How to Take Care of an Amputee Puppy

by Elle Di Jensen

Dogs typically adjust well to losing a limb, leading happy, active lives.

There are different reasons it may be necessary for a puppy to have to undergo surgery to remove a limb. Cancer, accidents, being hit by a car -- any of these can result in injury so severe that the best option is amputation. Usually, dogs are resilient and adjust to their new situation easily. It's the puppy parents who tend to have a problem dealing with the way their once "whole" dog now looks with one less limb. If you and your puppy are faced with such life-altering circumstances, your loving care and support will help him live life on three legs.

Immediately After Surgery

Step 1

Prepare a crate or other confined area for your puppy to recuperate after the surgery. He will be groggy from the anesthesia and pain killers for two to three days afterwards, and will need a safe, quiet and comfortable place to rest and begin recovery. Towels and rags make useful bedding that you can change out frequently to keep your pup clean and comfortable.

Step 2

Cover your puppy's sutures to keep him from licking them while his wound heals. If the amputation is on the front, a t-shirt will cover the stitches nicely and if the amputation is on the hindquarters, a pair of boxer shorts will work. You may have to alter the clothes or use children's clothing instead of adult sizes, depending on the size of your dog.

Step 3

Administer antibiotics and painkillers as directed by the vet.

Step 4

Check your puppy's wound regularly, redressing it if the vet instructed you to do so. By periodically examining the wound you'll know if there is any seeping, bleeding or troublesome changes that the doctor should be notified about. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.

Step 5

Place a towel under your puppy's torso holding the ends above his back to help him balance and walk when you take him on potty breaks. Walk slowly, allowing him to maneuver and go at his own pace.

Longer Term Care

Step 1

Encourage your puppy to walk so that he learns how to get around on three legs. Don't be overprotective. He can adjust to his new condition well if you don't treat him like an invalid.

Step 2

Cover slick surfaces with rubber mats or floor runners to keep your puppy from sliding and falling while he is learning to maneuver on three legs. You may want to put stair treads on uncarpeted stairs or consider gating stairways off altogether until your puppy becomes better at getting around.

Step 3

Install ramps with a non-slip surface over stairs if needed. Most dogs are able to re-learn navigating steps, but some dogs can have more problems than others, like smaller breeds who may have problems with stairs even without having to accommodate an amputation.

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