

DISCLAIMER: This information is for your information only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian. Please consult with your veterinary team about any dietary changes or an exercise regimen for your pet.

K9 Immunity plus Canine Cancer immunity Supplement

Diet & Supplements

Chop veggies fine for raw dog food diet.If you’re a new Tripawd parent because of cancer, never fear. The right types of food can help your dog or cat maintain a great quality of life. For Tripawds without cancer, eating healthy is still smart.

Whatever diet you decide is best for your Tripawd, stick with it and keep it simple. Always talk to your vet first, then slowly introduce new diet changes. Perhaps try three of your vet’s most recommended supplements that won’t interfere with cancer treatment. For example, when our Jerry was fighting cancer, we didn’t shake up his diet too much. He ate foods loosely based The Budwig Diet and helpful holistic tips we found on Shirley’s Wellness Cafe.

For a complete description of Jerry’s diet while he battled osteosarcoma, read about his canine cancer diet and supplements, or check out this Discussion Forum topic. Also, if you have a dog, don’t miss Dr. Dressler’s free canine cancer diet e-book, or download his Dog Cancer Survival Kit for the latest breakthroughs in canine cancer care.

For kitties, be sure to check out our e-book, Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats, which has tons of helpful diet tips members have shared.

Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats book


Download Tripawds e-books for fast answers about amputation recovery and care!

Pain Management

UPDATE: View Most Recent Pain Management Posts.

A human amputee patient would never be released from the hospital without adequate pain relief and neither should your Tripawd!

There are many affordable ways to manage before and after amputation surgery. Always request pain medication for your Tripawd before, during and after surgery. If your vet refuses or only provides a non-steroidal drug like Meloxicam, you need a new vet who’s aware of the latest pain management guidelines for dogs and cats.

These search results in the Tripawds Downloads Blog feature tips about pain management in cats and dogs. And this set of search results in the Tripawds Nutrition Blog shows more ways to help with post-amputation pain relief.

For a complete list of currently available pain medications for dog and cat amputees, see the Tripawds e-book, Three Legs & a Spare. or our Tripawd cats book, Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats. Meanwhile here are some of the most popular pain-relief medications Tripawds receive are:


A Fentanyl patch is one of the stronger medications available for pre and post-amputation cats and dogs. It provides a continuous dose of pain medication to dogs after surgery. Fentanyl is a narcotic, similar to opium and morphine. Heat will increase the side effects, please don’t let your pet lay next to a heat source when wearing a Fentanyl patch. This patch can be fatal if swallowed.


The brand name of Tramadol is “Ultram.” This is a non-addictive, non-sedating pain reliever that can be used in conjunction with NSAID medications. Recent studies show Tramadol doesn’t work as effectively as once believed, but may still be somewhat effective when used with other pain medications. It is also safe for dogs with kidney and liver issues. The most commonly reported side effect of Tramadol is heavy panting. Other side effects considered rare can include upset stomach, pupil constriction, decreased heart rate (usually not a life-threatening problem), constipation, sedation and bizarre behavior.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Certain over-the-counter pain relievers are also known as NSAIDs. This group of drugs includes aspirin (plain and buffered), naproxen, phenylbutazone, and ibuprofen (Advil™ & Nuprin™). DO NOT give your pet human non-steroidal medications. There is some controversy about the use of NSAIDs for dogs so understand the risks and know how to look for signs that your dog isn’t taking the drug well. Please see this topic discussing breed specific NSAID reactions, or search the Tripawds Disscussion Forums for more NSAID precautions.

When to Use Heat and Ice Treatments

After amputation surgery, heat and ice therapy can alleviate post-op bruising and work excess fluid out of the incision area, reduce swelling and bruising. For hip and joint problems, heat helps blood circulate to soothe sore areas. Indications for use of hot and cold therapy to treat pain should be the same as in sports medicine:

  • If this is an acute injury (within first 6 weeks) use ice.
  • If there is swelling and pain use ice.
  • If there is no swelling, but stiffness is present use heat.
  • When in doubt, use ice.

Helpful Harnesses

NOTE: For temporary assistance, cut a reusable canvas shopping bag down the sides to create a handy sling with handles to support your dog when necessary. Find this and many more recovery and care tips in the Tripawds Library!

Visit the Tripawds Gear shop for more assistive devices and canine conditioning equipment!

ruffwear harnessA Ruffwear Webmaster Harness or pawesome new Flagline Harness helps you help your three-legged dog! With this harness, you can assist your Tripawd going up and down stairs, and getting in and out of vehicles. It is also helpful for assisting Tripawds to get up when they’re tired. 

The Tripawd Convert Harness by EzyDog is a great walking harness for three-legged dogs that allows you to provide additional assistance as needed.

The AST Pet Support Suit is another excellent harness. It’s custom made to your dog’s measurements and provides full body support for dogs with more serious mobility issues. This harness is durable and especially useful for giant breed dogs.

View our complete selection of harnesses, dog boots, life jackets and other helpful products in the Tripawds Gear blog.

Surgery Wound Protection

To protect the incision site on new amputee cats and dogs, use an old t-shirt or baby onesie to cover the area. The VetMedWear Amputee Recovery Suit is also a terrific idea. Learn more about amputation wound care for cats and dogs after surgery.

Find more cone of shame alternatives in the Tripawds Gear blog!

Exercise & Fitness Tips

Repeat this 10 times: Longer Walks Won’t Strengthen My Tripawd’s Legs! The key to helping your Tripawd build strength and endurance is to work on activities that build strong core (abdominal muscles). Keeping your Tripawd’s weight down is the best thing you can do.

Download Tripawds e-books for fast answers about amputation recovery and care!

If your dog or cat is overweight, we urge you to work on slimming down. Visit the Tripawds Nutrition Blog and the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s Website to find out how.

Once your Tripawd recovers from the surgery don’t hesitate to get back into the routine of daily walks and exercise. Just consider the following to make the most of your time together.

  • Take shorter more frequent walks. Start with just a few blocks at first.
  • It’s easier for Tripawds to hop along at a quicker pace than it is to walk slowly.
  • Watch for signs of exertion and always allow plenty of time for recuperation and rest.
  • Carry water with you on walks and something to drink from.
  • Raise your Tripawd’s food and water bowls to make them easier to reach.
  • For dogs, consider the Ruff Wear Web Master or Flagline Harness to assist with stairs and getting up.
  • Make or purchase a good bed with lots of support, like these orthopedic beds.
  • Place runners throughout homes with hardwood floors.
  • Remember: dogs carry 60% of their weight on the front legs (especially important to consider when exercising front-legged Tripawds).
  • Work on building strong core muscles to stay injury-free and build stamina.

Download Tripawds e-books and search our Discussion Forums for more information about Fitness and Mobility issues.

Tripawd Health Videos

Movies in this playlist include interviews with veterinarians and oncologists, massage techniques, and much more. Click the menu icon to see available movies, or view all Tripawds playlists for more informative and fun three legged dog and cat videos.


Helpful E-book and Video Downloads

Visit the Tripawds Downloads blog for more helpful e-books, videos, and podcasts!

The following pet health e-books and video resources are available for immediate download from independent online content publishers:

Further Reading: Cat and Dog Cancer Diet & Health

Visit the Tripawds Nutrition blog for the most current diet and supplement reviews and recommendations. Visit the Tripawds Amazon blog for many more helpful pet health book reviews. Search all Tripawds Blogs here.

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