I often forget that I own a three-legged dog. Other tripod pet owners will understand. It’s easy to forget that fact because they have so easily adjusted to their new situation with the grace and enthusiasm that only pets can. The reality is that adopting a tripod pet (or any pet) is a huge responsibility. Bringing a pet into your home is a big decision, and bringing a three-legged pet into your home requires some extra preparation and dedication — but it’s so worth it! When I went through the process of adopting my dog Tripp, I learned so much about the special requirements tripod pets really need.
Here’s what everyone should know before adopting a three-legged pet:
10. Keep Weight Down
Although every pet should maintain a healthy weight, three-legged pets in particular shouldn’t be allowed to become obese. Tripod pets have a higher risk of developing arthritis because they have fewer limbs to distribute their weight, so becoming overweight can be uncomfortable, unhealthy, and downright dangerous.
9. Be Patient
Every pet adjusts at their own speed. Tripp was up and trying to run around a few days after his surgery, but his situation is unique. The rescue thought he had been hit by a car a while ago, so his leg was already useless to him before they amputated it. He had lots of practice relying on three legs instead of four before he actually had his leg removed. His biggest struggle was balance. A pet who loses their leg to cancer or a sudden traumatic event could have a more difficult time adjusting. Be patient, be kind, and be supportive during their journey.
8. A Good Bed Makes All The Difference
Tripod pets are at a greater risk of developing hygromas, particularly on their elbows. Hygromas are fluid-filled swellings that can develop on the elbow, hip, or hock of pets. They develop after repeated trauma to the same area and from laying on hard surfaces. Although typically not painful unless they become infected, they are annoying for your pet and can be prevented. Investing in a good bed for your pet can help relieve joint stress and pressure on their elbows, resulting in a lower chance for a hygroma to develop. We bought a therapeutic one for our bedroom and our living room and it’s so big that both of our dogs can cuddle on it!
7. Ramp It Up
A cat who once had a favorite high place may have difficulty jumping that high after their amputation. Make it easier for them by installing ramps around your house for your cat to easily change levels as desired. If you have stairs into your house, it may be easier for your pet to navigate if you add a ramp.
Speaking of stairs…
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