Three Legged Pooches: Tips for Living with a Tri-Paw

When your dog loses a limb, it’s distressing for both of you, but life goes on. Most dogs recover from their ordeal and adjust to their new condition surprisingly quickly. In time, when your dog has adapted to life with three legs, you’ll be amazed at how well he copes, but you’ll still need to make some changes to help him out.

Three legged dogs

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Make It Easy for Your Dog to Get Outside

Negotiating steps with a missing limb is pretty tricky and will take some practice to get right. Eventually, your dog will be able to handle steps again, but in the early days, he’ll appreciate a ramp to help him get in and out of the house.

Deal With Slippery Surfaces

Tri-paws have trouble balancing on smooth floor surfaces like wood and tile, and it’s not unusual for their legs to go out from under them, especially when they try to rush through a room. Put down rugs with a non-slip backing to help your dog stay standing.

Keep Your Dog’s Weight under Control

Three legged dogs can develop arthritis in their joints because of the extra stress placed on their remaining limbs. By keeping your dog at a healthy weight you’ll minimize that joint stress and prolong his mobility.

 Consider a Prosthetic

Not so long ago, the only mobility aids for animals with missing limbs were cumbersome carts, and those were only of use to dogs missing a hind leg,  but new technology has led to some amazing advances in dog mobility. Now you can get a custom-made prosthetic for your dog and give him near-full mobility again.

Keep Nails Trimmed

Long nails affect gait and make walking more difficult, and your tri-paw already has enough problems in that department! Use a guillotine trimmer on smaller dogs and scissor clippers on larger dogs, and don’t trim too close to the blood vessels in the nail.

 Adopt a Faster Walking Pace

This might sound counter-intuitive, but your three-legged friend will find it easier to move around at a quicker pace. When they move slowly they have to almost hop along, but when they pick up some speed their movements become much smoother.

Always Provide Soft Surfaces for Resting

Even when your dog has fully recovered from surgery, pressure from hard surfaces can cause discomfort at the amputation site.  Make sure you’ve got soft dog beds dotted around the house and yard so your dog can lie down comfortably.

Pick Up Some Tri-Paw Gear

There’s some great gear made just for tri-paws. Walking harnesses come with a handle over the back so you can grab hold and give your dog a boost if he falters. Pet steps make it much easier to climb into the car and a set of booties gives your dog a better grip when he takes a walk on slippery winter sidewalks.

Tri-paw dogs can live full and happy lives; all they need is a little help with their surroundings and lots of love and support from you.