3 Legged Dog Care, Tripod Dog Care

A tripod dog is a dog with three legs. The loss of a leg can be due to many reasons including cancer, leg trauma (car accident), or congenital deformities (born with a deformity).

I am privileged to share my life with a three legged Siberian Husky, called Shania. She had a congenital deformity called radial head luxation, i.e., the bones on her left front leg were misaligned, and she was unable to put weight on it. This condition is rare, especially for a Siberian Husky, and the cause for it is unclear.

We speculate that it may have been from birth trauma, since she was a c-section puppy. We had hoped to correct the problem with orthopedic surgery, but unfortunately, there was too much cartilage damage in the joint, and the surgeon recommended amputation.

It was a shock when she came home with three legs, and a BIG bandage around her torso. However, Shania recovered quickly from the surgery and is now a happy, bouncy, and somewhat spoiled member of the family.

Here are some things to look out for when living with a three legged dog –

1. Keep a tripod dog slim.

The most common health issue with three legged dogs is that they may develop arthritis earlier than other dogs. Because they are missing a leg, more stress is placed on their remaining joints, and there is more wear and tear. Therefore, it is very important to keep them slim, so that they do not have to deal with additional joint stresses from excess weight.

Feed a three legged dog a healthy and balanced diet, but do not overfeed her.

2. Keep our dog’s foot-pads clean and healthy.

Proper foot care is very important for a three legged dog.

They may develop cracked foot-pads because of the additional weight placed upon each paw. I now apply DermaPaw cream to Shania’s footpads to help keep them protected.

Previously I was using Tuf-Foot by Bonaseptic, but I find that the DermaPaw cream brings better results, is easier to apply, and stays on for much longer than Tuf-Foot. However, Shania will often try to lick the cream up, so I apply it right before she takes a nap (e.g. when we come home from our walk), and I supervise until she settles down.

I also keep Shania’s nails short, and trim the fur at the bottom of her feet. This allows her to walk comfortably, and without slipping.

3. Watch out for Elbow Hygroma.

An Elbow Hygroma is a fluid-filled swelling around the dog’s elbow. It occurs, when the elbow bone causes trauma to the soft tissue around it. This usually happens in younger dogs who are constantly lying down, or falling down on a hard surface. It may also happen when a dog leans, or consistently places too much weight on one elbow.

As a dog matures, a callus will form to protect the elbow and prevent this condition. Dog beds may help, but some dogs prefer to sleep on cooler, hard surfaces.

Young three legged dogs are especially susceptible to elbow hygroma, because their elbow calluses have yet to form, and their activity level is high. Shania developed this condition when she was less than a year old. However, the swelling was small, and our vet advised us to let it heal on its own. In more serious cases, where there is an enormous amount of swelling and/or infection, surgery may be needed.

We now have a cool bed for Shania in her crate. It helps to keep her cool during the summer, and provides her with a nice soft surface to lie on. Remember to regularly clean and air out the water bed, so that mold does not accumulate on its wet undersides.

For outside the house, we use the Coolaroo outdoor dog bed. It is durable, provides a soft surface, and is elevated from the floor. The elevation allows free air-flow during hot days, and prevents water from accumulating during rainy days.

4. Manage slippery surfaces

Make sure that there are not too many slippery surfaces in the house.

Three legged dogs have less balance, and can easily slip on hard surfaces like wood, tile, linoleum, or marble. This is especially true when they are running or playing.

If there are many hard, slippery floors in the house, it may be time to go rug shopping! Rugs also provide a nice, soft surface for a dog to rest on.

I get natural hand-knotted rugs, that can stand more wear and tear from the dogs. Consider getting a light, earth-tone colored rug, that can hide dirt and dog hair more easily.

In addition, I check the backyard, and make sure there are no deep holes. Shania can trip on uneven surfaces and hurt herself. I also clear away large piles of sticks and leaves. Larger sticks may sometimes catch on a dog’s nails and cause damage.

It helps to get raised water bowls, so that our tripod dog can drink without having to bend down too much.

5. Let a 3 legged dog be a dog

When we share our life with a tripod dog, we naturally want to protect her from as many things as possible. It is important, though, to let a dog be a dog.

If a three legged dog is kept from doing all the things that dogs love to do, she will have lived an unfulfilled life.

A life lived in fear is a life half lived” ~ [Spanish proverb]

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  1. Sean says

    I have a tripod pit bull names hope she lost her leg around a year old and is just a loving energetic 2 year old pup . When we go to the dog park I find it’s easier for her to run rather than walk and gets tired faster. She is all around just a wonderful dog and love seeing people being able to let a dog be a dog even after losing a leg

  2. Amanda says

    We recently (june 27th) had our german shepard/newfie’s front left leg amputated due to cancer. Within the last week she has been having a tough time getting up at down. Ive noticed her right front leg has become wat im assuming is beefier. Is this normal? Im starting to worry it could be more than that.

    • Loretta lynn says

      Jennifer, have you taken her into the vet? it sounds as if she was incredibly young to be left without a mother. if she’s missing just the paw she might need to have a partial or full amputation to keep the rest of her leg healthy. it’s possible that they can figure out a way to wrap it or make a prosthetic for her, but i would not recommend you try any of this without first taking her to the vet and asking for their advice. thanks for saving her life and making sure she has a long, healthy and happy one. please give an update when you take her in. good luck! 🙂

  3. john says

    Our spaniel Tommy has been without one of his front legs now for over 6 years. When we first got him 5 years ago he ran about like any other dog, no problems. However as time has gone on so he has found it more and more difficult and now he struggles quite a lot as he has developed arthritis in his other leg. Although he still tries he does need a lot of help. When we go for walks he now has to go in a push chair for much of the time and there are a lot of times when he needs to be picked up and carried. He does get to have a swim sometimes which he loves and of course tis takes the pressure off him when he exercises. However the longer it goes on the harder it gets. Would love to hear from others who may be in a similar position and the things they do to help.

    • Shannon says

      I am in the same situation. My Golden lost his front left leg at 5 due to bone cancer. Now, at 12 1/2 his existing front leg seems to be weakening and he’s having some hard times. Not a lot on the web about caring for senior tripods.

    • john says

      Thanks for the comment Shannon. It’s encouraging to know that we are not alone. It’s amazing to realise how much they trust and depend on you. They become more special as time passes Tommy likes to be carried a lot these days, downstairs, off the bed and even to his food bowl. Mind you a fox in the garden still gets him going. Good luck with your boy.

    • Jennifer Cool says

      We got are little buddle of joy. About 5 weeks ago. She was a week old. The people who had her left her out in the sun to die. I seen her and brought her home. She was born with a missing front foot. My other dogs love her. She runs around and plays . But her stump gets raw. Is there something I can do to help???

    • michelle says

      Our family pet is called Chino, he had his left leg removed after getting knocked over when he was 2yrs old. At first it broke my heart to watch him but he would show us not to worry by out running the other dogs in the park, He is now 14yrs old not so much of a runner these days, a few weeks ago i noticed he was off balance with problems just trying to walk I massaged and bathed him, then i remembered that my mother suffered an ear infection that made her of balance so i massaged Chinos ears and a day later he was walking again. So i guess i just wanted to pass on this information for anyone who was having the same problem,check your pets ears i hope this helps

  4. Brianne McGill says

    Thank you for your encouraging article. You are a very brave person, to go through all that trauma and make those honourable decisions to save your dogs life.

    I just brought home, my brand new 3 legged, 11 yr old Chihuahua. Last month she was diagnosed with stage 2 sarcoma in her right front leg from biopsies taken, with no indication of metastasis. The oncologists were somewhat baffled because her leg was just swollen, no mass, and otherwise a very healthy, pain free, happy energetic dog. I could not believe it when they said the cancer was too indistinctive to treat, and an amputation was the only sure cure to save her life. Well I didn’t hesitate, I knew this had to be done now while she was still luckily healthy. Sahara is doing pretty well, a bit confused, but walking short distances with encouragement. Its been hard to keep my emotions in check for her but I know that the initial days are the hardest. She’s a bit of a princess the vet said, and was used to using her leg prior to surgery, that it would be a bit harder to adjust, than a dog that favoured a limb. I don’t have any doubts, just have to be patient and hope for the best recovery, and get that unique spark back of hers!

  5. 123turtle says

    I love this article! I have an 8 pound poodle who recently lost his left front leg , because he was hit by a car. I am so blessed to have my best friend back with me. It’s been almost two months since he was hit, and he’s back home, hobbling along on his three legs.

    • Tiffany Howard says

      I just want to start off by saying this helps me more than you know I just recently found out my 8 month old baby is a Jack Russel Boston terrier mix and he got hit by a truck on Thursday he had to have his right front leg amputated and I couldn’t do anything but cry my eyes out but if it was to help him still be with me I had to do it. The operation was on Friday and Saturday he got to come home and he has surprised all of us Ezra is doing everything he used to do when he had all four and though I’m still new to him only having three legs I’m still worrying about him he’s not supposed to run and jump but he does anyways and it doesn’t seem to phase him at all I love my fur baby and so extremely happy he’s here with us.

  6. sara says

    Our beloved Rocky, a 6 year old, pit/lab mix had his back leg amputated 45 days ago due to cancer. I was devastated to learn this was the best option for him to live the best life possible and thought the worst.
    The first 7 days were emotional while we nursed him back to health and learned of his challenges.
    Fast forward to today, 45 days post op and Rocky continues to surprise us with his ability to adapt. He prefers the stairs over the ramp we made for him, he does well running in the yard and continues to be a joy in our life. Don’t get me wrong, he has a spill now and again but gets right back up, sturdy and strong.
    A note to everyone who is blessed to have a tripod K9, these dogs will steal your heart. Love them and cherish them.

  7. Grace and Bama says

    Last Sunday we found a dog on the side of the road that had been shot and she was underfed, we took her to the vet and… it turns out she had been hit by a car and broken her femur in 4 places. (back right). We are keeping her (her name is Bama 🙂 and I love her to death already! We had no choice but to amputate it. She just had it amputated about 3 hours ago and she’s coming home in 2 days. Thank you for this information, I’m preparing our house and getting ready for her to come right now (I’m only 14 though so my mom is doing most of the prepping and I’m doing the research haha). Do you recommend joint supplements? She is 73 lbs probably between 4 and 7 years old and we’re guessing a lab/bloodhound mix (she looks mostly like a lab). Which harness do you recommend for a big dog? Thank you so much!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new dog! Four paws up for rescuing a dog in need!

      In terms of joint supplements, we give Shania fish oil tablets. The amount to give is based on weight, so I would consult with your vet. This article has more on dosage guidelines.

      We also give her chondroitin/glucosamine supplements, but whether that helps or not is inconclusive. According to the specialist that was treating Shania during her amputation, it doesn’t really help but it doesn’t hurt either.

      For Shania, we used the Ruffwear harness. More on our experiences with it here.

      Give Bama a big hug from us when she comes home. 😀

  8. Nat says

    My 9 year old Lab Mix Diesel is having his leg amputated today. He developed a massive post-opp infection from a tumor removal on his foot. I am devastated but keep reminding myself that he will likely adapt and be just fine, I need to let my own ego go and let him be a dog. Thank you!

  9. sue says

    I have a 5 year ols lab mix, Midnight. He has been limping for a couple of months.we followed vet recommended treatment of pain meds and dasequan. We had xray that show ed no damage in elbow. Few weeks went by with shoulder muscle wasting. Has MRI. This shows a golf ball sized enlarged lymph node. Emg showed muscle no being innovated at shoulder. Vet wants to remove lymph node but says it is way up in arm pit. Cannot get needle biopsy as it is too deep. He wants to go into shoulder and if cannot reach it remove leg. Midnight has pain when turns on leg. He will weight bear only walking on incline surface. Not sure if cancer. Not sure where to go from here

    • shibashake says

      Big, big hugs to Midnight.

      With Shania, we visited with a specialist (vet recommended) who laid out all the options for us, including chances of success, etc. In this way, we could make a good decision for Shania, based on the best information available.

      We first tried to save Shania’s leg with surgery, but that didn’t work out and they had to amputate. That was very difficult to deal with, but Shania has done very well with three legs. I write more about my experiences with Shania here.

      The tripawds.com site has some great resources on dealing with cancer and amputation. There are many people on the forums who have gone through cancer with their dog, and it is a very supportive environment.

  10. Terry says

    Hi…i just wanna start by saying thnk you for sharing your story and publishig all the great tips you have learned by living with Shania. my whippet mix Bernie has been limping for a few weeks so we went to the vet. he has been dignosd with either Valley Fever…or osteomyelitis from a trauma he may have suffred before i rescued him from the local county shelter. so amputation isnt a sure thing yet as we ar waiting for the Valley Fever test rsults. But i have learned so much from you site and feel much better about his future if he does have to have it amputated. thx so much…i hope Shania continues to thrive.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Terry, Thank you very much for your kind words.
      Have you gotten back Bernie’s test results? How is Bernie doing?

      Shania is now almost 8, and she is still very bouncy. I have to be the grumpy bad cop, that stops her from doing this, that, and the other thing. The way that I look at it, every day I get to spend with Shania, is a very a good day indeed. 😀

      Big big hugs to Bernie. I am glad that he is now in such a good forever home.

  11. dale pullen says

    Hi, my dog has been walking on three legs since he was one and a half years of age. Recently he can’t stand up, he was fine and walking Sunday then early Monday afternoon he wasn’t able to stand up at all. We took him to the vet and they couldn’t tell us exactly what was wrong. His front left leg has stiffen up but his two hind legs are able to move. He eats a lot like always and does all the regular stuff he doesn’t seem to be sick at all. His currently 9 years old turning 10 next month. Do you perhaps know what’s wrong I really need help my parents want to put him down Thursday which is in 3 days time because his been like this for a week now. His a Germanshepard
    He also hasn’t mated or have any sexual contact with other dogs before if that helps. Please get back to me

    • shibashake says

      Did anything unusual happen on Sunday? Did he fall or overuse the leg? Has he been having difficulty getting up or walking prior to this? Did the vet take x-rays? Did they say what it *could* be? What did the vet suggest in terms of next steps? Did they refer you to a specialist? When my vet is unsure about an issue, they usually suggest next steps and/or refer us to an appropriate specialist.

      Some people use dog wheelchairs, although that can be expensive and may not be appropriate for all dogs.

      For medical issues such as these, I explore all options with my vet or with a specialist. Once I have all the information, I can make an informed decision that is appropriate for my dog.

    • Christine says

      We have an articulating brace to support the carpus for our front amputee dog. Check out orthopets.com

      We also started dry needling to help with muscular problems due to the bouncy gate.

  12. Lesley says

    My Boxer is going to be 9 years old in 5 months. He (Sarge) needs to have his front limb amputated from a brachial injury. I am uncertain of what to do because of his age and his long lean legs. I don’t know if he will be able to bear the weight on 3 legs. Also it is very humid where we live, and Sarge is breathing heavier; therefore, I worry about his heart. Further, we moved to the country with 4 steps up to our residence and all linoleum floors. Any advice would be appreciated. Sarge is laying in his bed more and more.

    • Anonymous says

      Hi there, sorry to hear about your dog. I can let you know that my dog had her front leg amputated at 15 and a half years old. That was over seven months ago and she is getting around fine on three legs. I think that if your vet says your dog’s heart will be strong enough then there is a good chance that it will work out ok. Wishing you the best.

  13. says

    We run Cochise Canine Rescue is southern Arizona. We have a larger than average number of elderly, “special needs” and chronically ill dogs in residence. We have a 12 year old Chihuahua diagnosed with osteosarcoma of his left front leg. The specialists and our vet said that it could buy him some time. We opted NOT to go for chemo due to Billy’s age…and it has been 5 months an he is doing great. We know the cancer may eventually spread to his lungs but so far so good.

    Last week we took in a dog, Tri, who was on the e-list at a high kill municipal shelter after they had amputated his leg but no one wanted him so he was e-listed after less than 8 weeks. We are not sure based on the lack of info the pound provided exactly why they amputated the leg but it has been 6 weeks since his surgery and he is doing well. Still wobbly, but doing ok for the most part.
    He obviously was neglected during his life before here…and won’t sleep on a bed or even a stack of blankets or towels….Not sure how to get him to accept a higher level of comfort than he has been used to…..

  14. jennifer says

    I have a 9 year black lab and he has osteosarcoma and my doctor recommends amputation. They say he will have to do some cemo as well and that he will be around for another 3 to 6 months after the amputation…….not sure what to do…i know there are a lot of tri pods out there and i have no problem with amputation in general. My question is …is it worth it to put my dog through such a major major surgury for living such a short time after the surgury….i feel it will take him three monts to get adjusted to only three legs plus deal with the cancer……just wanted to get some different opinions and comments…..thanks

    • Anonymous says

      Hi. I’m so sorry to hear about your pup. My moms dog was just diagnosed with the same thing. She decided it was best to let him live out his life instead of putting him through a surgery. She didn’t wanna have him have to deal with the healing process either. Best of luck to you.

    • sara says

      We are going through the same thing with our beloved 6 y/o, 75 lb, pit/lab mix. We decided to go through with the surgery and have his back leg amputated and removed a part of his pelvis, where the cancer spread.
      It has been 45 days and he is doing great! Really!!!
      The cancer was successful in removing all cancer and we feel blessed every day we have Rocky with us. It was a costly surgery but worth every penny as he is back to his old self and no longer in pain.
      Best luck to you and your K9 buddy.

  15. Lisa says

    We have a shorkie poo named Zoey who fell down our stairs and sustained multiple inuries to her right front leg and left hind leg. We just found our that they have to amputate her front leg due to the fractures being too complicated and unable to fix. I feel heartbroken for her as she is an energetic, fun loving 5 month old pup. I appreciate all of the feedback I am reading on how to manage her at home. I feel hopeful she will adjust well. I appreciate any other feedback on how to manage the healing process. THanks!

  16. Ashley Pawlowski says

    About 3 years ago i rescued Kota at the time they told me she was probably 3 years old. My Kota was born with 3 legs the 4th back right leg is missing the foot and only has one toe nail that growing inward and curls. I have recently had to have surgery to remove 1 great mass (which came open) off of her front leg and another small one that was on her rear end for extra precautions. Just now she has started to whine and yell seeming to be in pain from her front leg. She let’s me bend it at all the joint but at the top I think I’m feeling another knot but I’m not sure. And the muscle seems to be spasming at the top of her leg. Can someone tell me what is going on with my baby girls leg please???

  17. Donut's Mama says

    Our 8 month old German Shorthair, Donut, got hit by a car yesterday when no one was home. After lengthy discussions with the vet and logical thinking, we are going to have to amputate her back left leg. I’m still sick about it, I know she’ll be happy to be running about again and she’ll recover. I’ve known her since birth-her mother was our first German SH. I’m worried about something happening to remaining limbs. We live in a rural area and we’ve typically let the dogs out during the day and haven’t had problems. Now I’m worried that after Donut’s recovery, that we’ll have to kennel her more often. Her breed is very high energy. I just needed a safe place for some encouraging words…thanks.

  18. Laurie says

    Our 6month old lab mix was in an accident and his hip and right hind leg had 4breaks ,vet recommended we amputate his leg at hip,we r concerned he will become aggressive now due he aggressive with vet and my husband, any one have advice.we have small kids, we are keeping buster from kids during healing. Any have advice or gone thru this all advice aprecatated.

    • shibashake says

      When my dog is in pain or not feeling well, he feels more vulnerable. As a result, he may use aggression to protect himself, especially from people he does not know well (fear aggression or defensive aggression).

      When animals and people are afraid of something, they prefer to get away from that thing. This is called the flight response. But if escaping isn’t an option, most animals will switch to a fight response. They try to defend themselves from the scary thing. So a dog can be afraid of a person or another animal but still attack if she thinks this is her only recourse.

      However, when there are kids involved, I would always get help from a good professional trainer who can observe my dog within his regular environment and routine, help me properly identify the source of his behavior, and help me come up with a good, safe, and effective plan for retraining.

      The tripawds.com site is also a good place to get input and information on 3 legged dogs.

    • Rachel says

      Hi our lab mix puppy fell off a chair and has hand to have her right hind leg amputated at the hip too. She hasn’t shown any aggressive tendancies im afraid infact she seems to be more clingy but she has started to bite the scar tissue (quite badly sometimes) and ALL her other legs and paws. Im wondering has yours done this? Im sorry to hear yours has turned aggressive and I hopeyou dont have to rehome Buster. My advice, get a cage and at any sign of aggression put him in the cage tell him no and ignore him let your husband let him out. Get your husband to treat him play with him (no dominance games try fetch) and most of all correct him.

    • shibashake says

      When Shania was healing, the scar tissue area can get pretty itchy, so she would sometimes try to bite on it. However, I make sure to stop her every time, because her biting can cause infection, can open up the wound, etc. I use an Elizabethan collar if necessary. This is something that is best discussed with her vet.

      As for biting on legs and paws, that could a sign of allergies or skin parasites. I would take her to the vet for a check-up.

  19. nicole says

    I am looking at adopting a tripod dog and he is missing his hind leg. My previous dog had a deteriorating spine and so she had massive trouble getting up with her back legs. Do you think that with only one leg this would be a problem? Do you know if there is mechanisms to help them get up?

    • shibashake says

      Shania is missing a front leg, so my observations will be based on that. She takes slightly longer to get up and also to do a controlled down. When she does an uncontrolled down (on softer surfaces), then she can do it super quick.

      When Shania was recovering from her amputation, I put a RuffWear harness on her and used that to help her get up and give her support when she needs it. However, Shania doesn’t really like wearing the harness so we stopped using it after she got her leg strength back. This article has more on our experiences with the Ruffwear harness.

      The key thing with Shania is to keep her from getting too excited (e.g. during play, greetings, etc.), and then accidentally spraining something. Since she only has three legs, if she sprains something it becomes really difficult for her to move around and do stuff. Therefore, keeping her three legs strong and healthy, primarily by managing her activity and environment, is the most important thing for us.

  20. Penny says

    I am going to a shelter tomorrow to adopt a Blue Heeler who only has 3 legs. Her previous owners ran over her with a gator & just left her. Some good people found her & took her to the shelter where the vet amputated her leg.
    I think she’ll do fine but my husband is skeptical. This article was a help. Thank you for posting.

  21. triny the shorthair says

    hi… i’m getting a new german shorthaired pointer puppy in a couple of weeks named tripod, triny for short, and i was hoping you could give me some tips for when i first get her?

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your upcoming puppy!

      How old is Triny? When was Triny’s surgery? Would she be recovering in your care or would she already be recovered when you get her?

      I talk about my experiences with Shania here. I write about what happened right after her surgery, and then also about things to look out for afterwards.

      The tripawds.com site is also a good source of information, and there are many tripawd dog owners who visit the forums there to share information and give each other support.

      Please give Triny a big hug from me when you get her! 😀

  22. Lauren says

    I have a Siberian husky that is missing his front leg. He has so much energy and am having trouble keeping up with him. I walk him twice a day but need a way to burn more of his energy. I got a back pack for him but am worried that will put too much strain on his good front shoulder. Would carting be a good option?

    • shibashake says

      Personally, I would stay away from backpacks. One of the key things that the specialist told me is to keep Shania slim so that she does not put added stress on her joints. For this reason, I also stay away from other weight related activities, i.e., anything that would put added stress on her joints. This will hopefully keep athritis at bay for longer.

      With Shania, we are out for two hours or more every day. She is not walking the entire time, a bunch of the time she is resting, looking at people, and enjoying the outside smells. She also plays with my other dogs, under close supervision. She works for her food, and I play structured games with her.

      Swimming, I think, is a good exercise possibility as long as they like water, are properly taught to walk in (*no* jumping in), and are kept safe with a doggy life vest.

      Shania doesn’t like water though, so we haven’t done much of that.

      Also check out the tripawds.com forum. They have a wonderful, supportive group of people, who will probably have many fun exercise ideas.

  23. Shelby says

    i’m really hoping for a dog for my birthday! I’ve found an adorable Westy girl and I want her terribly. the only thing is that she is missing her left hind leg! besides things stated above, is there anything else I should know? the fact that she’s missing a limb doesn’t change a thing about her in my eyes, but should I be aware of any other details?

  24. Crystal says

    My Max is my 8 or 9 year old Boxer. I got him as a rescue about 6 years ago. He has been a blessing from day one and I love him with all my heart. Last year he had a large mass pop up on his front leg. The vet said we won’t worry about it we will just watch it and if it gets bigger we will remove it. Well about 3 months ago it started growing rapidly. He aspirated it and said it’s likely benign so we shouldn’t worry. Well that just didn’t settle right with me. So now on vet #3 she is non profit and said we need to amputate immediately as she believe it’s malignit mass cell tumor. I am horrified if ever I thought this could have been I would have moved much sooner. The vet said to amputate the sooner the better. So he is set up to have it done in 2 weeks. I feel god awful guilty I never thought this would be his outcome and I could beat that vet into oblivion!! I am just worried my Max won’t adjust

    • shibashake says

      Hello Crystal. Have you been to the tripawds.com website? They have a lot of information there on recovering from amputation due to cancer. They also have a strong support group and many people there have experience with canine cancer.

      I was also worried about Shania, but she adjusted very well. I think dogs are really amazing in terms of how they deal with physical disability.

      If you have the time, please let us know how things go with Max. He sounds like a wonderful boy. Big hugs to him and Shania sends her love and many Husky kisses.

  25. lake says

    Hi! Wondering if you can give me some advice. My tripawd chihuahua mix has his back right leg amputated but he has developed a rash on his leg/belly on his left. I took him to the vet and they gave him a spray for a bug bite. The rash went away and now it’s back and won’t go away. His belly also kinda sags on that side now. Any advice? Taking him back to the vet tomorrow.

    • shibashake says

      How did things go with the vet?

      As for sagging, Shania has some of that in her front area because the muscles there are no longer being used, due to her missing front leg. When in doubt though, I always consult with my vet.

      Big hugs to your Chi. Hope he is feeling better.

  26. brandy says

    I just thought id tell you about Trooper my 2 year old German shepherd. when he was a puppy his family got in a car accident and they had to amputate his right front leg from the shoulder. soon after he got distemper and people thought he should be put down but he never got the seizures so they didn’t. its been a year now and he is doing great. goes on runs and up to the mountains all the time with us. he has a little nuerological damage such as his mouth twitching a lot but he doesn’t notice. we adopted him about a week or 2 ago and I jus wanted to put his story out there. don’t give up so easily.

  27. will says

    hi i really love this site it has given me lots of help with training my 12 yr old sibe nooka.go sibes they are the best

  28. Danielle says

    My dog broke her leg by jumping off the stairs. I wasn’t watching when she jumped. I’m not sure how high she jumped. She broke it. Causing it to only get a pin. Well the vet was in the middle of surgery and called me and said the one bone was split into 3 like a Mercedes Benz emblem and said it would be a 50/50 Chance that if she went to see a specialist to fix it she would either be in pain or it wouldn’t hold. Well it was amputated. She’s doin good. But people keep telling me it’s wrong to keep her and that it’s mean and that I should just put her down. Tell me am I wrong?

    • shibashake says

      I currently have three dogs, but I am closest to Shania. I do have to supervise her more though, and take some extra precautions to keep her safe. I write more about my experiences with Shania here-

      There are also many great three legged dog stories in the comments section of this article. The tripawds.com site is also a great place to talk to others about their experiences. In the end though, it is our choice and our responsibility.

    • Cheryl C. says

      Why would anyone want to put a dog down because of a broken leg? You did the right thing!! My 9 year old Yellow Lab Yeager was hit by a BIG truck on 4/10/14. His left rear leg was so bad it needed amputation. His right rear hip had to have surgery also because it was dislocated and would not stay in place. He has to be confined to small areas and guided with a sling for 2 more weeks but he is doing AWESOME!!!! =)

    • Roxanne says

      Oh my goodness there is no need to put your dog down. These 3 Legged Sweethearts have the biggest hearts and try so hard!! I have a 3 Legged Blue Heeler named Flower. She has just turned 12 Years Old. We have had our challenges along the way but you just deal with whatever comes your way. I can’t imagine life without her. We have had to build a ramp for her to go up and down into the yard. In the winter we have covers so it stays dry for her, works pretty good. Flower just loves the snow!! But am glad to see Summer approaching. Some people don’t understand that these dogs are just like other dogs with 4 legs, they may look different but they are so worth it!! Just love her and care for her the best you can and don’t ever feel bad for doing so!!

    • brandy says

      they are the wrong ones. if he’s able to move around just fine and isn’t in pain anymore than you did the right thing. I have a German shepherd that survived amputation of his front right leg and also distemper which is usually fatal but he never got the seizures. it been a little more than a year now and he’s a playful little puppy. good job with sticking to you decision.

  29. Ronna says

    I just found this blog/site as I was looking for information on Tripods dogs ( we just rescued a tripod pit bull about 1 yr old and my daughter- no longer at home- has a Shiba) We had the opportunity to adopt a healthy, friendly, cuddly hound retriever mix but my 17 year old son fell for Kimmie the tripod. He felt the puppy would be adopted easily and Kimmie would not. With some apprehension we dove in as i agreed with his assessment. Kimmie is a sweet, smart, gentle soul that was picked up in Georgia with an injury to her left foot. Almost 3 months later they took her entire leg front leg leaving only a chicken wing shoulder. She had Kennel cough and whip worms. A lot for a little one. We noticed that she is very stiff in the mornings or after laying down and sleeping. We have only had her 4 days and we have been massaging all of her muscles, clearing all obstacles, chipping ice on the driveway, what ever it takes to keep her safe. This morning she did her little hop out of her bed to wake up and face planted. She must have sprained her right front wrist. We iced it, called the vet ( they can’t see us till tomorrow morning and we have yet another snow storm coming- I hope they will be open!) She has not been able to walk on it only a little pressure sitting for a second or two but she has been laying down all day with my son. She has not gone potty all day. She also has not wanted water. I searched and searched for any help on line for how to assist a dog with a missing front leg and now a hurt front leg. Until we get to see the vet any help would be appreciated. We anticipated slipping on ice and so many other things, we did not anticipate waking up and stepping out of her doggy bed to be the source of injury to her remaining front leg. How can we help this sweet little one that has captured our heart?
    Thank you.

    • shibashake says

      Has Kimmie been to the vet? How is she?

      When Shania is recovering from sprains and such, I usually try to keep her resting as much as I can. I set up an enclosure on a nice thick carpet, so that she can’t roam around too much. During her surgery period, she had difficulty walking, so I switched back to using pee pads. I make sure to clean it up as soon as she goes.

      There was another time when she got bitten by a rattlesnake and couldn’t get up easily. We had her staying at the pet hospital then. They put a bunch of towels and such under her and let her do her business in place until she got better.

      Does Kimmie’s bed have a lip? I only get totally flat beds for Shania because she can trip on those edges. I also do not let her go up raised surfaces or furniture. Now that she is older, we installed a baby gate at the foot of the stairs so she won’t stress her joints from going up and down.

      Big hugs to Kimmie. Please let us know how things went at the vet if you can.

    • Ronna says

      Thanks for the reply. She did sprain her right front wrist- they gave her a shot of pain meds and anti-inflammatory drugs and some to go home. Since she just had her surgery on 12/21/13 they said she is still trying to get used to moving on one leg. Late last night she did manage to get up and hobble on it. Enough to go outside and go potty. I did try to leave towels and a plastic liner hoping she would just go when she needed to but she held it in for 2 days. Poor little thing. Too many new situations for her I think. I gave her a bone that had some frozen yogurt in it and it seemed to pick her up but this morning she had diarrhea and some blood as well. Don’t know if it was stress, meds, holding it, yogurt or a mix of all. She is being treated for whip worms too. She came as a mess to us- broken- missing teeth even. Yet through it all in the 5 days since we had her she has been loving, patient and lets us do anything to try to help her.

      We did get a bed with side thinking ( but the front is open) it would help support her but it has a removable flat bed. Even still I see her front leg wobble on that as she tries to stand so I am not sure how to help her have a soft place to lay down and not get hurt.

      I found a place about 40 mins away that has an under water treadmill as therapy for dogs. Have you ever tried that. I am wondering if it would actually help her build strength in her other legs while keeping stress down. Part of me wishes they kept her in a warmer climate. We have so much snow and ice and I know our 4 legged dog friends have troubles. This 3 legged dog is really in for a challenge.

      We haven’t had a dog in a while and we just hope we can do all that we can for her. I have been rally your posts and they are very encouraging- thank you.

    • shibashake says

      I am glad that Kimmie is feeling better. It is really awesome that she has found such a loving and caring family. That is the most important thing for the long term.

      In terms of beds, Shania seems to prefer lying on the carpets. She also uses the elevated outdoor bed when she is outside. We did get her a cool bed for her crate (for the hot summer months). It is very flat though, and does not have too much water, so she seems to have ok footing on it.

      We have not done water therapy. The specialist who took care of Shania, when she was young, said that she didn’t need it at that point. We recently talked to our vet about it, and she said Shania is in good shape, so she didn’t need it yet.

      Our vet did suggest swimming as a good form of exercise, but since Shania is not a fan of water, it is not something that she would like. Vet also talked about fish oil, and that recent studies show that it can help to promote joint health, so we are getting some to try. Correct dosage is important so best to consult with a vet about that.

      Thanks for giving us an update on Kimmie. Ice is a challenge but a good family is so much more important. 😀

      Interesting PetFinder article on protecting paws in the winter-

      Big hugs to your furry girl.

  30. Samantha says

    Congrats for having so much love for your beautiful husky! She is so cute!
    I also have a husky and guess what, I live in Brazil.. We have hot days around 100 degrees here so I found your website when I was searching about a cool bed for my pet.. They cost 150 dollars here so I needed to ask you if you use the large or the medium size for your husky so I can order mine in the proper size!

    • shibashake says

      We got a medium sized cool bed for Shania. However, just like crate size, this is very dependent on the size of the Husky. Shania is a female, so she is smaller and she weighs about 43 pounds.

      Big hugs to your Husky!

  31. Cheyenne says

    Hi! I’ve recently fallen head over heels in love. He’s got the prettiest brown eyes and the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen! He’s a 2 and a half year old American foxhound. He’s missing his back leg and although I’ve had my entire lifetime a experience with dogs, I’ve never had one missing a limb.

    I lived in the country for the first 19 years of my life and we’ve many dogs pass through our home. We had them to keep the coyotes away from our house. I’ve trained, loved, cried over and bonded with every one that we’ve ever had. I’ve always had a special fondness for labs and three years ago I got my baby beau. I’m moving out in about two weeks and I can’t take Beauller from his home because him and my father are so in love with each other that it would kill them both to take him. I looked at our other dogs but they are all purely outside dogs who wouldn’t be able to cope being all alone or taken out of their home.

    In my search for my perfect pal I stumbled upon Boggs. He’s at a local shelter but like I said, I’ve never had a dog like this. One of our dogs got in a fight with a coon and was half blind, that’s the closest I’ve ever been to a dog with a ‘disability’. Our family has always put our dogs health first( we recently had our 9 year old American Eskimo go through a surgery to remove her femoral head, luckily no amputation was necessary and she’s fully recovered at a hefty price of $1500. She was worth every penny though!)

    Anyway, ( I like to ramble, sorry!) my question is- Do you think I will be able to learn how to take care of him? I don’t want to make some crucial mistake that would cost such a beautiful dog even more than his leg. I’ve been reading for a little over a week on the proper care but I’m still nervous. I’m a college student but the one lesson I’ve learned more than others is that a dog is a part of the family, not an accessory to coo over until the newness wears off. What do you think I should do? Are my fears just silly? And again sorry for rambling!

    • shibashake says

      I don’t think your fears are silly at all. I had very similar fears and worries about caring for my Husky Shania. She is my first three legged dog, so I really did not know what I would have to do, and whether I would be able to do it. I think there are several key things in terms of taking care of a dog with special needs – commitment, time, and money.

      Like you, I fell in love with Shania right away, so I am very committed to her care. She needs some extra supervision, and we go on longer walks because we take more rest breaks in-between. I talk more about the things that I do in the article above and also here. However, I enjoy my time with her so much that these extra “tasks” are relaxing and fun for me. It would probably be different if I did not feel so close to her.

      Another factor is free time. Happily, I am retired, so I have a lot of time to spend with Shania and my other dogs. If I were still working in a demanding job, it may be difficult to make time for all the demands in my life. However, if I had family and good friends nearby, they can also help with dog care when I am away. Alternatively, I could hire a good pet sitter to help me take care of Shania, but that could end up being somewhat expensive.

      Finally, there is the financial aspect. I have probably taken Shania the most times to the vet or animal emergency room, compared to my other dogs. Part of this is because I am very careful about her physical condition, so we sometimes visit the vet when we didn’t need to. It is difficult to gauge these things tho, especially with a three legged dog, and I prefer to err on the side of safety.

      Another part is because she has a smaller margin for error because of her missing leg. For example, my other dogs may sometimes sprain something during play, but they can still easily get around, they heal quickly, and are usually back to full strength in a very short while. It is different for Shania. If she even sprains one of her legs, it becomes difficult for her to move around. In short, I have found that Shania’s vet bills usually end up being higher than that of my other dogs. This will likely also depend on energy level, age of dog, temperament, and more.

      Have you visited the tripawds.com site? They have a great community there, and it is a great place to get more views and information on living with a three legged dog.

      For me, it is a great experience living with Shania and she makes me very happy. I try my best to make her happy too. 😀

  32. Katy says

    I have a rottie/shep/lab mix about 60lbs, that had a back leg amputated due to an accident. I fostered Tina from when she came out of the clinic and still have her now! She was ~10 months when the amputation was done and has just turned 9 years old. She is a stocky build and it has been challenging keeping her as slim as possible. She is a high energy dog so gets a lot of exercise daily.
    As she has aged, some issues have arisen which I am trying to deal with. She has received glucosamine/chondroiten/MSM supplements for several years. For the past year she has received monthly injections of Adequan which have helped slow the arthritic deterioration in her joints. She began suffering from muscle spasms about 18 months ago in her back (limiting leash walking has helped this now), so she now gets 1x Robaxin (just the muscle relaxant, not with the pain killer) daily. She is a strong swimmer and goes to hydrotherapy once a week but also swims daily in the rivers and lakes on our walks. I took a dog massaging workshop and massage her every day.
    Walking on a leash is the most damaging/painful thing for her so I really limit this as much as possible. Almost all her exercise is, and has been for the last 1 1/2 years, off leash. I wish I had started all these things right at the beginning but she really didn’t seem to have any problems at all and behaved just like any other dog and was just as capable. She sliced a front pad badly when camping a few years ago and, as it was the same side as her missing back leg, I thought it would be trouble, but she just leaned a little more to the left and zoomed off on two legs, as fast as before, didn’t miss a beat.
    To ensure she has as good a quality of life as possible I have ensured she is well socialized and I don’t stop her chasing squirrels and running around, I just monitor the duration of this type of exercise. I adjust our walks so she has easy terrain (river dykes, for example) for a couple of days after a more strenuous or longer walk. I think fitness is key, keeping the dog as slim as possible, swimming as much as possible and protective measures for joint health. No ball or stick throwing on land, only into water. I keep non-slip socks (bought at a pet store) at my friends house for when we visit as she has very slippery hardwood floors and no mats – quick and easy to put on and take off.
    Tina is now in better shape than she was 18 months ago and is healthy, happy and still loving life and has very little pain or discomfort. I know this cannot possibly continue forever and I would urge other owners of three-legged dogs to start preventative treatments before I did. I feel I was not proactive enough (apart from the keeping slim and fit aspects) and wish I had stopped leash walking sooner and started hydrotherapy earlier. This last does seem to offer more benefit than just swimming in the river.
    I hope the experiences of Tina and myself will help others to enjoy a long, pain free relationship.

  33. trdoxie says

    Most of these stories are about small to medium sized dogs can anyone tell me if a giant breed like a Great Dane is able to cope having only three legs? My daughter is looking to get a puppy from a breeder in the area and we just learned today that the puppies were born last night and that one of the largest puppies has a malformed right front leg. The breeder is trying to decide whether to put the puppy down or not. I feel like the puppy should be given a chance if it is healthy other than the unusable leg. I need to know if this puppy as a one day giant will have a chance at a fairly normal life or will her size drastically shorten her mobility. If anyone has experience with a large breed tripod, I would much appreciate any information you can give me.

  34. Crystal S says

    I am considering adopting a 12 wk old Husky who’s only had 3 legs since birth. She was born to a family pet, instead of a breeder. No one was home when mom went into labor and the first puppy was breech – mom chewed the back left foot off to get her out. Since she has always been without the 4th leg it’s normal to her, and from what I’ve read it seems “better” that it is a rear leg instead of a front leg. Your article is informative and gave me some info on keeping her healthy, thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Thank you Crystal. Yeah, as I understand it dogs carry more weight on the front of their body, so there is less stress if the missing leg is in the rear.

      Have you decided on the adoption? Big hugs to little Husky puppy. 😀

  35. Corrine says

    Hi, I have a husky puppy called nala. Shes 15weeks and I have just found out after xrays her front right elbow joint hasnt formed properly. They have said we could if we’re lucky make a new joint for her but theres life long problems with that. Or amputation of the leg. Im really stuck as what to do. Alot of people are telling me it’s horrible to make such a young dog go through all this but at the same time I couldnt see myself without her x

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I struggled with the same things with Shania. It was a very difficult time, and hearing your story brings back a lot of memories. People also said the same thing to me – “it’s horrible to make such a young dog go through all this”. I never really understood what point they were trying to make, because wouldn’t the alternatives be worse?!

      Here is more on what happened with Shania.

      I am very glad that I get to share my life with Shania. She is wonderful and we have great fun together. As you say, I cannot imagine being without her.

      Big hugs to Nala. Please let us know how it goes. Shania sends her love and many Husky licks.

    • Samantha Kruis says

      I have a 8 month old schnauzer poodle, who at 5 1/2 months broke her leg. We took her to a vet and they splinted it the leg healed but she had a pressure wound that developed into bone infection which also healed, then we noticed she couldn’t bend the same elbow without a lot of pain , so we took her to a specialist in Ottawa who said we could do corrective surgery or amputate. We chose amputate for 1 main reason , she would be healed in 10-14 days and acting like a happy dog within 3 days compared to corrective surgery which would take months and several surgeries due to the fact that she is still growing adjustment would probably have to be done which meant more surgeries. It’s now been three days since her amputation and she’s playing with toys and chasing the cats as usual, she does sleep a little more due to the pain killers but that’s normal and she’ll only be on them for3 more days.

  36. Laura says

    Hi, my dog Hope is missing her front right leg. She was hit by a car before I met her. I adopted her in 2009 and I couldn’t picture my life without her now.

    Recently though, she’s been in a lot of pain. It’s usually at night. She’s up all night panting and crying and refuses to sit still. I’ve taken her to the vet numerous times and he just keeps giving me pain meds, steroids, and muscle relaxers for her. The meds work for about a week or two then were right back to where we started. Tonight is actually the worst that it has been, so I’m waiting for the vet to open so I can get her in again.

    My next step is getting blood work and X-rays done but I am in college so money is tight (don’t get me wrong, I would spend my last dime on her in heartbeat) I just want to know that I’m taking the correct route. Everytime I’ve been in before my vet had said to wait on it but I’m really starting to be concerned.

    Tonight I gave her baby aspirin to see if she could get any sleep and it doesn’t seem to be working. Do you think things like therapy or the swimming programs would be useful? Or even a set of wheels? I’m open for any suggestions – I just need to get my poor dog out of pain. Thanks

    • shibashake says

      With Shania, going to see a specialist was very helpful in terms of diagnosing the issue with her leg. The bone specialist explained the issue to us, showed us the problem on the x-rays, and laid out possible solutions. If Shania started feeling leg pain again, I would go to see a specialist first, to see if they can pinpoint the cause of the pain.

      Big hugs to Hope. Please let us know how it goes.

  37. brandy says

    I have a shep/lab/rott mix that lost his leg at the elbow from having the ambilical cord wrapped around it before he was born. He seems to get around great but my worry is he uses his stub for balance and has a sore on it. I was told to use a baby sock but I cannot keep it on him. Anyone have any other ideas and has anyone delt with this before?

  38. Anonymous says

    I found 9 pups nearby our house, all adopted except a seriously injured one. The Vet suggested to put the pup to sleep as it has only 50/50 chance.
    But I couldn’t as every living thing deserves a second chance.
    The pup is just merely 2 weeks old and it right rear leg have to be amputated ( to elbow level) as the rest of the leg had been crushed.
    The wound has not heal properly yet as now but it is improving.
    Still on bottle feeding and has opened it eyes as at 2 days ago.
    I would like to know how to protect the amputated leg when the pup starts to walk . Tq

    • shibashake says

      With Shania (front leg amputation), the specialist (bone) recommended that we amputate the entire leg. Shania was a young and active dog, and the vet said that she would move around better this way. He said that if she were to fall on the partial leg, it would be painful and the stub may develop sores.

      I did a bit more reading on this, and it looks like one reason to leave more of the leg would be if we were interested in using a prosthetic. However, as far as I can tell, prosthetic technology for dogs is not as well developed or studied. I think this is because unlike people, dogs can move along quite well after a single leg amputation. I asked the specialist about prosthetics, and he said that in Shania’s case, she would get along better without it. Later on, I would consider the use of a cart or wheelchair if need be.

      One argument that prosthetic sellers make, is that it would help to reduce the amount of stress placed on the joints of the other legs, and in this way, *may* help to put off the onset of arthritis. However, I have not seen any clinical studies on this. I would also be concerned about continuous chafing or pinching at the points of contact.

      In general, I would consult with a trusted vet or specialist in terms of what is best for an individual dog.

      More on prosthetics from the tripawds site-

  39. Amber Brundage says

    Hi, I just adopted a beautiful tripod lab/blue tic
    She is 2 1/2 years old and she is missing her back leg from a car accident when she was a pup. She is a wonderful well trained dog and we haven’t had her long but I was worried about the issue with the weight because she is thick and I didn’t know how I would need to slim her down if anyone had advice

    • shibashake says

      With Shania, I keep her slim by helping her to count calories. 😀

      I measure out how much kibble she gets, and I do not give her more. If I give her treats, I make sure to reduce her kibble intake by a corresponding amount. In the beginning, we would weigh her pretty frequently so that we could gauge how much to feed her.

      I take her out for low-impact walks daily. This allows her to burn off some calories, exercises her muscles so that they remain strong, and she also gets to meet people, explore, and enjoy herself. Shania tires more easily, so we take *many* rest stops along the way. I let her set the pace, and bring my iPhone along so that I can read while she rests and looks at people.

      Big hugs to your tripod girl!

  40. keith says

    I have a 3 year old Lakeland terrier called Archie, I year ago he got out of his harness in the back seat of the car, jumped up at the back window, activating the electric window and jumped out at 30mph he suffered a brachial plexus evulsion of his front right leg. It was touch and go for 5 days as to whether he was going to survive, but he pulled through and adapted quite readily to 3 legs. The only thing he cannot do is turn quickly when running. Unfortunately he is a
    little rascal and hyper twice now he has injured his back leg jumping off the bed. Trying to protect his other limbs is paramount in my thoughts. His injured front leg has now contracted up so easily clears the ground when walking/running so amputation was thankfully avoided.I know I may not get him to old age but he does have a good quality of life and thankfully was pain free after 3 weeks after his initial injury.

  41. Kayleigh says

    Ive got a beautiful little tripod girl, she badly broke her front leg when she was only just 6 months and had it amputated as a result – at first I was so worried for her but shes just turned 10 months and im a very proud mummy! She runs and walks better then her older sister and has never had any trouble but i am starting to worry about the pressure shes putting on to her good leg and was wondering if you have any advice on whether to buy a support harness or any other aid? Thanks so much 🙂

    • Becky says

      In February 2013, we adopted Maggie, a 3 year-old toy breed mix who’d had a traumatic right front leg amputation in Sept. 2012. My husband (Mike) is a traumatic amputee from Viet Nam so our house already had a ramp off the back deck, non-skid surfaces, and an electric chair for the basement stairs.

      We’ve heard many people say that tripods get along just fine with ordinary care. However, Mike has significant pain secondary to overuse of his elbows, shoulders, and hips from years of using crutches and a wheelchair. While we don’t consider or treat Maggie like a disabled dog, we decided to be very conservative to conserve the use of her remaining limbs.

      Although Maggie can walk and run fast, we consulted a canine rehab specialist over the telephone and plan to see him in the office soon for an at home exercise program (HEP) to strengthen core muscle groups. He recommended maximizing her long-term mobility by limiting walks to 10-15 minutes up to several times a day, depending on weather and tolerance, avoiding stairs, if possible, consistently performing the HEP, and participating in canine aquatic therapy if available in our area. He also reinforced that keeping the weight down was critical to long-term mobility and comfort He did not recommend a wheelchair at this time.

      So, we use an Ezy Dog Convert Harness that does not rotate around the torso or pull on her neck collar while walking. It has a small handle to steady her as she goes up and down stairs. She enjoys playing in the back yard and clearly prefers to use the ramp rather than stairs. We bought a Gen7 Cruiser stroller that is great for longer walks or antiquing. We put her on a chondroitin supplement and are trying to get her accustomed to wearing a sock on her left front leg to protect her paw during walks and snow/ice as she fell several times last winter.

      You might consider consulting a rehab specialist in your area for an individualized treatment plan and/or swimming therapy to gain mobility without stressing other joints.

      We just love this happy little dog and have no regrets about adopting her. The amputation part is minor blip compared to the joy she brings to our lives. She is completing advanced training for the Good Canine Citizenship Test. After that, she will (hopefully) be involved in a local pet therapy program and the Wounded Warrior Project.

    • shibashake says

      I asked the specialist treating Shania about what we could do in terms of long-term care, and he stressed that the most important thing is to keep Shania slim. I also asked him about hydro-therapy, but he said that Shania didn’t need it since her leg muscles are in good shape.

      We currently have Shania on chondroitin/glucosamine supplements based on the advice of our vet. The specialist said that they probably weren’t going to do all that much, but if we follow proper dosage, they wouldn’t hurt. Based on what I have read, it seems that industry funded studies show that they can help with joints and slow the loss of cartilage, but independent studies show no significant difference (for humans). Its results on animals also seem just as inconclusive. So it is one of those things.

      I think weight, environment management, and supervision are probably most important with Shania. I supervise her at home and now that she is older (coming onto 6 years old) I limit her stair access, and plan our walks so that we only come down more gradual inclines. We have a more hilly area in our backyard, which we have fenced off so that we can manage access. She is missing her front leg, so coming down hills/stairs puts more stress on her joints.

      I also supervise her closely when she is with other dogs. She can chase my other dogs in play, but I *do not* let other dogs chase her or jump on her. They can wrestle, but only when the other dog is in a down position. I also manage excitement level during play, and make sure that she is always having fun and not feeling overwhelmed.

      I did use the RuffWear harness while walking Shania soon after her amputation, but she no longer needs it. Here is a bit more on our walking experiences.

      Big hugs to your tripod girl!

  42. Michelle McNiven says

    I wrote in earlier, when I found out my Puggle, Gracie had to have her leg amputated. It was such a hard blow! I am so thankful I found your website and all your helpful hints and encouragement!

    It’s been about 8 weeks. And life is going on basically normal. Everything is okay, and Gracie has been adjusting well.

    To all those who are struggling, please know, it is okay in the end.
    Thanks again for your support and website!
    Michelle McNiven- Montana

    • shibashake says

      Hi Michelle,
      It is awesome that Gracie is doing so well. Thanks for the update and big hugs to your brave little girl!

    • wendy evans says

      i’m waiting on surgery for my yellow lab.He is having his back left leg amputated.I’m very nervious abt. the surgery,and his recovery.It’s reassuring to hear abt. your exp. thank you.

  43. Kristen says

    I also have a tripod. He has my heart wrapped around that one good leg. He is a 26 pound dog, pretty small. My qyestion is should I walk him daily? If so, for how long and what distance? I worry that my dog will get very worn out very fast because it is soooo hot here in Texas. I would love some advice. Thank you for posting all this info, I needed it!

    • shibashake says

      Shania usually likes to go out daily. During her walk-time, she will come to fetch me by placing her head on my lap or my computer keyboard. 😀 The only times I have noticed her not wanting to go out is when she is not feeling well, or when it is extremely hot outside. If she doesn’t want to go, we don’t go.

      I also let her set the pace and distance of our walks. How long she wants to walk depends on many different things, e.g. her current energy level, the temperature outside, how she is feeling, etc. If she has a rigorous play session in the morning, then she probably will not want to walk as far.

      In addition, Shania heats up more easily, so we do not go very far when it is hot outside. I make sure to walk in areas where there are many shady spots, so that we can take many rest-stops along the way. She likes hanging out outside, looking at people, and smelling the wind. I bring enough water with me to keep her well hydrated. I also bring my iPhone so that I can read while Shania is resting, and so that I can call for help if there is an emergency.

      I also try walking her earlier in the mornings or later in the evenings when it is cooler outside.

      Here is more on my walking adventures with Shania.

      Note that there will be differences depending on breed, energy level, temperament and more. I think the most important thing is to listen to our dog, and let him tell us what he is most comfortable with.

      Big hugs to your Furry One!

  44. Nick says

    Have you noticed whether or not Shania has “phantom” pain from the amputation? I hear about this with people and wonder about pets. I know this can be very painful and difficult.

  45. Sue says

    I’m considering adopting a 3 legged young pit mix (8 or 9 months, medium size) who has a deformed and unusable front leg. Her good front leg looks a bit odd and I’m wonder if it is the elbow hygroma condition mentioned above. I’m also concerned about navigating stairs. What has been the experience of others with dogs missing a front leg?

    • shibashake says

      If her other front leg looks odd, I would get a vet to check it out to make sure that it is ok. I am very careful about Shania’s legs, because if she hurts any of them, it becomes really difficult and painful for her to move around. I supervise her more, manage her environment, and her activities.

      In terms of stairs, Shania can go up stairs really well. Coming down is more difficult and stressful on her joints, because she is missing one of her front legs. The same is true for coming down steeper hills. I make sure that she does not run down stairs or hills at high speeds, because that would be bad for her front-leg joints.

      Now that she is older (over 5 years old), I am starting to limit her stair and hill activity. When we go on walks, we will go up steeper inclines, and come down on the more gradual side. If I think a trail is too steep, then we go another way. We also installed a baby gate on the stairs in our house.

  46. Jon moore says

    Hi. Just reading over some posts and I am very glad to hear 3 legged dog can still live a good life. On Sunday there my girlfriends wee Pom had to get it back leg cut of. The wee dog is still very sick and in a lot of pain. But it’s been good to see that they can recover well. I am just praying that our wee dog recovers too. Thanks

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, Shania adjusted well after her amputation. I supervise her more, take some added precautions with her environment, and she gets along very well. I think I worry more about her than she does about herself! 😀

      Big hugs to your Pom. Hope she feels better soon.

  47. Michelle McNiven says

    Thank you for this post. I adopted an adorable 1.5 yr old puggle, Gracie, two years ago, after the owners ran her over (I hope on accident). They took her to the vet and asked to put her down, “She is too energetic, and not worth the hassle.” I was told.

    It’s been two years; we’ve gone through two major surgeries. I just found out yesterday that the last operation, two years ago, was a “none union” meaning the bone never fused together. She has a chronic infection at the implant site.

    She is a total trouble maker, smart little whip, and the sweetest, happiest cuddle bug I have ever had. The options given to me weren’t all that great. Amputation was the best out of the four evil choices. And it breaks my heart and turns my stomach in knots. I cried all day yesterday.

    She goes in for the procedure tomorrow morning. I had no idea how tough and difficult this decision would be. My Supervisor suggested I Google success stories of tripod dogs. I am so thankful to read your story, get some ideas. Deep down I know she will be okay. My puggle, Gracie, basically has been on three legs during the five months we were going through the surgeries to “fix” her. So being three legged won’t be new to her.

    It’s heart wrenching for me. It was comforting to read that my heartache is normal.
    I’ll keep in touch and let you know how we are doing.

    Ps. Sorry, I can’t get the picture to link in or upload.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Michelle,

      Thanks for sharing Gracie’s story with us. How is she doing? Is she back home now? She sounds like an awesome girl and a big time sweetie! She is also young, and smaller dogs have less weight to carry, so they bounce back and adapt pretty quickly.

      Big hugs to Gracie. Shania sends her love and some wet Husky licks.

    • Michelle McNiven says

      Thanks for the reply. Gracie has been home for five days now. She has been very mellow, tired and sedated. Which is VERY strange compared to how she behaved with the other surgeries; however, is good, because she might let herself heal now.

      The amputee sight wasn’t as dramatic as I imagined in my mind. All I knew about amputees was what I saw in the movies. I imagined bloody gauzed bandages, and a stump. They took her shoulder blade as well as her leg. It’s a clean cut site and stitched really well. I haven’t had to deal with any blood, gauzes, or anything. Once the fur grows back, I think it will look really good – all things considered.

      She is beginning to get around better and better every day. The suggestion of rugs for traction I think has been very helpful. I can almost literally see the relief in her face when she is on a rug or traction strip (I laid down those shelf liners for traction strip) vs. plain wood floor. Along with the warning of how people behave when they see her. You are right about the kind of people who are out there. I have found a short version of my story to tell. (Which is great, cause I am so long winded!)

      Everyday is getting better. Every day I am feeling better about the decision. We are adjusting and we will get through it.

      Thanks for all your support. Give Shania cuddles from Gracie and Michelle.
      Thanks again for your site!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for the update. I am glad that things are going well and improving every day. Big hugs to Gracie. It is good that she has such an awesome mom!

  48. jeff says

    She is a doll. My Barton is a looker, too. He was hit by a truck at high-speed. He was left to die but crawled into the ditch where ice cold water from snow ran over the area he was hit (hips). he was in the Vet’s office within 15 minutes of being found thanks to a dear friend and his son who grabbed an old sprung cot as a strecher and a blanket.

    After three surgeries to save both legs it became obvious one was going to be all I could hope for. After his rear leg was amputated be began chewing his tail. I think it was due to his spine being broken right at the tail. I’ve broken my back 4 times so I know how it can feel. He couldn’t feel his tail. I had to have it removed, too.

    The first four months he was adjusting but after all is said and done he is as happy as ever, rarely shows any sign of pain and is as much a part of my family as I am. I admire him so much!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for sharing Barton’s story with us. It is amazing how quickly he adjusted to everything. Big hugs to your very brave and awesome boy!

  49. Jalene-Ann says

    Mahalo for the information. My baby girl, Li’i, has a growth on her right elbow which causes her pain and discomfort. Vet said it’s not cancerous but recommended that her arm be removed to help her as “dogs are resilient.” The information you shared is greatly appreciated. Aloha 🙂

  50. Amber says

    This touched my heart. I know im not the only person with a three-legged bestie, but it’s nice to be able to relate. I have an 8 yr old pom who lost his front right leg at 2 yrs. He runs and jumps off the couches and my bed. It’s amazing. I try to discourage him from doing things that might hurt him, but he’s a trooper. Thanks for making this website 🙂

    • shibashake says

      He sounds wonderful! Big hugs to your Pom and thanks for sharing his story with us. 😀

  51. Allie says

    What a lovely website! I have been thinking about adopting a puppy for a long time and just fell in love with a tripod online through petfinder. She’s 5 months old and I would love to give her a home. I guess I am a little nervous though, with all the care. I have my own health issues and I’m only 20. I think it would be a good fit, but still nervous!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Allie,

      Yeah, I was nervous and worried about Shania as well, after her surgery. I was not sure how well she would adapt and whether I would be able to help her with the transition. Happily, she adapted quite well and very quickly. I was very happy to see her running around playing and exploring in the backyard.

      Shania does require some added care and more supervision, but I am very glad to be part of her life. She is such an awesome girl. I still worry about her, and take special care to keep her safe. Very likely, I fuss over her too much, but she tolerates it with grace. I tell her it is my job to worry about her, and it is her job to be a happy dog. 😀

      Is your puppy a larger dog or a small dog? Is she missing a front leg or a back leg? Would love to hear more of her story and hope you will give us an update on what you decide.

  52. Madison says

    Hello! Last year I got a message from a friend saying someone was going to kill this little German shepherd puppy because she was born deformed. So I called the man and told him I would find her a home, little did I know this is going to be my now best friend. When I went to go get her, her deformity was more extensive that he said. She had a left from leg but it was locked in a bent position and only had one nail and was half the size and witch of her other legs. I took her to my vet and he said it had to be amputated. It was a long process but a yr later she is just as fast and full of energy as my other 4 legged dog. She has been the best dog I’ve had and she is so smart. She was recently registered as a service dog and I have plans for her to visit amputee hospitals for kids. I do worry she will have a shorter life do to joint problems or shoulder issues but she has definitely exceeded everyone’s expectations and is such a joy to have.

    • shibashake says

      She was recently registered as a service dog and I have plans for her to visit amputee hospitals for kids.

      That is such a good idea! Big hugs to your wonderful girl.

      You are three times a hero for saving her life, giving her a happy home, and training her to work with kids. Do you have any pictures online? Would love to see your girl.

  53. Kris says

    I just brought my boy, Jack home from the Vets after he left rear leg had to be amputated. He slipped his lead last Friday night and was hit by a car. He seems to be in really good spirits, although tired and in some pain. I did order an orthopedic dog bed for him which I think will help, especially for his healing process. I can’t believe how well he is doing just 3 days after surgery ! I am trying to keep positive and look forward to helping him adjust to all the new ways of doing things.

    • shibashake says

      I can’t believe how well he is doing just 3 days after surgery !

      Yeah, dogs are really amazing. They just get on with living life – they have fun, do all the things that they can do, and don’t worry about all the other stuff. I wish Shania would be more careful, but she thinks she is indestructible! 😀

      I am trying to keep positive and look forward to helping him adjust to all the new ways of doing things.

      I think that is a great attitude. The hardest part with Shania was keeping her activity level low until the stitches came out. She was raring to go.

      Big hugs to Jack. Glad to hear that he is recovering so well. He sounds like an awesome boy.

  54. Shane Matthys says

    My dog, Remington, is a lab/greyhound mix and is 8 years old. He has had a cancerous tumor on his left leg that has been rapidly growing over the last couple of months. We took him to our vet today and found out the best possible outcome is to remove his whole leg. The vet assured us that Remington would live happily even after being an amputee. This site has really helped me understand that an amputee pup is still the same old pup. Thank you very much!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Shane,
      Big hugs to Remington.

      When is he going in for surgery? Let us know how he is doing if you get the time. Shania sends her love and lots of licks.

  55. tiffany Wilson says

    today my poor baby cloe a chiwawa about 3 years of age. a very close member of our family was attacked by a bit pull. anyway the vet is amputating her front left leg tomorrow. witch concerns me of cores. im just hoping that she can become a happy bouncy dog that she was just this smorning.

    • shibashake says

      So sorry to hear about the attack.

      How did the operation go today? She is young and a small dog, so it sounds like she will bounce back quickly. Big hugs to your girl.

  56. Sheila says

    My 12 year old is having his hind leg off as we speak. He broke his leg Sept 1st, 2012 and he had a plate and 7 pin put in. Jan 2,2013 he had to have a bone graph. This past weekend I found out 3 of the 7 screws broke, so we have decide to have the surgery. My husband is not sure we made the right choise but he has been using only 3 legs since the surgery and I have read all the articles on 3 legged dogs, so I know he will just be fine in a couple of weeks. I will have to lok into carpet due to the fact all of the house is hardwood. We made him a ramp instead of the staries outside, which really hepled him be comfortable going out to do what ever and when he pleased. We will do anything we can do for our Buddy so we can enjoy him as long as we can.

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for sharing Buddy’s story with us.

      Is he back home? Hope he is doing well and big hugs.

    • Wendy says

      I hope your Buddy is doing well after his surgery? My 13 year old lab just had his right hind leg amputated. It feels like I am on a roller coaster- one day hopeful, one day pins and needles. If you would be willing to share more about how your old guy made it, I’d sure appreciate the morale boost.

  57. Tish says

    I have a three legged dog she is a year old Kelpie, she had her leg off at twelve weeks old after a very bad accident and breaks in seven places. The vet tried to realign and splint but it was never going to happen, being a vet nurse myself I suggested taking the leg off and It doesn’t bother her one bit. She is a working sheep dog in shearing sheds and does a fantastic job, she tires a lot quicker than the other dog and goes and has a swim or a lye down and she’s back working in a flash just needs regular breaks and she knows when she needs them. She is a much loved dog in the sheds and everyone Is blown away with the way she works. Just to be on the safe side and the fact that she is a working dog I have had the remaining front leg x-rayed just to check there is no damage or twisting from her work and all is fine. She is a happy healthy tripod who loves going to work, being sociable, playing with other dogs and being at home with the family.

    • Anonymous says

      it is always great to hear when a dog recovers. Yours was so young when it happened having four-legs now would seem strange to all concerned.

      While a working dog needs a purpose, I would be inclined to keep the tripod on very light duty and eventual “semi-retirement” soon. I realize there are two ways to look at it but my dog has a cruciate ligament torn in his only good rear leg. He shouldn’t be walking but nobody told him.

      It is getting stiffer and very arthritic, though. I need to drop his weight by about 10%.
      Great story…thanks!

  58. Larry says

    Thank you for posting this information. Websites like yours have been comforting and informative beyond what words can describe. Our beloved greyhound Keagen had his hind leg amputated in Sept 2012 after we learned that a leg break was actually caused by cancer. Like most here, we went through the full spectrum of emotion, but the happy ending is that after 4 months of chemotherapy, he is in good health and we hope for similar results during his quarterly checkups. I did want to share one suggestion. Keagen was having a very difficult time walking on our linoleum floor we tried carpets, runners, mats all of which would move causing him to slip. Finally we picked up a package of cork sub floor mats (about 6 per package) and strategically placed them on our floor with doublesided tape. Happy to report Keagen is no longer terrified of running to the backdoor and the look on his face when he realized he would no longer slip was priceless. Thank you again for having a place where people can share their experiences and ideas.

    • shibashake says

      Happy to report Keagen is no longer terrified of running to the backdoor and the look on his face when he realized he would no longer slip was priceless.

      That is awesome! A happy dog is priceless. 😀

      I have to try out the cork mats and see how it goes with Shania. She thinks she is indestructible and always leaps first before looking.

      Would love to see some pictures of Keagen. If you have some online, please post us a link. Big hugs!

  59. sarah says

    I just adopted a 3 legged dog. Originally I found him on the side of the road with a serious foot injury, unfortunately the front left leg had to be amputated. Its rainy and wet where I live, and the hardwood floors and front deck have caused a lot of falls. I went and bought dog shoes, ( Brand name Ruffwear), from the local outdoors store. Usually these are meant to put on dogs for long hikes, but Ive tried just putting one shoe on his front foot to help with gripping. Its worked perfectly!!! He was a little worried and confused at first having such a strange thing on his foot, but now he’s hopping all over our wet porch and floors without slipping! If any of you have a dog missing a front leg I want you to know that this is a great solution to slipping! Its probably wise not to leave the shoe on continuously, but on wet days or around the house its been a great solution. It seems dogs are more likely to slip and hit their faces when its a front leg thats missing, the shoe gives him the extra traction he needs now that his balance is off. Im so pleased.

    Thank you for this site, so many of my worries have been addressed here. It made me feel so much better to see your happy healthy dog who’s missing the same exact leg as mine. I was really stressed out specifically about it being a front leg. Thank you so much for taking the time to help all of us on our 3 legged dog adventures!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks Sarah. That is very useful information.

      I did consider getting some shoes for Shania but I wasn’t sure if it would stay on properly. Glad to hear that it works so well with your furry one. I also like the Ruffwear brand, so maybe it is time to give their shoes a try.

      Do you think size of the dog will affect how well the shoes work?

      Big hugs to your furry one and Happy Holidays!

  60. christine reval says

    Hi Sheba Shake!
    May i first say, you may be one of the reasons my little girl, Shasta is alive. After I found her, I was worried about the care and the extra needs of a three-legged dog. You put those fears aside. I now am the proud momma of a three-legged rescue, Shasta.
    I have 2 questions for you though. (Btw, she is missing half of her right-front), so one, does Shiba’s opposite front leg have any issues? Bending inwards or anything?
    Second, (she is a lab/border collie mix about 25 lbs), did Shiba ever experience dogs picking on her? My pup is not even 1 yr yet and has recently been back-to-back attacked by a bull terrier and a pit. The vet thinks it’s because she is missing a leg and therefor is the weaker one.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Love, a new three-legged, proud momma. And by the way, thank you for being the one resource I found that helped aid my decision to rescue a three-legged.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Christine,

      Congratulations on your new furry family member!

      1. Husky Shania also has a missing front leg. Her remaining front leg is bigger and more muscular, because it has to support more weight. She also uses it for digging, holding bones, etc. Luckily, there were no issues with that leg. The surgeon did x-rays of all her legs, and it was only the one leg that had the disconnected bones. I do not notice any inward bending.

      I carefully manage her and protect her, so that we minimize accidental leg sprains and such. I also clip her foot hair so that she has better grip. I check her paw pads often to make sure they are healthy and I try to prevent her from walking on rocky surfaces.

      2. Shania is more vulnerable during play and can get overwhelmed by other dogs. I make sure to only do very small and highly supervised play groups. I have strict rules during playtime and I step in if any dog is getting overwhelmed or being bullied. I also have safe zones, and I throw in many play-breaks to manage excitement levels. I don’t bring Shania to enclosed dog parks because there are too many dogs, and too little supervision.

      It is difficult to say if Shania gets picked on more by other dogs. I think she does — but I am extra protective of Shania, so that may be coloring my perception. Also, she does not have as good balance because of her missing leg, so she may fall more or get overwhelmed more easily, which probably also affects my perception of things.

      Whatever the case, I try to make sure that we don’t get into negative situations. Off-leash neighborhood dogs are sometimes a problem, so I avoid certain houses, especially when they have their garage doors open. We got charged a few times, but luckily, the owners have been good about keeping their dogs secured after they realized that it is dangerous for Shania.

      Where did Shasta get charged? Was it from off-leash dogs? Were the owners there to secure their dogs?

      Happy Holidays and big hugs to Shasta! Shania sends her love and lots of licks.

  61. Haley T. says

    I found your website when i googled ‘3-legged dog care’ and this was really helpful! I had to go back and write down all the information though so I wouldn’t forget! Me and my family are adopting a 3-legged black lab mix (she looks like a pure-bred but we haven’t gotten her YET) from North Carolina, and we live 40 mins south-ish of Cincinnati, Ohio, and we have gotten 3 wonderful people to help us get her so the pound wouldn’t euthanize her! Her story is the same as your Husky’s story, but she was also born with no pads on the bottom of her feet (her leg still folds up into her chest though) but she doesn’t know how to walk on 3 legs yet because the pound had kept her and her siblings in such a small cage that they could barely walk, so we are all excited that we were able to save this poor puppy’s life!

  62. says

    Hi! I found your website as I have recently been caring for a dog who had his leg amputated. He looks like a Shiba Inu. I can’t figure out how to post a pic on here but I wanted to see if you thought that he looks like the breed! He resembles your dog Sephy quite a bit! I have appreciated all your tips on caring for a tripod dog thank you! Oh, any pointers on how to post a pic?

    • shibashake says

      Hi Lisa,

      If you have his picture up on your website, feel free to post a link. I would love to have a look. Otherwise, we can hook up on Facebook or through email. Let me know what works best.

      Btw. love the pictures on your site. You are so lucky to have grown up among so many furry friends!

  63. Laura Greene says

    Thank you for the excellent advice. We’re currently fostering a three legged chocolate lab. Your experience will help us tremendously as we care for her and wait for her forever home. (which may be us) She is overweight and had to stay in her crate for 30 days since she had the serious heartworm injections. She is among my family and fur family now. We consider ourselves blessed to have her here and want to help her get her in good health. Her name is “Victory” aka Vicky.

    • shibashake says

      What an awesome name and great story!

      Very big hugs to Vicky. I am so glad she has found a loving and caring family.

      I would love to hear more about Vicky, so please let us know how it goes with her. Also post us some picture links when you have the time. 😀

  64. Yara says

    My baby, Mira just shy of 4 months, jumped out of my car at 40mph a few days ago. She doesn’t have any feeling in the leg so the doctor thinks we’re going to have to amputate it.

    Right now the legs in a splint for a broken elbow and to help with possible healing on the off chance the leg will regain feeling. It doesn’t phase her one bit. I came home and she tried to jump all over me hours after leaving the vet. 😀 She just cries because we won’t let her play with the other dogs right now, doc said bed rest, so bed rest she gets.

    I wanted to thank you for the article it was really helpful. I’m the kind of person who reads about the things that stress her out. It helps me come to terms with it I guess and this was the most helpful article I’ve seen yet. You’re pup is beautiful and I hope he continues to do well. 😀

    • shibashake says

      She just cries because we won’t let her play with the other dogs right now

      Yeah, that was also the hardest part with Shania. She was all ready to go and did not understand why she couldn’t play with Sephy. Luckily, she really loves food, so we kept her busy with frozen Kongs.

      I’m the kind of person who reads about the things that stress her out.

      Me too. Helps me put things into perspective and come up with a plan. I am big on plans. 😀

      Big hugs to Mira and everyone else in her furry gang!

    • Haley T. says

      i can relate to your dog! i had recently got hip surgery and there’s a part in my leg that i can’t feel anything in that spot. Honestly, in my opinion, if she still USES the leg, i wouldn’t amputate it, i have a dog that was hit by a car when she was a puppy so she limbs on her 3 legs (her back left leg is the one that is injured.) but when she runs or she gets excited, she uses all 4, but the vet she went to when she first got hit told us to just amputate her leg cuz it would just ‘get in the way’….but we found out that it was all just a over-exageration

  65. Amanda says

    Hi.. I have a 3 legged dog( missing front leg) name Russell and was wondering if anyone knows where I can find a harness for him. All the ones found at places like petco are not made for 3 legged dogs… Thanks

    • shibashake says

      Hello Amanda,
      I was using the RuffWear Web Master Harness with Shania when she was younger. It is a heavy-duty harness and worked quite well with her. The only problem was that Shania would often get too hot while wearing it, but may be less of an issue with a shorter coated dog.

      This article has a picture of Shania wearing the harness-

  66. Jane says

    I luv that u help all those dogs I was wondering since my great Dane got hit by a car my vet told us that amputation would be to harsh on her do u know why (the vet put her to sleep at 10 months)

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jane,

      I am sorry to hear about the accident. In terms of amputation, I can only speculate since I am not a vet and do not know the particulars of the situation.

      What Shania’s doctor told us is that being a three legged dog means that more stress will be placed on the joints of her remaining legs. Dogs carry more of their weight on the front, so missing a front leg (as is the case with Shania) is a bit harder than missing a back leg. Also, larger dogs have to carry more weight, so that will increase joint stress.

      The doctor says that this may cause arthritis and other joint issues when she is older.

      I try to be more careful with Shania in terms of her daily activities, but it is also important that she should enjoy life, enjoy the awesomeness of being a dog, and enjoy being a Siberian Husky.

    • Jane says

      Oh ok I got a new dog tho he’s a dachshund so right now I’m so joy ful thanks so much bye

  67. Katelynn says

    Hi! My name is Katelynn, and today we found out that my 10 month old baby is going to be a Tripawd in two days!! She was my sixteenth birthday present, and the best thing that’s happened in my life!!!! 🙂 Of course all I could do was cry from the vet to home, but after doing a little research, I found your site, and I have to say that your story has made me realize that my little girl will be ok in the long run!! Thank you so much!!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Katelynn,

      Yeah, I was also destroyed when the bone specialist diagnosed Shania. But she recovered very well and has been bouncy and crazy ever since. 😀

      I still worry about her more than I should, but often she would just give me this look as if to say, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

      Big hugs to your little girl! If you have the time, please let us know how things go.

  68. Terrie Fortney says

    Thank you for the info on three legged dogs, I just adopted one he is a doberman has his rear leg amupated, is 5 months old he slipped on the steps coming into the house due to rain, he cryed in pain took to emergency vet they took exrays and has a popped disk put him on pain meds and muscle relaxer then my regular vet put him on a antiflamitory, tody he is kind of dragging that back legacy suggestions taking him to chripractor on Saturday thanks so much

    • shibashake says

      Hello Terrie,
      How is your Dobbie feeling? Sometimes, it takes a while for the leg to heal and be fully weight-bearing again. Shania recently hurt one of her rear legs during play. She was totally out of it and in pain after getting home from the emergency room. She got better after a couple of days, but I kept things really quiet for her for a while.

      Rain is not Shania’s friend either. Now I try to dry her feet when she gets in from the rain. Trimming the hair around her foot pad also helps her get a better grip.

      Big hugs to your little guy. Hope he is feeling better.

  69. Eric says

    I have a three legged coyote mix named Ruby, and I feel that calling her tripod is like calling a person in a wheel chair iron sides. I do not care for it, it is derogatory. That is just our opinion.

    • shibashake says

      I am not sure why calling a dog “three legged” is descriptive but “tripod” is derogatory. As far as I can tell, there are no negative connotations associated with the word “tripod”, nor have I heard anyone use it in a derogatory fashion with respect to dogs. Perhaps, it is just because the word is less common.

      In any case, Shania’s best friends are the people who give her cookies, tummy rubs, and are positive as well as friendly. She puts less weight on the words that people use, and more on their actions and state of mind. She is a clever girl.

    • Anonymous says

      I agree. My dog is going to have his front leg amputated next week. He is 16 months old. He jumped out of a moving jeep at about 30mph. My son was holding the leash and the dog jumped out the side of the jeep and thank goodness the leash broke because who knows how much worse it could have been. I think it is going to be harder for me and my family to deal with then the dog dealing with it. He gets around pretty good now and he has no use of the leg. So he is only using three legs

  70. Shari Haynes says

    I’ve been reading your information on owning a tripod dog. The information has been very helpful
    We have been thinking about adopting a 9 month old blue healer/lab. She is a beautiful well mannered girl.
    My concerns on getting her are more long term complications. She lost her leg due to a bad injury.
    As well I have two young children who have fallen in love with her. Do you think she would be harder to care for with children in the home, wanting to play with her all the time?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Shari,
      My tripod, Shania, was very active as a puppy. She did not let her missing leg slow her down, and totally wore out my other dog with her playing. It was difficult for me to keep up with her, and keep her occupied. 😀

      I did take special care, especially with slippery surfaces and elevated surfaces. I also made sure that other dogs did not bully her, but overall energy level was not a problem.

      She did have her own enclosure though, that she could go into for some rest. I tried to make sure that she did not overdo things. Still, as I remember it, she tired everyone else out. 😀

  71. Norma says


    I have a puppy who was born with 3 legs, missing a front leg. I have been trying to find support information on caring for one. My pup loves to run and play, but he has injured one of his back legs twice already. In fact we are off to the vet shortly. I’m concerned for the long term problems like arthritis, curving of the spine, and injuries since he is just a pup and has a LONG way to go. Is there any advice you can give me that you found helpful with your little guy?


    • shibashake says

      Hello Norma,

      Some of the things that I do with my 3 legged Siberian Husky, Shania –
      1. I give her a Glucosamine tablet every day to help with the joints based on the advice of my vet. Definitely consult with your vet in terms of dosage as it will be dependent on size.
      2. I make sure that my other dogs don’t play too rough with her and I also have a no-getting-on-furniture rule. Jumping off elevated surfaces will be very bad for Shania since she is missing a front leg.
      3. It is better to walk a 3 legged dog on more flat surfaces, but this is not always possible. Getting down hills puts more pressure on their leg joints.

      Here are more of the things that I do with Shania –

      One of the most challenging aspects of living with a 3 legged dog is balancing between happiness and safety. In general, I try to let Shania do all the things that she enjoys but I manage her environment carefully and try to direct her towards lower impact activities.

      Hugs to your puppy. How did the vet visit go?

  72. Sara says

    Hi-My name is Sara & I adopted a 3 legged Jack Russell. He is just 2 years old & built like a linebacker! My question is I’m not sure what type of collar/harness to put him in. He pulls & chokes himself during walks but I’m not a regular harness will work? Any suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Sara,
      Shania used the Ruffwear Web Master Harness when she was younger and it worked very well for her.

      It is a nice heavy duty harness that gives a tripod good support. In the hot weather though, it got a bit too hot for Shania, since she has a double coat. But this is likely not as big an issue with a Jack Russell.

      Another thing I noticed is that a harness gives the dog even more power to pull. As a result they are difficult to use to leash train a larger sized dog.

  73. Leslie says

    My family adopted a tripod 3 months ago, and she is amazing. We were told she lost a battle with a badger and needed to have her front right leg amputated when she was 2. She is now 6 and gets around very well. We watch her weight and take her on 2 walks a day and supplement her with Glucosamine(HCI) She is an amazing addition to our family!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for sharing your story with us Leslie. Also some great advice on 3-legged dog care –

      watch her weight
      take her on 2 walks a day
      supplement her with Glucosamine(HCI)

      I just started with the glucosamine pills a few months ago on the recommendation of my vet.

  74. Haley says

    Hello I have a dog with 3 legs . She is missing the front rte. When young she fell out of a moving car. She is now 2 and she limps realy hard. I was wondering if there is a wheels char I can get. I saw some for dogs with 2 legs gon but idk if there is some for 3 legs. If u know of a web sight pleas messeg me thank you

    • shibashake says

      Hello Haley,

      The Tripawds forum is a great place to connect with other 3-legged dog owners and get information.

      The handicappedpets.com site also seems to have some good information about dog wheelchairs, although I haven’t bought anything from them, so I cannot say how good they really are.

      Try posting these questions on the tripawds site. There are many great dog owners there who are very knowledgeable.

  75. Joseph says

    I read your website and it has helped with a lot.I recently adopted a 3 legged rat terrier he lost his leg as a puppy due to a accident.Ive been doing some reading and should I get him a elevated food bowl and should I put a ramp leading to my bed so it wont jump up there

    • shibashake says

      Hello Joseph,
      Congratulations on your new dog and kudos for adopting a three legged dog.

      The elevated bowls are helpful to Shania because she is a larger dog, and would otherwise have to bend quite a bit, thereby putting additional stress on her one front leg.

      I would observe your new dog and see how he does. Since he is a smaller breed, he may be fine without it.

      The ramp is a good idea. Make sure to train him on how to use the ramp properly with fun and food rewards. Go slowly and do not rush him up the ramp so that he always associates it with something positive.

      Do you have a picture link? Would love to see him. What is his name?

  76. Luckie says

    This is a really good page that you’ve set up. I actually confirmed the decision to adopt a four-year-old, three-legged sharpei mix from the Humane Society after reading the info that you have provided. Your input has helped me tremendously! Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for your comment Luckie and congratulations on your new dog! You are truly awesome for helping out a dog in need.

      I love the look of shar-peis. They always look like they are deep in thought like a philosopher 🙂 Drop us some pictures when you can.

  77. doggg says

    hey my dog is called gypsy and she has bone cancer i am really upset and she might have to have her leg cut off and if she doesn’t then she will be put to sllep. i was wondering do dogs cope well with three legs and does it hurt the ??

    • shibashake says

      Sorry to hear about the bone cancer.
      I think that dogs can have very full and happy lives even after amputation. There are many comments on this article with great stories from people with three legged dogs.

      Also check out the tripawds site. They have a great community there, and many members have had to go through cancer and amputation with their dogs.

      Hugs, kisses, and licks to Gypsy. Let us know how things go.

  78. mandy says

    hi my dog cookie recently got her front right leg amputated about 11 days ago due to a tumour yesterday I had to take her back to the vets as she has skinned her pad of one of her back paws. does anyone know if this is common and what I can do to prevent this. she now has a bandage on her back leg for 3 days and is struggling to walk. Many thanks for all your tips they were really helpful

    • shibashake says

      Shania does run around a lot so she does get cracks and such on her pads because she places more weight on them. Sometimes, while playing with my other dog, she will also skid on the grass. I put DermaPaw on her pads which has helped.

      In general, when they are playing I make sure they play on the grass rather than on the concrete. Having many carpets around the house also helped.

      Foot issues can also sometimes be from allergies and chewing on the paw.
      Keep activity low and supervise whenever she is outside to make sure that she doesn’t overstress herself while things are healing.

      You can also repost your question on the tripawds site –
      tripawds.com. There are many people there with a lot of knowledge and experience on three legged dogs.

  79. Sue says

    One of our rescue dogs just lost her front feet due to complications of a surgery to remove what was thought to be an abdominal tumor. I can find no help for a two legged dog. What kind of life is this dog going to have?

    • shibashake says

      Hi Sue,
      That is a tough situation.

      I know there are companies that produce strap on wheels that will enable a two legged dog to maintain a good amount of mobility. However, I have not had any personal experience with this, so I cannot say what the quality of life is for the dog. I imagine it will be different for different dogs, depending on their temperament.

      Shania I think could adapt well to something like that, but Shiba Inu Sephy would have real problems with it.

      Hugs to you and your dog. Let us know how it goes.

  80. Julie says

    Hi, This may sound strange but I am looking for your thoughts on if I would be doing my dog an injustice or making his life worse by amputating his hind leg. Sad thing is I dont have to dont even know if the vet will let me. I have a surgical consult next week. He has a cruciate ligament injury which seems like no big deal, common problem for dogs and there are 3 different surgeries. However, he already has a plate in that leg because he broke his femur bone as a puppy. So he is already getting arthritis and with the new surgery he will get even more. I had to keep him quiet from the time he was 5 months old til 1-1/2 years old. It was not easy!!! He is a very very active boxer. So the thought of crating him again and then thoughts of him having severe arthristis later which will limit his activity due to pain. I am wondering if he would be better off to have his leg amputated. It is not just cause I dont want to keep him quiet I just want him to be able to do what he loves the best which is laps thru the field and back around thru the paddock he has his own little track in his head at least. I want him to be able to run and be happy for the most amount of time possible. And all these dogs seem so happy! Please help. Thanks Julie & Whitee

    • shibashake says

      Yeah I was in a similar position with my Siberian Husky. There was a possibility of doing surgery to straighten her leg bones – but I had to weigh that against the down time and multiple surgeries she would have to go through.

      Ultimately, I decided to try the straightening surgery because she was very young, and I wanted to try and do all that I could to save the leg. She would have to go through some short-term badness but I think the long-term good would have been worth it.

      Sadly though, the leg straightening operation did not work, so they had to amputate ultimately. Still though, I was glad I tried it or else I would always be wondering if I could have saved her leg.

      I still wish the bone straightening thing had succeeded. She has a lot of fun now, but many things would be easier for her with 4 legs – including wrestling, digging, and many of the physical things she likes to do.

      It is a tough decision … my bias is towards only doing amputation as a last resort.

  81. Dylan says

    Great article. Thanks! I just adopted a three-legged dog last week. Her previous owners didn’t know how she lost her leg, since they got her that way too. Anyway, she needed a new home. Her name is Misty.

    • shibashake says

      Kudos to you for adopting a dog in need, especially a 3 legged dog. Great name too!
      I think tripods are pretty amazing. Shania just goes about her business and it is usually the humans who make a big deal about the missing leg. 🙂

  82. bellavista says

    My three legged greyhound has just died of a very swollen spleen, apparently athletes can have this problem I wonder if the uneven distribution of weight damages the spleen????

    she was 8 years old her name was twiggy and my heart is broken.

    • shibashake says

      I am so sorry to hear that bellavista. My heart would be broken too.

      Sounds like Twiggy had a great and active life, with a very loving family. And you will always have her with you, in your heart.
      [[[ HUGS ]]]

  83. Mary says

    I have a tri pod dog!! I dearly love him. His leg was amputated about March 09. He still can’t walk around the block. He goes 5 or 7 houses up the street and then back and exhausted. Now his back leg may have a touch of arthritus. Is there a good leash which I can use my on weight to help hold him up so he does not tire easily. He used to train with me for my 1/2 marathon.. Any help or ideas would be beneficial!!

    • shibashake says

      That would be a great thing to have, but I do not know of any such thing. I do sometimes use a harness on my tripod so that I can give her better support, but only when she trips and such. I also stop a lot on our walks so that Shania can rest whenever she wants.

      I have also heard that hydro-therapy can be helpful for a tripod with arthritis issues, but I have not tried it out personally. Theoretically, the hydro-therapy can help them build up muscle strength without placing too much stress on their joints.

      Have you been to tripawds.com? They have a fairly active community, so you may want to pose your very good question there as well.

      Let me know how it goes and if you find any good solutions.

  84. Joel Stewart says

    Have you found that three legged dogs have problems with their ears (dirt, wax, infections) as they may unable to scratch the ear like their four legged companions? Our Freddy is starting to get a dirty build up in the ear on the side he is missing his rear leg.

    • shibashake says

      Joel, That is a very good point and I should include it in the article.

      You are right that tripods do seem to be more susceptible to ear infections. My girl can’t balance very well, and when she scratches her ear she tends to do it very hard. This tends to break the skin, which causes the dirt to get in, which makes things worse.
      Last year she developed an ear infection and we had to treat it with ear solution from the vet.

      Now, I clean out her ears regularly with a wipe. Thanks for bringing up this very important point.

  85. havoc says

    I have a wonderful tripod named Philo. She is a 4yr old American Bulldog and lost her right back leg to cancer 2yrs ago.
    Prior to amputation she was toy and food aggressive. Because of her spazzy and crazy energy we didn’t allow her to really socialize post amputation. About 3 months post-amputation she exhibited fierce dog aggression and we’ve since kept her away from other dogs. My question is has anyone ever seen a dogs aggressive behavior rehabbed post amputation?
    For the first time ever, she did enjoy a side by side walk w/ my friend and her very mellow dog. It was amazing!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello havoc,
      Shania’s behavior did not really change post amputation. Since she was born with a crooked leg, I don’t think things changed too much for her. She has always been very submissive wrt. other dogs, so I always supervise and make sure that nobody is bullying or overwhelming her.
      I think Philo probably feels more uncertain around other dogs, especially high energy dogs. One thing that may help is to slowly desensitize her to other dogs, starting with your friend’s mellow dog. As she gets more and more positive experiences with other dogs, she will gain confidence, and that will help with the aggression.

      Here are some of the techniques that helped me with my dogs wrt. food aggression and dog reactivity,

      Love to Philo and congrats on the walk. I think the fact that she can succeed in the walk, shows it is a behavior that you can rehabilitate.

  86. Jenny says

    My girl Belle recently became a 3-legged dog. It has been just over a week since her surgery. Cause was a large tumor. You have given me many things to consider. Both my dogs are voice trained and responed well. We just went to the park for the first time. They had a blast. She is not running yet, but loved walk/hopping around. She was all grins. Your page has made me realize that she does need more than just a collar. I realize that I could easily throw her off balance when they are on leash. I will be getting her a new harness soon. One that is padded so as not to chaff the 2 inches of leg that is left. Plus, when we start making the 40 minute trek to the dog park I will be very careful until I am certain she is at ease with the other dogs there. Thank you very much.


    • shibashake says

      Hello Jenny, Glad to hear that Belle is doing so well. She sounds like an awesome girl with a very awesome mom 🙂

  87. Jay and Gaby says

    Well, all these info and comments from others who have tripod dogs have been so helpfull to us because last week our lovely Ralph was hit by a car and lost his back right leg, we were just so sad but after he left the hospital it was like nothing happened, he is walking, of course in a small area, little by little but it is amazing how they recover so fast, still it is sad to see him like that, but I am sure as soon as his hair grows back, it will be just the same Ralph as always because all he cares about is to be with us….We are just very upset because the driver run away and he was speeding in a very quiet neighborhood where there are so many kids and dogs, I have to say thank God it was a dog and not a kid, I just can not imagine how this person will live with that in his mind, but I believe in Karma 🙂 anyway, the bill was just huge and we made the mistake of not having our dog insuranced so please I just ask to everyone who has pets, get insurance because that can help a lot……Thank you for this space and good luck to every person who is going through something like this.

  88. Laurel says

    Hi there! I have 3 adopted tripods – two are missing a back leg and one is missing a front leg. I was wondering if you give your dog a glucosamine supplement and if so, what kind you give? My 10 year old is developing significant arthritis and I have him on Cosequin. But I want to get my other two on something now.

    • shibashake says

      That is amazing. Kudos to you for helping out so many dogs in need.

      I do give Shania glucosamine tablets. I used to give her chicken jerky treats that contain glucosamine as an additive, but now I just give her a glucosamine tablet per day.

      I did ask Shania’s surgeon about supplements, and my best interpretation of his doctor speak is that I don’t really need to give Shania any supplements, but glucosamine is fine because it isn’t going to hurt her – lol. That’s a doctor for ya.

  89. Melynda says

    Thanks so much for the information you have here. We are adopting Okemo a tripod boxer (friday can’t come soon enough) and I have been serching for information. It was nice to have many of my questions answered all in one place!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations Melynda! And extra Kudos licks for adopting a tripod dog!

      I am very glad I have Shania – she brings happy licks and her bouncy sunshine energy wherever she goes. 🙂

      Give Okemo an extra hug from me on Friday! Very exciting. Also drop us a picture link when you get the chance.

  90. Janet says

    I have a border collie who was initially a farm dog from Ireland. He was hit by a farm vehicle and had his front leg amputated when he was about 4/5 months old. He came to me at 7 months old. He had lots of fears at first but we gradually worked through them. Unfortunately he is still terrified of children and will bark if they come near him which we haven’t been able to change. He absolutely adores adults and will do anything for a fuss. We have however noticed that over the last four weeks he has suddenly stopped to rest far more than usual. After several runs chasing a ball he lies down and this continue until we arrive home. I take water but this doesn’t make any difference. I do not take him for long walks but he is still having difficulty. He is just under 3 years old. He does tend to pant heavily even in cooler weather.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Janet,

      You may have already done this, but I would definitely take him to the vet.

      Shania tires a lot more easily in hot weather, but when it cools down at night – she goes a bit nuts letting out all her energy that she accumulated during the hot day.

      Do you notice your boy being more active at night? How is his appetite? How are his movements? Sometimes, it could be a joint issue.

      Definitely see what the vet says. Hopefully, it is just the weather, but better to make sure it is not something else.

  91. Paula says

    We have a rescued 10 month old 80# Great Dane mix (we think). Gretchen was born with a deformed left front leg that was smaller than the rest of her legs. My main concern is her size. The amputation was done when she was just a few months old. She gets around pretty well, but I have concerns about keeping her weight in check. We have a 3 year old AmStaff and they play like there’s no tomorrow! The vet recommended we take her off the puppy food & go to adult formula, but did not want us to switch to reduced calorie. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Also I am considering purchase of the WebMaster halter that I saw on Tripawd.com. Have you used one? Is it helpful. Thanks! Paula

    • shibashake says

      I share the same concerns as you do. Our surgeon did advise us to keep Shania on the slim side. I am careful about how much I feed her, but I feed her regular adult kibble.

      I also bought a home scale so that I could check her weight regularly and make sure she is not putting on more than she should. I adjusted her food intake some initially to make sure that she stayed at a healthy weight.

      I think the best thing is to check with your vet and get some second opinions online as to what is a healthy weight for Gretchen, given her breed, age, height, etc. Then adjust the amount you feed her to maintain that healthy weight. Personally I would go with the regular adult food as that is formulated for a normal, healthy, adult dog, which is what Gretchen is. The reduced calorie food, as I understand it is formulated for overweight dogs, which Gretchen is not.

      And yes I also have a RuffWear WebMaster harness. I like the way it is built and it provides good support for Shania. There are two key issues with it though for me –

      1. It does make Shania hot because it covers a large part of her body. This will be less of an issue with you given that Gretchen probably does not have the thick double coat that Shania has.

      2. Shania can pull like a train when she has the harness on. Ultimately I just ended up using the head-halti when I take her on long walks in the park. In the neighborhood, I am training her – slowly – not to pull on a regular flat collar.

      Since Gretchen is much larger, it may not be feasible to use the harness if she is a big puller.

      Hope this helps. You are awesome to rescue a dog! Congratulations on your new puppy 🙂

    • Paula says

      Thank you for your answers, we appreciate the help and advice. Gretchen’s coat is very similar to a Rott’s coat, course & short. I feel so bad for her when she goes to lie down as she uses her chin as a “guide” and has rubbed most of the fur off of it. We try to get her to lie down on a soft blanket, but in the heat (St. Louis) she would much rather lie on the tile, or carpet. I will give the harness some thought. I have not tried a head harness, not sure that I’ve seen one. Will take a look at Petsmart next time I’m there. Thanks for everything, I learned alot on your website. Have a great 4th of July!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks Paula, Shania is the same way in terms of wanting to lie on the tile. She will sometimes go on her elevated bed tho – which is pretty cool because there is air circulation underneath. She also has a cool water bed for at night.

      More information on dog beds –

      The Gentle Leader head halti is useful for a large dog that pulls. So it all depends on how Gretchen is on a leash. If she does not pull much, then I would definitely go with the Ruffwear body harness because it really does provide good body support. Siberians are big pullers tho – so it is pretty much impossible to train/walk Shania on just the harness. More information on head-halti –


      Happy July 4th weekend! Hugs to Gretchen 🙂

  92. lozzabg says

    hi all,

    Just thought id ask you guys what i should do about my new rescue… ive only had 7 month old, Meisie for about two weeks (note my story above) and she is doing great. we got her home soon after her rear leg amputation and she has soon built up her strength and is now running round like a loony toon!

    Im really pleased with how well she has adpted in such a short time but now i fear she is getting a little too daring. she runs into the kitchen at full pelt and just slides on the floor. it is carpet so its not even that slidy!! she seems to love it and wont listen when i tell her to slow down. should i keep her out of there or let her have fun?

    I know i sound like a wittling mother but she really is my baby and although i want her to lead a life as any four legged dog would i dont want her to get hurt.

    What do you guys do?

    Oh and i am also pleased to report, that i have taught her to sit. She now sits for everything because she knows shes going to get lots of fuss!! hehe.

    • shibashake says

      “Oh and i am also pleased to report, that i have taught her to sit. She now sits for everything because she knows shes going to get lots of fuss!!”

      YAY! Way to go!

      “should i keep her out of there or let her have fun?”

      Hard to say without being there and seeing things. With a 3 legged dog it is always a difficult line to walk between safety and living a full life. I do my best to ensure that Shania doesn’t take extreme risks – e.g. playing on the stairs, but other times I let play in her hyper style. 😀

      Shania will sometimes slide on the rugs too, but unlike the tile floor, it is a controlled slide and she doesn’t lose her balance and fall. I observe her closely to make sure what she is comfortable with, what I am comfortable with, and try to strike a balance.

      Glad to hear that Meisie is doing so well! Give her a cookie from me for being so clever with her training!

  93. Dawn says

    Thank you for this site! We adopted Mabel yesterday. She’s a 4 year old greyhound/dalmatian mix. Right rear leg gone for 1.5 years after an auto accident. We’re trying to adapt her 35 pound frame to her 95 pound younger, hyper brother. I’m going out at lunch to buy an outdoor rug for our sidewalk which was slick this morning and she tumbled playing. Thanks so much for all the wonderful advise. My shopping list has glucosamine, harness, foot cream, and more rugs!!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your adoption! 🙂 She sounds like a really beautiful girl.

      And yeah you can never really have enough rugs – lol. My girl is also very hyper. She is either on or off – no in-between settings needed. Just make sure not to let them play while going up and down the stairs. When Shania is on the stairs I make sure my Shiba doesn’t bother her.

      Hugs and kisses to Mabel!

  94. Laura Gregory says

    We have just adopted Meisie after a painful 4 weeks. she was taken into the rescue centre as a stray who had been hit by a car and broke her right hind leg. She had a cast put on by the wardens vet and was cage bound for 3 weeks. The first time we saw her we fell in love, and visited her every day. she got quieter and quieter, until she didnt even lift up her head when we arrived. After all that time another vet checked her. The leg had been fused in the wrong place and her skin had rotted. She had an open wound over 2inches long! The vet amputated her leg and we went to collect her two days later. she was up wagging her tail and i dont think it has stopped since!!

    1 week on she is doing great. she is playing with toys again running round the back garden and playing with other dogs. She is our special little girl and we will give her all the love her little heart can take.

    There was no doubt in our heads that we were still going to adopt her despite the amputation and sites like this really do help.

    You may be able to help with a few questions though….

    she doesnt seem to like going out on walks – she stops all the time. at first i thought she was tired… so after a while i picked her up and carried her home BUT when she gets home she runs round on the back garden like a loopy loo! any ideas?

    How to teach her to sit? she doesnt seem to like it… should we bother?

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new dog. I am always so happy to see people like you who are not only willing to rescue a dog in need, but also a dog with special needs.

      Re Walks – Meisie may feel a bit unsure of herself when she is outside. One thing you can try is to take some really yummy food with you. Then during the walk, try playing the Find-It game with her. Take out a yummy treat and throw it a very short distance away from her and say “Find-It”, when she gets it – get really happy, praise her well, and repeat. Once she understands the game, you can try throwing it a bit farther away. Later on, you can even throw in a Recall. This will make walking seem more like fun, and she will quickly forget about her fears.

      You can also try playing games with her outside using her favorite toys. This way she will start to associate positive things with her walk.

      Also make the walks shorter initially, and let her stop and smell bushes and such whenever she wants to.

      Re Sit – Hmmm I am not sure about this one. Shania is missing one of her front legs so she does not have problems doing a Sit. If Meisie has issues with it – I would say forget about it and just get her to do other commands that she can more comfortably and happily perform. Down is always a good one to have, and I find that Rolling onto their Side is also a very good one especially during grooming 🙂

      Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes and hugs to Meisie.

    • Laura Gregory says


      Meisie and I started puppy training class last thursday and did realy well. i was so pleased that meisie showd all the four legged dogs that she was as good (if not better) than them. However the trainer kept on saying ‘Meisie doesnt have to do this if she cant manage it’ ‘You just sit this one out’ it really annoyed me, especially as Meisie as we have worked hard teaching her all the basic commands and i had informed the instructor of this before attending the class.

      At the end of the session the instructor took one more step to annoy me by saying that we are doing too much with her. Now its made me worry!

      We have only taught her basic positions (sit, down, stay, leave, drop) and take her on two walks a day – one in the morning 15mins and one at night about 30 mins. Is this too much? she said that we were putting her at high risk of a hip replacement. I really dont want her to experience the pain she has in the past and definately dont want it to be because of us ‘pushing her too much’

      When we initially saw the vet post op he said to let her lead the way (only go as far as she felt comfortable) doing the ammount we are doing at the moment she still gets back and goes ‘loopy loo’ in the garden so blatently not tired.

      What do you think? should we reduce her walks and do less with her? she is on her own in the day time so dont want her to have too much unused energy while we are not there (not saying i want her to sleep all day!)

      Thanks in advance


    • shibashake says

      Personally, I think you are doing the right thing.

      Shania is out walking for about 1.5-2 hours total every day. Dogs need their exercise and they need to be out and about to explore the environment. If they have to stay home all of the time, they would get bored very quickly and not enjoy life very much.

      As for the joints, your trainer is right in that three legged dogs do place more weight and therefore more stress on their joints. They will probably get arthritis and other joint issues earlier than other dogs because of this.

      However, if dogs are not walked, they will have pent up energy and will need to release that doing running around at home anyway.

      There are probably some things that we can do to reduce joint stress – e.g. walk on even, flat terrain, and don’t let her jump too much. However, at some point, dogs should get to enjoy their lives.

      Shania likes rough-housing, running around, and going out on walks just as much as the next dog. I let her do these things, but just make the environment safe for her with rugs, no holes, no stick piles, no playing on stairs, etc. I also make sure not to overtire her and to give her lots of rest breaks.

      Your vet can probably give you the best advice on this issue since he knows Meisie’s full medical history.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  95. Trina says

    Hi there shibashake,

    thought i would let you know that i have been searching for a site with insite on 3 legged dogs and yours has been by far the most helpful!

    My 1 1/2 yr old white female boxer chica had her left leg amputated.. she is such a beautiful puppy, so sad this happened. She was playing in our yard with her little brother 6 months old, and some how tumbled so badly she broke her left elbow in 4 spots. 3 different vets and a specialist told us to amputate, it was so severe they thought she had been hit by a car.

    Finally we found a vet willing to do the surgery but during the surgery we got a call today that he found multiple hair line fractures and nerve damage and a chance the leg might die after he tries to put it back together because of blood flow.. she is my best friend and i dont know what its going to be like when we get her ina few days.. I am so worried, what if she breaks her other leg? our puppy chopper is so hyper and might knock her over.. I just pray everything will be alright, your page has gave me so much informationand hope.

    Very grateful new tripod owner,


    • shibashake says

      Hi Trina,

      Thanks for visiting and sharing your story with us. I am sure Chica will recover well – she is young and will bounce back so quickly you won’t be able to believe it 🙂

      Just separate the dogs until the stitches come off – which is usually in 2 weeks. That was what I did with my two dogs. I set up a dog pen and had Shania stay inside so that Sephy couldn’t bug her, and so that she wouldn’t be tempted to play before she was fully recovered.

      Let us know how things go with Chica in the next few weeks. Many hugs to the both of your dogs.

  96. NikkiLove says

    Hi. Thank you for your helpful and encouraging site. Our 9 year old siberian was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma and had an amputation. She is 5 weeks from the surgery and adjusting well on most fronts. She is a spirited and sweet thing who loves to romp in the field next to our house with her cat friends, Oliver, Caroline and Minnie. For years now, every morning, her “mama” calls her into the bed for snuggles.The “snugglepuppy” ritual is very special to Nikki and to her family, but since the surgery she cannot get into the bed. We’ve purchased doggie stairs, 16inx18in, and with some coaxing and guiding she made it up them twice. But she refuses to do it now, and resists when we try to guide her. She uses a ramp to get in the car, and that works fine, but the bed would be too steep for a ramp. Can you give us any advice about beds and/or doggie stairs so that we can restore our joyful morning ritual?

    Many thanks, Nikki and her family

    • shibashake says

      lol – I like the “snugglepuppy” ritual. My Siberian is also tentative about new objects, especially objects that have to do with footwork.

      How high is your bed? The easiest thing would be to consider getting a new, lower bed frame.

      How high are the stairs? Another thing you could do, is let her learn to navigate the stairs in her own time. Just place some yummy treats on the steps, and a really good one on the bed, and let her get to them in her own time.

      **ONLY do this though if you are totally confident that she can’t hurt herself on the stairs. If the stairs are too high, and she can fall off and hurt herself, then I would NOT attempt this. Just go with the lower bed.

  97. Colleen says

    I have an 80lb Alaskan Malmute/Norwegian Elkhound who broke her front left leg between the shoulder and elbow. We think she slipped on the slippery garage floor. Surgery was performed on it but somehow the plate moved and the break is just as worse. Surgery again is not an option. She is suffering just leaving it as it is and our only other options are amputation or putting her down. She is a big dog and I worry that she can break her other leg just as easily. We also live on acreage and her safety and quality of life are a concern. She loves to run, dig holes, try to catch mice and hold her bones to chew on them. If we amputate she will not be able to do the things she loves. Your input would be great for we have yet to make a decision on the fate of our dog.

    • shibashake says

      I am sorry to hear about your dog’s accident.

      Amputation or not is a very difficult and painful decision. With regards to quality of life, I can only share what I have observed from Shania.

      Shania can still run very well. If she doesn’t have to turn, she can actually run faster than my Shiba Inu!

      Shania also loves to dig holes. There are many of them in our backyard 🙂 Her holes are long and narrower because she can only use one leg, but some of them are quite large.

      Shania is a great hunter. She does a great job at keeping out the voles in our backyard. My Shiba Inu is pretty useless when it comes to hunting. I think he doesn’t want to dirty himself – lol

      Shania doesn’t get any real bones, but she gets the plastic Nylabones. She is quite adept at manipulating them and chewing them. True, it is not as simple as a 4-legged dog, but she manages quite well on her own.

      Shania is also great at working on interactive toys and she plays very well with my Shiba. She probably gives him more than he gives her. I know that he is one always doing the squealing 🙂

      However, there are changes that we had to make around the house, during outings, and during walks to accomodate Shania. Shania has a hard time negotiating on slippery surfaces, so we covered up all the tile floors with rugs and runner rugs so that she can always walk on a rug surface. We are also careful with our backyard. We covered up our drainage ditch and made sure there are no large holes around.

      Hope that this is of some help to you. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

  98. debbie says

    Thanks for the information and advice. I just adopted a 6 mth old beagle and I noticed he was favoring his front left left and lifts it up when he first starts to run. He had a bad landing today when he tried to be a puppy and jammed his bad leg.
    After an emergency vet visit and some xrays the vet told me that his puppy plate in the elbow had been previously damaged and that the elbow is arthritic and eventually an amputation might be needed, pain dictating if/when this would happen.
    The funny thing about this is that I have a fused left ankle so I understand the pain, fusion and thoughts of eventual removal of the limb.
    I have an appointment with his vet tomorrow but I am researching leg removals to be prepared for the eventual.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah Shania was the same way. When she was a puppy, she would frequently put too much pressure on her front leg while playing with my other dog and hurt herself. She was never able to put weight on her crooked leg, and was mainly using it for balance, as far as I could tell.

      Strangely, things got a lot better after the amputation. She quickly got used to having three legs and didn’t have to deal with accidentally hurting herself. She actually became a lot more confident and started playing a lot more actively with my other dog.

      Hugs and kisses to your little guy and please us know how he is doing.

  99. Wendy says


    My 6 year old springer spaniel, Abbey, was just diagnosed with cancer and needs to have her left hind leg removed. I’ve seen an ad for a no cone collar for wound protection,to prevent her from licking her stiches. has anyone tried this?

    • shibashake says

      I have never tried using a no-cone collar before, but based on what I have read, it seems that it only prevents biting on very particular parts of the body, whereas the regular e-collar is a lot more comprehensive.

      After surgery, Shania had a fairly large sized area with stitches, so I am not sure if a no-cone collar would offer enough protection. Your vet would probably be able to give you the best advice.

      During Shania’s surgery I also considered the soft e-collar, but my vet was against it because he said that dogs can chew on and bite off parts of the soft material. I ended up just using the regular e-collar.

      You can also repost your question on the tripawds forum. There are many members there who have gone through cancer and amputation with their dogs.


      Hope this helps. Hugs and kisses to Abbey. Let us know how it goes.

  100. Susan says

    Hi, I have a wonderful tripod named Max. he is 5 years old. He does not know how to play catch, fetch, tug o war or anything like that. I try to teach him but he just doesn’t seem interested. Are there other dogs like this? Also he is part lab and border collie, he doesn’t like bathes but looks like he would love to jump into a lake near our home. but it appears that he might be afraid because he is not sure how he would get out. One other thing – do you ever consider a dog shoe to protect their feet from stickers or foxtails? We live in the country and I cannot possibly clear all the land. He is nursing a paw now that loks like it is festering. He is going to the vet Monday. Things i am just cruious about. he is missing his left front leg and hurt his rear right paw. He is managing ok though. I just love him so much and he works as a therapy dog – everyone loves Max. Thank you.

    • shibashake says

      Max sounds wonderful! I am always so impressed with therapy dogs.

      Re games: Different dogs have different preferences when it comes to games. Sometimes, they are just unsure what you want them to do. As a lab/b.collie it seems that he would really love catch and fetch. I would start doing it in small steps. First teach him the take-it and drop-it commands on the ball. Put peanut butter on it if he needs more motivation :). Then you can try throwing it a short distance away, go to it and say Take-it. Just go slowly and in small steps. Both my dogs are not really into ball games. They both really enjoy the flirt pole though.

      Re lake: You could just start with a small dog wading pool, just to see if he enjoys that. Then you can consider letting him into a small pool so that you can go in there with him and help him. I am not sure what would be involved in this, as I have not done it before myself. The things I would be most concerned about are that the steps and area around the pool may be really slippery, especially for a tripod.

      Re dog shoes: Yes I have actually looked into this option. In addition to burrs and stuff, tripods put a lot more weight on their pads, and this causes more wear and tear. Shoes would help for both of these situations. According to the reviews, the big issue with dog shoes is that they frequently come off during play and other rigorous activity. Since my dogs play a lot together, it would not have worked out in my case.

      The tripawds forum is also a good place to get more information:


      Hope this helps. Extra hugs and kisses to Max. Let us know how it goes at the vet. 

  101. Jennifer says

    My minature schnauzer, Lilly, was just diagnosed with Melanoma cancer and she has to have one of her hind legs removed in order to prevent the cancer from spreading. It really helps reading your story with some suggestions on how to deal with the situation. Thanks for letting your story be heard! My Lilly is just under five years old so I am praying that she will adjust quickly to the change.

    • shibashake says

      When is Lilly going in for the operation? She is young and also a smaller dog, so I’ll bet that she will be back to her usual self in short order. Also, dogs support more of their weight on the front legs, so a hind leg operation is usually easier to adjust to. Let us know how things go.

  102. Lila says

    I wrote you about a month ago regarding my Mastiff Grim. I am happy to report he is doing much better and romping around with his brothers like a normal happy guy. I want to thank you again for this article! It was a great help!

    • shibashake says

      Lila, I am so happy to hear that Grim is back to his usual happy self. But … he may need a different name now. 😀

      Thank goodness to doggie heroes like you who are willing to lend a helping hand to dogs in need!

  103. Nicole says

    I have never looked for others with tripods until today and find myself doing so because I believe we are coming to the end of a wonderful 11 year oddysey.

    Alex lost her left foreleg for reasons unknown to us. She was reportedly a 3 yo American Rottweiler, with a fresh surgical wound when we adopted her from a shelter. She has touched many with her jaunty little walk. Often people would assume at first that she was limping, but woould then stop when they noted a missing limb. After hearing her story, many would then continue on with their day with a little more “can-doedness.”

    Arthritis has taken the grace from her step and cataracts have clouded her vision, but her nubby tail always greets us with a rapid wag and makes us feel loved. The shelter staff still keep in touch with us and often remark at how lucky Alex was to find a home with us. However, it is clear that it is us that should be giving thanks for the blessings that she has brought to us.

    For those of you just beginning with a “tripod wonder” and wondering how it will impact your family. Both of our daughters were yong when Alex came and both learned about tolerance and acceptance in the procee. One is finishing her doctorate in physical therapy and the other is in her first year of premed, as tribute to what they have learned.

    Sorry for the windedness, but just wanted to share what we have gotten in exchange for our little bit of effort. We will certainly miss our Alex when her years are done. God Bless to all of you just taking up this uncertain and sometimes painful path…it is worth it!

    • shibashake says

      What a lovely story Nicole! Thanks for sharing it with us. I am going to post it on my blog next week. Hope that is ok with you. Now that I think about it, I will make a new article that contains all your stories. I have enjoyed all of them very much and I think others will as well.

      Thank you all for sharing. Tripods are pretty dang awesome and so are their owners! 🙂

  104. Carrie says

    My dog who is 5 now has been a tripod since he was 1. He is missing his back right leg. This weekend while playing in the park he tore his back ACL. He will have surgery this week but in the meantime refuses to walk or go to the bathroom. I am very concerned about how he will get around while recovering from the surgery. Has anyone else with a tripod had surgery of this kind on the remaining back leg? If so, is your tripod back to normal or does he have more trouble walking. Any insights would be appreciated.

  105. Belinda says


    • shibashake says

      I felt the same way when Shania had her amputation. I was sitting by the phone all day and pretending to work on my computer. Actually I was surfing through tripod sites (like Jerry’s site) and reading tripod stories or just dog stories in general which helped me significantly.

      It really is the right choice, and given that Kirra is so young, she will recover quickly, and bounce back so fast you won’t believe it. That was how it was like with Shania. I remember that she kept wanting to go out on walks and she really wanted to play with my other dog. I was very happy when the stitches came out and she could play again because I felt like an ogre for keeping them apart 🙂

      Shania sends many sweet licks and her super-charged positive Husky energy!

    • Belinda says


    • Belinda says


    • shibashake says

      I felt really bad too – first when the surgeon told me the prognosis, and then again during the amputation. I think I had hoped that we could have saved the leg, somehow, right until the operation. The good news is that dogs have a much easier time adjusting to it than we do. When Shania got home, after the surgery, she was very sleepy from the drugs so she slept most of the day. The next day, she was her usual, happy self. 🙂 Lots of love to Kirra.

    • Belinda says


  106. kayci29 says

    Hi im sixteen years old and im getting a golden retriever puppy who was born with only three legs. Jeter is perfectly fine and healthy like any other 10 week old puppy but im nervous about stairs. i live in a two story house and im afraid when i bring him home he’s not going to adjust. Do you have any helpful tips to teaching them to go down? thank you. im very nervous about his health since he is going to be completely my responsibility.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Kayci, Is Jeter missing a front leg or a back leg? Shania is missing a front leg so she has more trouble coming down stairs. She is usually a lot more careful and slow coming down; whereas she zooms up the stairs. The opposite will be true for dogs missing a back leg. Make sure the stairs are carpeted. Wooden stairs are too slippery and not good for tripods.

      In terms of teaching them about stairs, Shania just did it on her own. Being a puppy, I think Jeter will quickly learn how to do it. Don’t hurry him and it is most important for you to stay calm and positive. Dogs can easily sense our inner energy, and if we are worried and fearful, they may become worried and fearful as well. Just go up a few steps, sit down, have a tuna sandwich. The smell of the tuna will soon make him follow you. Make sure to praise and treat him well when he comes to you but be patient and let him do it in his own time. If you are concerned, you can first find some practice stairs that have wider steps, which will be easier for a tripod. Hope this helps.

      It is tough not to be overly protective of a tripod. I always have to keep reminding myself of this when Shania is tearing about the backyard chasing a squirrel or playing with my Shiba 🙂 Good luck and remember to have lots of fun.

  107. GunnerR says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful information and for Shiba! My boyfriend and I have recently adopted a tripod Pitbull, he was hit by a car and had to have his right front leg amputated. He is 4 months old and this occured only about 4 weeks ago. We adopted a few days ago and were so concerned about how to raise him as a tripod, what was too much excercise for his new adjusted leg and what different problems we might run across. We walk him around outside and he so badly wants to run like a crazy maniac in the grass but tends to stumble forward and fall. Sometimes he seems to get just plain discouraged, he will not move all together and would rather just sit and wait to be carried! Anyhow, thanks again for all of this awesome information! It’s nice to know our little Gunner isn’t alone!

    • shibashake says

      lol – Shania is a crazy maniac too. I often get a bit worried when she is running around at top speed while playing with my Shiba. However, doing a not too controlled slide and roll on the grass doesn’t seem to faze her. She *does* get many grass stains and some bald spots from all that skidding.

      The one area where I have to be especially careful with her are hard, smooth surfaces. Falling on hard surfaces such as tiled floors or even wood floors can be quite painful so I invest in rugs or institute a no-playing rule in those areas. Also no playing on the stairs or any hilly areas.

      As you described, walks can also be challenging. Shania seems to do best when she is walking at a faster pace. Slow is more difficult for her, because of balance issues. It is actually amazing watching her at a full run (while in the backyard) because she goes faster than my Shiba and has no problems with balance. During walks I go at a faster pace and sometimes run with her. When she is going a bit too fast for my old bones though I will stop her by using a combination of the leash, and also by holding her at the chest. This helps give her support so that she doesn’t get unbalanced from the leash pull. Using a harness helps a lot with balance but gives you less control over the speed of the “walk”. Powerful dogs like the Sibe and Pit can pull really hard on a harness. One thing you may try is the head halti – it is great for controlling pulling, and it does not disrupt Shania’s balance. However, Shania really dislikes wearing it, so I only use it when I take her for long walks in the park. The park is so interesting that she tends to forget about the halti until it is time to go home.

      Hugs and kisses to Gunner! Shania and Sephy sends lots of licks 🙂

  108. Lila says

    This is a really great article and was glad to find it. I have recently “inherited” a tripod named Grim. He is especially challenging because he is an 180lb mastif. Unfortunately, his last owners kept him in the house all day, and did not exercise him. He is 5 years old and such a sweet boy. I am very concerned for him though because it’s one of his back legs that was amputated and he is very shaky on his feet. I have been trying to build up his strength by taking him on short walks, but he is really weak right now. He has many playmates to romp around with in the yard, so I am hoping this will help also. I have had him for about 2 weeks now. Do you think he is too big to get back to a normal, unshaky state of being, or am I just being a worry wort?

    • shibashake says

      Hi Lila, I was a worrywart with Shania as well. Probably still am. 😀

      Shania was a bit shaky too at first but she nowadays she is a bouncy ball of energy. I am sure Grim will bounce back to his usual self soon. He is a bit older, so he may take a bit more time to recover, and relearn his balance. I think you are doing the right thing in terms of the short walks and letting him do things at his own pace.

      I also talked to my vet a lot in the early days, and they were able to give me good advice on how I could help Shania, what to expect, and what things to look out for. I am always very glad to hear from “worrywart” dog owners who obviously care very much for their canine companion. 😀 Shania wanted me to send her love and lots of wet kisses to Grim.

      Send us a picture when you have some time – would love to see Grim.

  109. Dave Potter says

    Your article about the care of tripods was very helpful. You mention a lot of things I would never have thought about. I have a 4 Y.O. Weimeraner named ‘Dieter’ aka ‘Der Blau Hund’. Dieter’s female companion , ‘Gabi’ likes to chase the garbage truck up the driveway. Dieter was injured by the garbage truck while he was herding Gabi out of the way. As a result, his right rear leg had to be amputated and he’s now a ‘tripod’ in the recovery stage. He’s adapting readily but is having some dietary problems (can’t seem to tolerate dry/solid food) and is drinking much more water than usual. He’s only 5 days post surgery and hopefully his problems will resolve. Thanks again for your sage advice.

    • fast dogs mom says

      I have a greyhound tripod after surgery our vet advised a light diet of chicken,he also seemed to drink a lot more water.Although he is a large dog he is as fast as ever.Dieter will start to feel better after a couple of weeks it is really surprising how well they adapt.Our dog has a good quailty of life and his only problem is scratching his nose.

    • shibashake says

      [Dave] Dieter sounds like a very brave and loyal dog. Gotta love Weimeraners! My Shiba Inu, Sephy, is always uninterested in food whenever he gets home from the vet. He would also sometimes vomit from eating kibble. My vet tells me that it is probably because of the anesthesia. She also says that kibble tends to be richer/denser than other foods. As suggested by fast dogs mom, using a bland diet of just boiled chicken and white rice may help. The water drinking helps to flush the system of the meds. What you mention sounds normal but I would keep your vet updated on Dieter’s progress. I always err on the side of caution, and call them up when I have concerns. Hugs and kisses to Dieter and Gabi.

      [fast dogs mom] You bring up a really good point. Shania has problems scratching her nose too. There are also certain spots on her body that are more difficult for her to reach. I always try to help her with the scratching. My Shiba Inu also likes to help her with scratching and grooming 🙂 I must add this to the article. Thanks! 

  110. amy says

    I have a tripod puppy that is 4 weeks old (I have her mother and siblings too!) I have decided to keep the tripod as I feel I can give her the home and love that she deserves. She was born with very little of the fourth leg, but it is a nub and useless to her. The puppies have been to the vet and he recommended that I amputate her nub. I have very strong feelings about this. I don’t want her to be exposed to any undo pain or stress. The vet has said she may do okay, but he says I need to decide before she gets too much older.

    I would welcome any advice. She is the sweetest and most loving puppy I have ever seen and want her to be happy. Other than the nub issue, the vet says she is doing great! Please help me decide!

    Thanks so much in advance!

    • shibashake says

      Hi Amy, It is great that you are keeping your little sweetie. After we received Shania’s diagnosis, we had three choices: 1) Don’t do anything, and leave the leg. She will have limited use of it, but she would usually hurt herself while playing because it was only slightly weight bearing. She would only sometimes use it for balance. Eventually, the leg will start to give her pain and will have to be amputated. 2) Amputate; 3) Try to realign the bones through surgery. I picked option 3, but unfortunately it did not work, and the surgeon recommended amputation. While trying to make these difficult decisions, I decided that it was best to do realignment or amputation because 1) Young dogs heal much faster, and 2) Her crooked leg was frequently causing her pain during play, and other heavy activity.

      Your case is different, but I would be most concerned over the nub getting caught on something. She may also fall on it during play, thereby causing her  pain which may discourage her from playing. I haven’t gone through this particular situation, so I do not know if this would actually occur. I would definitely quiz your vet on these issues, and all the possible upsides and downsides wrt. surgery and no surgery. Did your vet say why he recommends the amputation?

      If you are really unsure, I would visit another vet and get a second opinion. I do believe though that if the procedure would improve her health and/or quality of life, the short-term pain is worth the long-term rewards. Hope this helps.

  111. Schweta says

    Hi! i’m Schweta. I love dogs very much bt i dont hav one coz we live in an apartment and me n my parents are hardly home. Bt our neighbour has one. Her name is Romi. she is 2 months old and she got into a car accident and her leg had to be amputated. Its her second day today after the operation n she is copin really well. Reading about Shania really helped me and now i’m going to show this to my neighbours too. Thank you so much!

    • shibashake says

      Schweta, I am happy you enjoyed Shania’s story. You made a very good point wrt. dog ownership – Dogs are a joy, but they also need a lot of attention. As you pointed out, there are many other ways to spend time with dogs in the interim.

      Romi sounds like a big time sweetie. Tripods always seem to bounce back very quickly and they are so full of verve! Gotta love tripods 🙂

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for dropping by Jerry. I visited your site many times while Shania was going through her surgery. It really helped to read the many tripod stories there. I will definitely drop in again.

  112. Linda says

    Thank you for your wonderful article on our tripod friends. Your Shania is a beautiful girl too. My 2-year old Bella had her leg amputated iast Fall, following an accident. I really liked you suggestions, and there are things you brought up that I had not thought about yet for her. At the time of her accident, there was not to much information and amputation, and living with a 3 legged dog. My search uncovered alot more sites, including yours. I will definitely give your suggestions a try. By the way my Bella is a real dyamo too, even though she is a tripod, still loves to play and run with my other dog Sadie.

    • shibashake says

      Thanks Linda. Sounds like Bella and Shania would have lots of fun together! Maybe they will be able to tire each other out 🙂 I bring Shania to daycare sometimes so she gets to expend her super energy on the many dogs there. Still, she is tireless, especially during winter time when it is nice and cool for her. She is like a freight train when I take her out on walks (twice daily).

      Hugs and kisses to Bella and Sadie.

  113. Mac says

    My name is Mac. I have a three-legged dog, Reggie, that we got three months ago. He is three years old, and lost his leg from a car accident. I am in second grade. I want to learn about three legged dogs like Reggie, and am making my science fair report about him. Thank you for the good information!

    • shibashake says

      It is really awesome that you and your family adopted a dog, especially a tripod. And what a great idea to do a report about tripods. Many people always stop me on the road and ask me questions about Shania and how she gets along on three legs. I tell them she is a dynamo and she constantly tires out my other dog. They are usually surprised that she likes going for walks so much and how she requires a lot of exercise.

      Good luck on the report, and send me a link if you decide to put it online. Thanks!

  114. Chels says

    I just adopted a three legged husky about two months ago and all of your infrmation has been really helpful. They are really a treasure to have and such lively dogs. I was expecting him to be limited to do many things but he quickly showed me he was able to do everything without a sweat. His name is Blaze and he’s all white with a few brown spots on his back and ears. He doesn’t enjoy the harness but I do apply the foot pad cream and it works great! Thanks again for all the info!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations Chels. Blaze sounds very like Shania. She is a go,go,go girl and even tires out my other dog. She also steals his toys and food 🙂 The harness is also not her favorite piece of equipment, but she is willing to wear it as a prerequisite for going to the park. She is a bit spoilt, but she is such a sweetie that everyone finds it difficult not to give-in to her, including my other dog.

      Huskies are awesome dogs and will always turn heads. You will be a mini-celebrity while walking your dog – many people will want to stop you and talk to you 🙂 Give Blaze a hug and kiss from me.

  115. Carolyn says

    I have akways thought 3-legged dogs were so cool. I love their attitude! Just because they have a “disability” why shouldn’t they still be able to have fun and play? They are a great role model for us humans who can let little things get us down.

    My family & I have just found our perfect dog – yes – a tripod!! We are already in love and are just waiting approval from the humane society. Our home visit is tomorrow.

    Thank you for all the valuable info. I can’t wait to get the harness and tuf-foot – great suggestions!

    • shibashake says

      “They are a great role model for us humans who can let little things get us down.”

      You are so right on this. I think Shania not only inspired me, but she inspired many people at the hospital she was in. When she was going through surgeries to try and straighten her leg, she was extremely brave, upbeat, and still loved all the people around her. The hospital staff gave her this little squeaky toy that played James Brown’s “I Feel Good”. It was her favorite toy and she would sing with it too. They told me that she spent her days there going to visit everyone and singing the “I Feel Good” song. It made the people feel a lot better.

      Congratulations on your new dog! And it is so great that you are adopting. Post us a picture. Would love to see your new family member.

  116. Ronan's Joy says

    Just adopted 5 yr old pomeranian tripod Ronan. He is nothing but a joy, but we noticed his confidence level is down. I am sure with time and lot’s of love he will come out of his shell. The biggest challange has been the introduction to our 8 month old pomerian. Supervison has been required at all times between the two. Our 8 month old can be an over excited puppy, this at times becomes a problem when the two start playing. Adopting a loving giving tripod was the best thing we have done.

    • shibashake says

      Ronan sounds like a super dog. I also love the name. It is so unique. Shania, my tripod, is more tentative of new things compared to my other dog. She tends to hang back and approach slowly when she sees new things; so I let her explore in her own time and give her lots of praise and encouragement for being a brave girl.

      You are absolutely right on about supervised play. My two dogs play well together most of the time, but sometimes my other dog gets overly excited and overwhelms my tripod so I make sure that I am around to stop play when that happens.

      You bring up some important points about tripods that I will add to the article. Thanks so much for your input and for sharing your story with us!

  117. TanaTripod says

    I just recently rescued a black shepherd 3 month old puppy from my work and she needed an amputation. This is all new to me and its gonna be a challenge because she is so young, but all the advise from the Doctors here that I work with(Im a veterinary technician) Will help greatly, and anytyhing else that you have to offer please let me know 🙂

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for visiting Tana. It is really awesome that you rescued a dog in need. One of the things I would focus on is to socialize her well with people and other dogs. Tripods tend to feel more vulnerable, and can become fearful of other dogs and people. This can ultimately lead to fear aggression. My Sibe Shania really enjoyed going to a puppy class, where there is supervised play-time. She went to SIRIUS puppy class when she was young and had a lot of fun meeting new people and new dogs. I also took her to puppy play sessions in a nearby daycare, where play is supervised.

      Congratulations on your new puppy! Good luck and please keep us updated on how things go. Would also love to see some pictures, so post us a link 🙂

  118. Three-Legged Dog :) says

    Yay for Shania! What a cute, happy puppy! I love seeing happy tripods.
    It’s funny how looking at pictures of Shania reminds me of Yodi – She’s missing the same leg as Yodi and has the same shaped body and all that, even though she’s a bigger dog. And she has that big smiley dog face!!! Love it!
    What really hits me sometimes is looking at pictures of Yodi when he was a little puppy and he still had FOUR legs. THAT looks weird to me. 🙂

  119. tripod dog says

    thanks for all the advise i also have a 3 legged husky, and wanted some extra tips before she comes home as i’m in asia and the vets here arn’t great at advise, or pet care really!
    i think that if we’d have been in the west she wouldn’t have lost the leg, my vet in england is great! this one really doesn’t compare and he’s the best one around here
    oh well can’t sew it back on now,
    do you have any extra advise? let me know any help is welcome

    • shibashake says

      One thing that I should add to the article, is a section on “dealing with the environment”. You should make sure that there are not too many slippery surfaces in your house. Time to go rug shopping 🙂 Also check out all the uneven ground in your yard to make sure that it is not too deep. Tripods can easy slip and trip. Please feel free to ping me if you have additional questions when your dog gets home.

       What is her name? Would love to see her so send me a photo when you have some time.

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