Do you need help caring for a tripod pet? Recent news stories have shown how adopting cats and dogs that are missing a front or hind paw (nicknamed tripods) can be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. If you’ve decided to take this step, stop and look around your home first.
While these pets can be just as wonderful as four-legged animals, you will have to do some extra preparation around the house for them to ensure they don’t encounter unnecessary limitations.
How To Care For Your Tripod Pet
Ups and Downs
The loss of a leg has an immediate effect on jumping, balance, and confidence. Even tripods who are used to the missing leg can still need assistance moving around. Because the pet does not have the same jumping power as before, try to place stair-like items around the house for pets who normally jump, like cats. Instead of assuming the cat can reach a perch that’s higher up, place some extra, lower furniture nearby.
You’ll also need to add extra cushioning to the floors for your tripod pet. The lack of a front paw means landing — be it a cat from a tabletop or a dog from the couch — can be a lot harder, and the pet risks falling. Lots of floor pillows and thick, soft rugs are a good idea.
Stairs can pose a particular problem for pets missing a front leg. Your pet might actually avoid the stairs or get stuck trying to come down; be patient. If the pet keeps going upstairs and then getting stuck, place a gate at the bottom of the stairs and open it only when you can supervise the pet.
Across the Room
The loss of balancing power brings with it a loss of stopping power. If your home has slick, smooth floors, add rugs. It’s too easy for a pet to slip on the floor and be unable to stop itself from sliding. Also, keep exposed floor sections clean, and remove items that could cut the pet’s remaining paws.
Keep a watchful eye on the pet when it goes outdoors, even into the backyard. You do want your pet to be as independent as possible, but the lack of balance and stopping power means that pets can slam into plants if the pets start running and can’t stop in time. Remove plants that could be very damaging, such as cacti.
Also, if you travel with the pet, never leave them outside in areas where there are coyotes. Keep an eye out for javelina if you travel with your dog to the Southwest. These animals are known to attack dogs, and with a missing leg, your dog won’t have as much speed during an escape.
At North Dallas Veterinary Hospital, we can give more specific pointers about tripod care, such as showing you how to protect the pads on the remaining legs and how to avoid irritating the spot where the missing limb used to be.
You’ll love your tripod cat or dog, and getting your home into shape for the pet is worth it!