A three-legged dog in a party hat.

As pet owners know, the animals we share our lives with are nothing if not resilient. It seems like very little can get them down or hold them back, and an amputation is no exception. In fact, most pets continue to thrive after recovery, seemingly not even noticing that they’re missing a quarter of their previous limbs. Excellent care of a three-legged pet is partly responsible for a pet’s incredible bounce-back, and Dupont Veterinary Clinic has got some important details about the experience. 

Three: Not Worse than Four

There are bound to be questions about the numerous special considerations for new members of the animal amputation club. The good news is that your pet will adapt to their new situation with surprising agility and balance. The steepest learning curve might very well be applied to pet owners trying to figure out how to provide care for their special needs pet.

Beyond Post-Op Care

Surgical amputation of a leg is a big deal and excellent post-operative care is essential to a pet’s healing and safety. However, once they heal and are able to move around unassisted (and don’t run the risk of serious injury), three-legged pets can pretty much carry as before. Until then, near-constant supervision is required. Training them to re-learn how to do certain things can reduce future harm.

Together Forever

A three-legged pet will want to get back to their old tricks, but pet owners must carefully help them negotiate their new situation. This means that you accompany them wherever they want to go, ensuring they are linked to you via harness and leash. If your pet was previously accustomed to exploring the neighborhood alone, it’s likely best to keep them indoors from now on. Build an enclosure that is just for them to get the best of both worlds.

Alternatively, a three-legged pet may feel extremely timid and may not rush to experience the sights and smells of the great outdoors. It’s best to always take your pet’s cue and meet them where they are.

Adjusting the Home

To help your pet achieve comfort and safety, you may have to add certain components to their home space. Place ramps to help your pet up to and down from favorite perches or cuddle zones. To help keep your three-legged pet upright, carpets or area rugs can prevent slipping and falling.

Other items may include a specialty harness with handles to help you pull them up, elevated food/water bowls, and warm, supportive bedding. 

Preventing Associated Issues

Unnecessary weight gain can be disastrous for pets with three legs. Balancing on three legs is already a challenge, but add extra weight to the equation, and they’re likely facing injuries and chronic mobility challenges. 

The answer to this, of course, is a healthy dose of daily exercise. Giving them the chance to work out every day is critical to their resilience. And it keeps the weight off while promoting mental fitness to boot!

If you’re unsure what your three-legged pet can do, please call us. We’re happy to make recommendations that keep them physically active.

Supporting a Three-Legged Pet

Our veterinarians and staff members are here to help you support the needs of your three-legged pet. Please call us at (260) 637-7676 with any questions or concerns.