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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Comments

  1. 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.
      http://www.ruffwear.com/Web-Master-Harness

      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.

  2. Leslie says

    Hello,
    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.
      http://tripawds.com/

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. :)

  11. 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 ]]]

  12. 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.

  13. 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.
    Thanks,
    Joel

    • 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.

  14. 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,
      http://shibashake.com/dog/stop-food-aggression-stop-resource-guarding
      http://shibashake.com/dog/dog-to-dog-aggression

      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.

  15. 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.

    Jenny

    • shibashake says

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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 -
      http://shibashake.com/dog/finding-the-best-dog-bed

      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 -

      http://shibashake.com/dog/leash-training-your-dog

      Happy July 4th weekend! Hugs to Gretchen :)

  21. 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. :D

      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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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

      Hi,

      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

      Laura

    • 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 :)

  24. 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,

    Trina

    • 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. Wendy says

    Hi,

    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.

      http://www.tripawds.com/forums/

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

  29. 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:

      http://www.tripawds.com/forums/

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

  30. 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.

  31. Lila says

    Shibashake,
    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. :D

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

  32. 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! :)

  33. 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.

  34. Belinda says

    HI WE JUST ADDOPTED A 10 WEEK OLD STAFFY PUP AND FOUND OUT SHE NEEDS HER LEG AMPUTATED (FRONT RIGHT LEG) OR TO BE PUT DOWN AS WE TRIED TO SAVE THE LEG BUT IT IS NOT A OPTION.KIRRA GOES IN TOMORROW FOR THE OPERATION AND ALTHOUGH I FEEL WE MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE IM STILL QUITE WORRIED ABOUT IT.ALTHOUGH THE THOUGHT OF PUTTING HER DOWN WAS JUST IMAGINABLE AS SHE HAS BECOME A PART OF THE FAMILY IN A MATTER OF WEEKS.THANKS FOR SOME GREAT ADVICE.

    • 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

      HI THANK YOU FOR RESPONDING YOUR KIND WORDS HAVE EASED MY MIND A LITTLE,ALTHOUGH SITTING AT MY COMPUTER I FIND MYSELF WANTING TO RING THE VET AND SAY STOP THE OPERATION BUT THER JUST ISNT ANOTHER WAY OUT OF THIS.I WILL LET YOU KNOW HOW KIRRA GOES AND WILL CONTINUE TO LOOK AT YOUR WEBSITE.
      SHANIA THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPER CHARGED ENERGY AND SWEET KISSES IM SURE TO PASS THEM ON.

    • Belinda says

      hI JUST RANG THE VETS AND SHE IS SLEEPING SURGERY LASTED 3 AND A HALF HOURS BUT APPARENTLY SHE IS O.K.MY POOR BABY.IM A BIT WORRIED ABOUT BRINGING HER HOME (SHE SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO COME HOME TOMORROW AT 10.30 SO I WILL LET YOU KNOW.) I HAVE 3 GIRLS WHO ARE GREAT WITH HER BUT MY 2 YEAR OLD JUST DOESNT UNDERSTAND.I FEEL REALLY BAD I DONT KNOW WHY AS I DIDNT HAVE ANY OTHER OPTION.THANK YOU FOR LISTENING AND REPLYING BACK ITS NICE TO HAVE SOMEONE THAT UNDERSTANDS.

    • 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

      HI KIRRA IS DOING SO WELL THE VETS WERE SO IMPRESSED WITH HER THE NEXT DAY AND SHES GETTING AROUND SO WELL.TRYS TO DO THINGS THAT SHE REAKKY SHOULDNT BE DOING AS YET.I STILL LOOK AT HER AND FEEL SORRY FOR HER, IT MUST BE VERY TIREING. THE GIRLS ARE SO GOOD WITH HER,I THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE SCARED AND THOUGHT SHE WAS UGLY(IN A NICE WAY) BUT THEY LOVE HER THEY SAY THEY ARE LUCKY AS THEY HAVE A REALLY SPECIAL PUPPY.LETS HOPE KIRRA JUST KEEPS DOING WELL.THANK YOU SO MUCH.XXOO

  35. 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.

  36. 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 :)

  37. Lila says

    Shibashake,
    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?
    Thanks!
    Lila

    • shibashake says

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

      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. :D 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.

  38. 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! 

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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!

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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!

  46. 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 :)

  47. 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. :)

  48. 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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