Pet care tips for three-legged dogs

by | Dog Care |

Three-legged dogs are bound to amaze you with what they’re capable of. Just spend some time with one and you’ll see how playful, active and full of joy they are – just like any of their four-legged friends. 

While there are a few health and safety precautions to consider with three-legged dogs, you may be surprised to find that most three-legged pets don’t require a great deal of additional accommodation to lead a happy, active life. 

Here are some helpful tips when caring for a three-legged dog:

Keep a healthy weight: With one less leg to bear the dog’s body weight, it’s extra important for a three-legged dog to keep a healthy weight to avoid undue stress on its other leg joints. Keeping your dog fit and maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of arthritis and other joint issues down the road. 

Exercise: It can take a little time for three-legged dogs to build up strength in their other three legs, so start with shorter, more frequent walks. There are also alternative fitness options like swimming that can help build muscle in the legs. Always ensure your dog is supervised at all times and wears a lifejacket. Learn how to fit your dog for a lifejacket. Speak to your veterinarian if you have questions about what is appropriate exercise for your dog, or if they may benefit from physical therapy or massage.

Paw health: As with all dogs, nails should be trimmed regularly to prevent overgrowth.  For three-legged dogs , this is helpful in maintaining balance and for walking comfortably. Since these friends place extra stress on their other paws, you should also check your dog’s paws regularly for cracks and irritation.

Watch for elbow hygroma: Elbow hygroma is a condition caused when dogs place too much weight on one elbow, resulting in swelling and a buildup of fluid. Young dogs are the most susceptible to this condition, since they haven’t formed a protective callous yet, and young three-legged dogs   are especially susceptible to this condition. Make sure your dog has a soft bed made of orthopedic foam and talk to your vet about additional steps you can take to prevent this condition.

A tripod-friendly home: For  meal time, an elevated food and water bowl will help your pet keep its balance. To prevent household slips, you can put down some carpet runners with a non-slip pad underneath in areas with smooth flooring and on stairs. If your dog has recently lost his or her leg, it may take some time  to relearn how to get around your house. Make sure you monitor your dog closely to prevent any accidents and to see if there are any areas that may be causing some difficulty. If you have a yard, also check for uneven surfaces or potential tripping hazards.

Although three-legged dogs are physically different than other dogs, they do share something in common – they can be amazing and loving pets.  

 

 

 

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