Leg Amputation in Dogs: Facts and Falsehoods

You may have seen dogs ambling along on three legs when you are out and about. Or your own pet may need to have a leg amputated. And you may be wondering how dogs handle such a big change and how it affects them. The good news is that dogs take the loss of a limb in stride. Here are some popular beliefs about dogs and amputations, which, it turns out, are not true.

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  1. Big dogs cannot get amputations.

Many people seem to believe that larger dogs do not make good candidates for leg amputations. But this is not true. They do as well as smaller dogs. Great Danes, Huskies, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, all have had amputations and have done just fine. Size here really does not matter.

  1. Older dogs have trouble with three legs.

This also is not true. Many believe that older dogs are more stubborn and so may not adapt as well to not having a leg. This is simply a case of projecting human emotions onto animals. It may be harder for older humans to adapt to the removal of a limb, but it does not make much of a difference to a dog.

  1. The dog’s personality will change after the amputation.

This also is not true. Your pet will have the same energy and enthusiasm as he or she had before the procedure. Of course, he will walk a little differently.

  1. Other dogs will attack a three-legged animal.

Again, false. It really makes no difference to other animals if your pet is missing a limb. They really don’t notice that another dog has only three limbs.

  1. Dogs have difficulty recovering from major surgery.

This is another falsehood. The first two weeks after surgery are the toughest time. But the dog will show improvement every few hours – learning how to stand, for example, or learning how to go down steps. The vet will probably put a Fentanyl patch on the dog. This contains a strong painkiller. It may make the animal feel a little different, and his mood may change occasionally.

But after the first two weeks, there will be significant improvement. The stitches come out, and the dog is ready to take daily walks. The dog’s appetite will be returning as well.

The truth is that almost any dog can adapt well to having only three legs. In fact, it can be inspiring to see how well the dog takes to its new physical circumstances.

It’s not too early to start planning for the holiday season: if you’re going to be away from home during that time and can’t take your dog with you, contact us here at Barney’s Ranch. We offer day- and overnight-boarding services and your dog will be able to run around our 4,000-square-foot outdoor dog run to his heart’s content. Give us a call at (469) 273-1661 for more information.

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