Have you ever seen a three-legged dog running around? Most will appear as though they have no clue they’re missing a leg. While most dogs completely adjust to living with just three legs, it takes time and patience. After all, they’re missing a limb! Whether your dog lost their leg unexpectedly or was born without one, here is your guide to life with a tri-pod pup.
They May Need To Transition
If your dog unexpectedly lost their leg or if they are older and spent their entire life with four legs, suddenly having three may come with a transition period. Your dog may have trouble balancing for the first few days until they get use to the tri-pod life.
Keep an extra close watch on them during these days as you don’t want them to re-injure themselves. While most three-legged dogs can easily use the stairs, others cannot. Work with your veterinarian or trainer to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Keep A Healthy Weight
While every dog should maintain a healthy weight, it is extra-important for tri-pod dogs. Extra weight can increase the pressure placed on joints and paw pads. In fact, even if your pup is missing their rear leg, it still has to support around 40 percent of their body weight.
Help Relieve Joint Stress
Tri-pod dogs – especially those missing a front leg – are at a greater risk for joint problems. Dogs hold roughly 60 percent of their weight on their front legs. To help relieve joint stress or pain, try raising their food and water dish so they don’t have to bend down.
Provide a soft, sturdy bed for them to relax on and try avoiding steps as much as possible. Also, you might consider investing in a ramp to help your dog get in and out of your car. Talk with your veterinarian about additional supplements to help improve their joints.
Don’t Overdo It
While it’s important your tri-pod dog gets exercise, you don’t want to overdo it. Break up your walks into smaller increments throughout the day rather than going on a single, longer one. That way, your pup still gets their exercise but you won’t wear out their legs.
A great way for your pup to still enjoy a long walk is with a Pet Rover stroller. You'll be able to go for a long walk while your pup can lounge in the stroller and take in the sights.
Keep An Eye On Slippery Surfaces
Since a tri-pod dog doesn’t have as good of balance as a four-legged one, slippery surfaces can be problematic. Wood, tile, and linoleum flooring can be very dangerous for a three-legged pup. Try adding non-slip surfaces like rugs to help off-set the slickness. If a rug doesn’t work, you can even put workout tiles down.
Give Them New Experiences
Just because your dog only has three legs doesn’t mean they don’t like to have fun! Spoil your tri-pod by going on new adventures. Go to the dog park, meet new people, or explore a new town. Some tri-pod dogs aren’t as outgoing as their four-legged counterpart, so showing them new experiences will help increase their confidence.
And don’t worry if you forget that your dog is a tri-pod! Most three-legged dogs don’t act differently at all – especially once they get used to walking on three paws.