Archive for December, 2013

It’s not unusual these days to encounter dogs with three legs. While it was once something of a rarity to see a 3-legged dog, veterinary care is more advanced today which means that many dogs with injuries, bone cancer, or a neurological disorder can survive just fine after a limb is removed. These dogs can live a long, happy, healthy life with three legs.


If you get the news that your dog needs to have a leg amputated, it’s still devastating news for any owner. But you should take comfort in the fact that nearly all dogs can quickly learn to adjust to life on three legs. A dog with three legs seems to forget that they have a missing limb – and so does the owner. They run, play, and continue to act like any other dog.


If your dog does need to have a leg amputated, you will need to take care at first while your dog adjusts. Be careful with slippery floors and other surfaces that can keep your dog from getting good traction. You might consider providing your 3-legged dog with paw wax or something else on his paws to help him grip the floor. Some owners recommend doggy boots for good traction, especially at first. You can also put down throw rugs for more traction, especially if you secure them in place so they don’t slide.


It’s also important that you don’t allow a 3-legged dog to become overweight. Excess weight can put extra strain on the alternate leg and possibly cause injury. Be sure that your “tripod” dog gets regular exercise.


Some owners provide a 3-legged dog with a wheelchair or cart made for disabled dogs but it’s usually not necessary. Such carts are more often used for dogs with only two legs.


Sometimes you will find a 3-legged dog at a shelter or rescue. These dogs can live a completely long and happy life but they may have been taken to the shelter because their previous owners didn’t know how to care for them or thought that the dog was less than perfect. If you would like to adopt a dog with three legs, it’s important for you to understand that the dog will need some special care. You will need to pay special attention to the leg opposite the leg that’s been amputated to make sure it doesn’t become strained or carry undue weight. If this leg seems weak, you can provide more support for it with a splint or brace. Or, you can provide a pet cart or wheelchair.


If any of the amputated leg remains, you’ll need to make sure the bottom of the stump remains healthy. In some cases it’s possible for the dog to have a prosthetic limb attached. This is something you would need to discuss with your veterinarian.


A number of celebrities own tripod dogs which has probably helped people understand that these dogs make perfectly good pets. Comedian and talk show how Jon Stewart has a 3-legged pit bull mix named Little Dipper who accompanies Stewart to work at his show.


Sandra Bullock has a 3-legged Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix named Poppy that she adopted in 2005. She later adopted the 2-legged dog Ruby with her then-husband Jesse James.


Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain takes her dog Chaplin to work with her and walks him herself. Chastain is one of the stars of Zero Dark Thirty. She has two other rescue dogs – Radley, a Corgi-Spaniel mix, and Roman, a Chihuahua mix.

Help Your Kids Train Your Dog

Dogs and kids just seem to kind of go together. As one sage dog lover noted, every dog deserves a kid. It’s true. A dog’s life can be immeasurably enriched by living with children. And the same goes when children are raised with a dog. But it all depends on having a responsible adult teaching a child how to interact with dogs. Lots of kids are bitten each year because they don’t know how to behave around dogs.


There are a few basic Dos and Don’ts when it comes to what you should teach your kids about dogs:


  • Don’t let a child put his face near a dog’s mouth, especially a strange dog. When kids are bitten, it’s often on the face.


  • Teach children not to run from dogs – dogs will chase them. Even if they are playing, things can escalate and children can get injured.


  • Tell your children not to scream around dogs. If your dog has been raised with your kids, s/he probably won’t mind, but the sound of children screaming can be very upsetting for some dogs.


  • Teach kids not to bother dogs when they are eating. Some dogs guard their food and they can become irritable at dinner time.


  • Teach kids not to take toys or other treasured objects from dogs. Some dogs guard favorite toys and can become gruff if a child tries to take the toy.


  • Don’t let children tug on tails, pull ears, or otherwise do things to aggravate dogs. Some dogs will put up with this kind of play but others won’t. Teach your child to play with dogs appropriately.


  • Never, ever leave a baby alone with a dog. Although we love dogs and often consider them as family members, it’s important to remember that they are still animals. It’s not safe to leave a baby alone with a dog.


It’s recommended that all children under the age of 5-6 years old be supervised when they play with dogs, just to be safe. It’s very easy for running and rough play to get out of hand and someone – even the dog – to get hurt.


Along with these safety basics, you can teach your kids how to pet the dog gently. Show your children how to brush and bathe the dog. Your kids probably see you feed the dog every day but take time to explain something about the dog’s meals. As your children get older, you can tell them about your dog’s veterinary care and the other things that dogs need for good health. In this way, you’ll be teaching  your children how to properly care for a dog as a pet and setting a good example. These may be small things over the course of your dog’s life, but they’re important for children to learn. You would probably be surprised by how many kids grow up without knowing anything about dogs.


Another great way to teach your kids responsibility is by getting them involved in training your dog. Dogs need to be trained and it’s a wonderful way for a child to bond with a dog. Here are a few basic things that your child can train your dog to do:


  • Teach “down”: Show your child how to hold a treat in front of the dog’s nose, and then drop his or her hand to the ground. The dog will follow the food and drop into the down position. As soon as the dog is lying down, make sure your child gives the dog the treat and lots of praise.


  • Teach “sit”: Have your son or daughter hold the treat just about your dog’s nose and slowly move it back over the dog’s head. As your child does this, your dog will rock back into a sit. As soon as the dog sits, have your child praise your pup and give him the treat.


  • Teach how to walk on a leash: Your child can help train your dog to walk on a leash. To do this, have your child hold a treat or your dog’s favorite toy waist high. Have him or her tell the dog “Let’s go” and start walking. Your dog will watch the toy or treat and start walking along nicely.


That’s all there is to it! With a little assistance from you, most kids can train their dog to learn these obedience basics